Sunday, June 25, 2017

Tis' Hunting Season

     I always look forward to the end of June and early July. Yes, it is hot as Hades here in Charleston, but it is also the start of hunting season. I don't need a gun, bow and arrow, or any other kind of weapon. My prey actually stands there and waits for me to come get it. I don't even have to worry about a messy cleanup after I find my target. No, it is not an animal I am hunting, it is Camellia Scion rooting season!
     Every year for the past 4 or 5 years, I have gone on an expedition in search of Camellias that I do not currently have in my collection, which is currently at 226. I know of a place that is prime hunting grounds and has hundreds of Camellias, some being planted as far back as the 1950's, possibly earlier.
It is a quite place and I love visiting it every year.
Want to see it?


Doesn't that look peaceful?
     Believe it or not, you are actually looking at some Camellias. I know what you are thinking, Camellias are shrubs, not trees.


Actually, as evidenced by this picture, they are small trees. Many of these have been planted for many, many years. 
     So, every year I trek into these peaceful surroundings, get my prey and bring it home to be processed. Yes, this type of hunting you have to process what you hunt too, it is just much neater.
     The trophies will look like this.


     You will want to take cuttings that are about 6-8 inches long, from healthy looking plants. The stem should be about 80% hardened off. Basically you can bend it, but it does not snap and has just starting turning brown. Tip cuttings are best, with buds at the base of most of the leaves. As you cut them, make SURE you write the name of the Camellia on the back of one of the leaves. A black sharpie permanent marker works best. You will NEVER be able to know which one is what, until they flower, if you don't mark them. Even then, it may not be as easy to ID as you think. If you carry them in a large Ziploc bag, with a few drops of water in there, it will keep the cuttings fresher. You will also want to do this in the morning, but is not an absolute necessity.
     So, you got your prey home. Ideally, you will already have the potting medium and propagation area ready. Pots, tags, water, soil, and pruners/scissors are all handy to have. After I get the cuttings home, I fill a bucket with a fungicide solution and let them soak, while I am prepping the others. 
     I start by having a small pot full of rooting medium which consists of 50% mesh pine bark mulch and 50% perlite. You can also use a 75% pine bark and 25% course builders sand. I then poke a hole in the center and place a label/tag in the pot so I know what it is. Trust me, even if you only stick ONE Camellia, you will forget what it is. Then I take one of the cuttings and make a 3-4 inch cutting of it, basically in half, so I now have two. Take all of the leaves off, except the top two, cut those two in half. Your cutting should now look like this.


Next, you will want to shave a small part of the bark off at the bottom, and cut the bottom at a slight angle.


This will allow more surface to be exposed and for the roots to come out.  Root hormone would be the next step. I prefer RootGel by Dyna-Grow, which you can find by clicking on the link at Amazon.



I prefer the gel over powder and even liquid, because it sticks to the cutting better than the liquid and does not have any drying properties of powder. Stick the cutting in the small hole you made, pack it in and water.
     The final product will look like this.


Now what?
Put the cuttings in a very high humidity environment. Keep the rooting bed in a shaded, wind protected area with good light intensity. Here is what I use. 


I keep the lights on a timer, they burn on and off for about 16 hours. The only moisture is the little bit that I put in when I watered the cutting in. Then, if they do happen to look a little dry, I will give it a few mists of water. You can also do this outdoors, I just prefer indoors because it is easier to control light and humidity and temperature.
     Under ideal, perfect conditions, rooting should take place in 1-1/2 to 2 months for most cultivars. Some may take longer, especially if your temperature is way above, or below, 70 degrees. See why I like doing mine inside?  A rooted cutting should start to bloom in one to two years, dependent upon the particular cultivar, and how good your horticultural practices are. 
     Does this seem like a lot of work? Yes, to some degree. However, the reasons you would want to do something like this are:
1) It is a heck of a lot cheaper to start your own plants than to buy them.
2) If you have a good source, you can find many more cultivars than are usually on the market.
3) The satisfaction of just doing it!
Besides, there is ALWAYS room for one more plant! Just look


See that spot over there by the green garden hose? LOTS of room! LOL     
     I hope you decide to try this very easy way to propagate Camellias. Even if you don't want to have a huge collection, but have a favorite one, you can multiply that one.....or sell them!!
I am always up for some Camellia cutting swapping, just touch base with me and we will see what we can work out. 
     As always, if you have any questions about this, or any of my other articles, please feel free to e-mail me at TheCitrusGuy@netzero.com. And don't forget to follow me on Facebook  

Happy Growing!
Darren

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Give Them The Bird!

