Asked on May 2, 2017

What's the best size to start with when planting orange & grapefruit?

Hillela G.

Answered

Trees and how do you care for them?
1 answer
  • Hillela G.
    on May 3, 2017

    Normally, citrus will start blooming and bearing 3-5 years after planting, no matter what size you start with. A 15 gallon or 24" box may be blooming and bearing when you buy it, but it will then spend the next 3 years growing roots and leaves before it blooms again.
    The main difference between the sizes lies in the long term health and vigor of the tree. Smaller sizes adapt to the local conditions better than older trees, grow faster, and wind up bearing more fruit. A 5 gallon planted next to a 24" box will be larger, healthier, and more fruitful after 5 years or so.
    The downside of planting smaller sizes is that they don't have the instant visual gratification that some homeowners (or their HOA's) crave. Also, 5 gallon or smaller trees have a slightly higher mortality rate the first summer, if they are field grown--grown to size in an orchard, then dug up and potted for sale. To tell if it's field grown, check the soil. Pot grown trees will be in potting soil, field grown will be in "mud", that is, the soil from the field. Field grown trees do have the advantage of rarely being "pot-bound", where the roots circle the root ball, and eventually strangle the tree.

    Have fun!!!!
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