My mother and I chat pretty much every Sunday, she lives in Raleigh, I am in North Charleston. We talk about a little bit of everything, politics, weather, family, work and of course, plants. Today, she was telling me how the little birdies were trying to get a drink from her frozen birdbath. Which transitioned into, you (me) should write a blog on trees and plants that attract birds.
Well, ask and you shall receive!
I have documented in previous articles about fall being the best time to plant trees and shrubs. So, pardon the pun, let's kill two birds with one stone. Plant something at the best time of year, thinking about our feathered friends!
This will certainly be a short list, especially considering the vast amount of possible plants and trees, different growing zones, time of the year you want to attract the birds, and not to mention the types of birds available in your area.
Being it is December after all, let's focus on how to attract birds to your winter garden.
The first being obvious,
Illex spp. (Hollies)
This winter classic is practically a necessity for bird lovers. Its beautiful green foliage supplies winter protection for our feathered friends and its bright berries are nourishing. The fruit form in the fall and persist through the winter, or until they are gobbled up. Keep in mind that it is the female bush that produces the berries. Ask your garden center which is which. Different species range from small bushes to 60-foot trees. Just to name a few birds that this will attract include: Robins, bluebirds, waxwings, as well as many others.


American Goldfinch on a Holly bush

Callicarpa americana (American Beautyberry)
Beautyberry is a real showstopper in autumn. The fall fruit lasts well into winter, or until the birds devour the last bunches of bright purple berries. American beautyberry is a fast growing native perennial shrub; growing five to eight feet tall and almost as wide with drooping branches. It is an  important food source for many birds, such as bobwhite quail, robins, cardinals, finches, mockingbirds, thrashers and many other animals.


American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)

Pyracantha coccinea (Firethorn)
Cherished for its spectacular fall and winter display of scarlet, and other color fruits, with the ability to withstand dry and droughty conditions, this plant typically grows into a tangled mound up to 10 ft tall and 12 ft wide. 
Firethorn is very fast growing and cultivars and hybrids are available that may be considerably more compact, however, they all have thorns, which to the birds is a great hiding place. A few birds attracted to this plant are Cedar waxwings, cardinals, and blue jays.


A Blackbird enjoying some Pyracantha Berries

Malus spp. (Crabapples)
Crabapples bloom in early to mid-spring, producing masses of pink, red, or white flowers, depending on the variety. Many types also produce small, red or yellow edible fruits that remain on the branches into fall and winter, providing food for wildlife, and the branch structures on many varieties provide interesting forms. This is a great tree to plant if you want any of the following in your yard, Robins, bluebirds, thrushes, catbirds, cardinals, waxwings, Pine Grosbeaks, and finches.


Soon to be lunch for some hungry birds

Quercus alba (White Oak)
White Oak grows from Maine to Minnesota southward to Florida and Texas. It is a large, stately tree that grows up to over 100 feet tall, and 38 to 50 inches in diameter. It flowers in the spring at about the same time leaves appear. Acorn maturity is reached approximately 120 days after pollination. This tree provides food for Woodpeckers, Bluejays, Wild Turkeys, grouse, and Wood Ducks.


White Oak with a nice crop of acorns

Juniperus virginiana (Eastern Red Cedar)
Eastern Red Cedar is a pioneer species, which means that it is one of the first trees to repopulate cleared, eroded, or otherwise damaged land. It is unusually long-lived with the potential to live over 900 years. It is an attractive cone-shaped tree, usually growing 50 to 90 feet tall. It has fleshy, pale blue, berry-like cones that are produced on female trees only. Even though they are not the first choice, when nothing else is around, these are the best thing going for everything from Eastern Bluebirds, waxwings, grosbeaks to wild turkeys, sharp-tailed grouse, and robins.


Cedar Waxwing in, of all things, a Cedar tree.

I will end this post with a plant that many consider a nuisance, though it is very important to many bird species.
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia Creeper)
A woody, deciduous vine, Virginia Creeper can be a high-climbing or trailing plant, anywhere from 3-40 ft in length. The flowers are small and greenish, produced in inconspicuous clusters in late spring, and mature in late summer or early fall into small hard purplish-black berries. These berries contain toxic amounts of oxalic acid and have been known to cause kidney damage and death to humans, the berries are not toxic to birds. Some of the feathery ones that rely on this plant include chickadees, nuthatches, mockingbirds, finches, flycatchers, tanagers, swallows, vireos, warblers, woodpeckers, and thrushes.


A buffet of Virginia Creeper berries, ready to be eaten

I hope this gives you some ideas of what to plant, should you want to attract more birds to your yard.
Not only are these creatures entertaining, they are useful for pest insect control and are the key in seed propagation for many native and non-native plants. Which could be good or bad, depending on the plant!
If you have any questions, comments or complaints about this or any of my other articles, please feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line to TheCitrusGuy@netzero.com
Happy Growing!
Darren













Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Difference and I knew the answer

I was doing a Camellia workshop yesterday, it was going along well, until.......I was asked the question "How can you tell the difference between Virus Variegation and Nutrient Deficiency"?
I stumbled my way through the answer about getting a sample checked and if it is being fed correctly there would be no question. I know the questioner did not mean to, nor was he trying to, put me on the spot and trip me up. It was definitely a legit question. Like I said, I stumbled through an answer, but it never felt right.
SO, I made it a point to research it, the sad part is, I KNEW THE CORRECT ANSWER!!
It is the same difference that Citrus has with nutritional deficiencies and Citrus Greening, it's all in the pattern.
Let me explain.
Virus variegation destroys color (in blotches) on either leaves or flowers. Flowers show varying degrees of white, sometimes in unusual patterns, while leaves show a yellow mottling at random. There is the answer, a yellow mottling at random.
Similar to this:



Notice how the leaves are all relatively different?
It is believed that the viruses infecting camellias cause little if any damage to the plant. Some reduction in plant growth and hardiness may be observed, but it is usually insignificant. The main damage to camellias from virus infection is that it becomes systemic within the plant and may not be eliminated once infected. 
As opposed to them being similar to each other, and being like the old inkblot test, the leaves being a mirror image of itself, such as this:


This deficiency starts as a gradual discoloration of the young leaves at the tips of the branches. They tend to turn yellow but the main veins remain fairly green. The oldest leaves are usually spared.
Here are a couple more examples:


Variegation Virus




Iron Deficiency

As many times as I have given my citrus talk, this should have been obvious, but it just never occurred to me. Now, if you want to throw a little monkey wrench in the mix, this is what winter injury can look like:


Winter damage or freeze damage takes many forms, from the more common burnt look on leaves to odd patterns appearing in the leaves.  In many cases, freeze damage can mimic disease and/or nutritional problems. When the moisture freezes inside the plant tissue, ice crystals are formed and plant cells are damaged. Usually, these leaves will fall off. If the leaves look like this after a cold spell, you can pretty much rule out the variegation and nutritional issues.
I know it is a little late now to inform those that were at my workshop and for that I am sorry. I actually had not been asked that question in all of the times that I have done this talk. At least now I know and my future attendees will be informed.
If you have any questions about this or any of my other articles, please feel free to e-mail me at TheCitrusGuy@netzero.com
Happy Growing!
Darren







Sunday, November 20, 2016

We're Losing Them, Folks!

     I have discussed this problem in other posts and to many of my friends in the horticultural world. We are losing the younger generation in the gardening world. Just in the past week, I have seen this personally on two different occasions.
     Let me describe what happened.
I enjoy Camellia Show season, going around to the different places throughout the Southeast and competing in a friendly competition of flower blooms. Just a few of the places that have a show include, Charleston, Aiken, Litchfield and Columbia, South Carolina. Then to the north there is Wilmington and Fayetteville in North Carolina. I used to be able to include Raleigh and Charlotte to that list.The Raleigh show has been caput for a couple of years now, but what really struck home was the e-mail I received about the Charlotte show this year. It read like this:

Thanks for your interest about our Show. We had a meeting on November 6. 2016 and after much discussion, the members decided Not to have an Accredited ACS Show in 2017. Our membership is very limited due to health problems and age. We are not gaining any young members and with the young folks buying condos or townhouses or rent an apartment, we have not been successful in promoting Camellias.

Yes, I am upset because that takes a show off of my list to participate in, but that is not the point. What REALLY disturbs me is the fact we can't sustain clubs/societies or anything for that matter without younger blood. I get the condos and apartment thing, but that does not make up ALL of the younger generation.

The second event goes like this.
I work for Terra Bella Garden Center here in North Charleston. This past Saturday I had a gentleman come in with his two boys, ages were probably 8 &10. They were there to get some plants to spruce up the yard after the damage from Hurricane Mathew a few weeks ago. The father had a plan drawn of the yard and wanted a few suggestions. Nothing unfamiliar yet, I see this a lot. The thing that bothered me was, the boys NEVER looked up from their phones! I had lost track of the father for a few seconds, another customer had a question, when I asked one of them where their father went, he said, over there with a head nod, by the car. Never even looked up. At least he spoke. Manners aside, if I ever went someplace with an adult I at least looked around, fascinated by what was there.
I do not remember who it was that took me, probably my father, he passed when I was 8, to a store called 1001 Auto Parts. I was amazed at all the tools, parts, pictures and everything else that was there. I wasn't exactly sure what I was looking at, but it was exciting to see it.
What has happened to that youthful excitement?



Technology.

Everything is at the push of a button. You don't have to have an imagination anymore, the screen has it for you. To hear some talk nowadays, it is hard work pushing those buttons, looking at that screen. Our grandparents and the generations before them would be ashamed of what out culture has become.
The old story of, I walked to school, in the snow, uphill, both ways and enjoyed it, has been replaced with, I think I am getting carpel tunnel in my arm, the boss makes me work way too hard, that computer is so slow, I sat there all day looking at the screen, and I never once had a chance to see what the Kardashians were up too!
I know, that might be a tad over the top and is a slight exaggeration, but you get my point. To be honest, not ALL of the younger generations are like that, but it seems to be getting worse with each one!

Here is a video that REALLY hits home:

We need to get the phones out of their hands and their butts outside!
Mark my words, in another generation or two, gardening will all but be totally lost and nobody will be able to grow their own food, except for a select few. Those that control the food control the world!

It is not just about food either. I am NOT a huge global warming fanatic. Is it possible that it is happening, maybe? Are we to blame, doubtful. Do we need to care about the planet, absolutely.
Destroying everything that is growing to build houses is not the answer. We need people to be able to grow replacement plants. Look what happens after a hurricane, trees, bushes, and other plants get destroyed. If nobody is learning to propagate or grow new ones, what can we do?

Anyway, I know this is more of a rant than an article, but it has really started to bother me. All of the recent riots demonstrates this to some degree. There are people out there that, if they don't get their way, they have a temper tantrum. Why not put that energy into growing something for the good?!
Get out into the yard and plant a tree, name it "Therapy". That way in 20 years, you will look at it and wonder what all the commotion was about!
I will now step down from the soapbox.
Happy Growing!
Darren

Saturday, August 27, 2016

They Should Have Read The Book

Here in my Zone 8, almost a 9 growing zone, it has been hot!
Anybody that lives here in Charleston is violently shaking their head in affirmation.
Well, apparently it has been hot in many other locations this year, too.
I know, it is Summer, what do you expect?!
There are some parts of the country that are are experiencing major flooding, please keep those folks in your thoughts and prayers. Then, there are the folks, like us here, that can't get a drop of rain to fall on a bet!
Why, you ask, am I stating the obvious news concerning the weather?
It's all about the citrus trees folks!
Here we are, the end of August and I am getting many reports of Citrus trees blooming, including some of my own.




These were taken today, August 27th, 2016. It is one of my Mandarins, that should be flowering in the Spring, usually March or April. 
Okay, one plant flowering, it might just be confused. Well, hold on.


This is my Variegated Calamondin, also taken today.


This is my Harvey Lime.
Seeing a pattern yet?
Like I said above, I have been getting other reports of Citrus Trees blooming from as far north as North Carolina, down south into Georgia and even over into parts of Mississippi.
So, what gives?
Fluctuations of moisture is the main cause.
You see, nature is very smart. If you allow a tree to dry out, almost to death, then water it, the plant goes into reproduction mode. You scared the poor thing, it thought it was going to die, so to continue the family lineage, it produces flowers, which in turn produces fruit that has seeds in it.
Back in the early 1600's King Louis XIV found the aroma of citrus blossoms so intoxicating that he had an enormous glass structure built to house his more than 3,000 trees. Its dimensions were 508 feet by 42 feet. Back then, they were called Orangeries, today we know them as greenhouses. 
After this massive structure was built and the trees in place, he ordered his royal gardener too make sure there were always citrus trees blooming, so he could enjoy the scent. 
Well, in January the average temperature is in the low 30's, not exactly prime citrus flowering weather. They had it heated, so that wasn't a problem even during the coldest of winters. They had figured out that stressing the trees for water produced the flowers that the king wanted. As long as the the gardener rotated the ones he stressed, there would always be flowers.
With all of this being said, you see, you can induce a citrus to flower, but you need to be very careful. If you go too long, you CAN kill the tree! 


This is the farthest I have ever pushed a tree. It was not on purpose, I got wicked busy and did not have time to water. 
I am NOT advocating you attempt this, on purpose! I don't want people e-mailing me telling me their tree died because I told them to withhold water.
 If you allow the tree to dry out and the leaves fall off, you went too far. If the leaves perk up, more than likely you will see flowers in a week or two.
Remember I told you it has been hot and no rain? 
I guess all of those reports I have been getting are because people wanted to pretend they were King Louis XIV, or their lives just got busy and Mother Nature has been no help!

Happy Growing!
Darren
  

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sometimes, they just DIE!

Gardening is suppose to be fun, relaxing and enjoyable. Yes, it is hard work at times, but overall you are suppose to enjoy it!
You plant seeds or buy that really cool plant that you have been hunting for weeks. A friend offers you some rooted cuttings in exchange for some that you have that they want. Maybe even replace a worn out tree or shrub. Yes, it is work, but you feel so good after it is done.
Now comes the caring for it, watching it, feeding it, talking to it (you know you do) and all of the other things that need to be done for your new baby. Then, the unthinkable happens....it dies!!



You scratch your head and wonder, what did I do wrong?
I fed it, I watered it, I did EVERYTHING that I was told to do. So what happened?
Well, here is a list of things that could have happened.
Let's start right at the beginning:
Incorrect planting – this could be the number one cause for most plant failures. Burying the root-ball too high or too low, thus not giving the plant’s tender roots enough room to grow out. I recommend a 1"-2" height above your soil line. Along these same lines, driving a stake through the tap-root, to "help" stabilize the plant is another common plant murder method. Use 2 or 3 opposing stakes, out away from the rootball.


Okay, you checked and you planted it just like Goldilocks, not too deep and not too high, but just right.
Next on the agenda.
Too much or too little water – obviously the next culprit could be, the amount of water you gave your plant. Although all plants need at least some water to survive, giving them too much or too little can cause them to die. For example, overwatering can lead to a plant’s roots not receiving enough air, causing the plant to suffocate. It can also lead to root rot. Make sure the soil stays damp, but don’t let water pool or let the soil get dried out. I usually use the analogy of, "keep it the consistency of a wrung out dish sponge".



You feel pretty confident your watering regime is good?
Well, to the next possibility.
Over-Fertilizing – Most plants will not tolerate fast acting fertilizers around their roots. The common practice of putting fertilizer in the bottom of the hole at planting is very dangerous. The plant will go along quite happily for the first few weeks until its roots hit the concentrated food – then all of a sudden the plant will drop dead – poisoned by the concentrated mess it’s grown into. This is also why I DO NOT like fertilizer stakes. Instead, provide an organic slow release fertilizer around the plant’s drip line.



Using a safe, organic fertilizer, according to the package directions?
Good for you!
Maybe this is the problem.
Teasing out the roots–  There is much debate about this one.When you plant your plants do you tease out the root-ball? Teasing or pulling at the roots damages the fine feeder roots which absorb the water and nutrients for the plant. By damaging the roots, you run a very high chance of killing the plant.
This will have to be a case by case basis. If the roots look healthy and are just to the edge of the pot when you pull it out of the container, teasing is not needed. If there is a lot of roots and they are circling around and around the rootball, then tease away. If I ever get a plant that looks like the one below, I have been know to actually slice through some of the outside roots to help develop new ones. The plant can literally strangle itself with it's own roots if you do not stop the circling.


Roots looked good, huh?
Well then, did you check for:
Sunlight Issues – If a group of plants growing close to each other are dying, they might not be receiving enough sunlight because they’re shading each other, or they might be getting too much sunlight which can be harmful, too. A plant can become sunburnt, just like a human. Putting something like a Hosta or Cast Iron Plant (both need mostly shade) in direct sun, will burn them quickly. On the other hand, putting a Citrus Tree in mostly shade will, best case scenario, not produce fruit, worst case, it will die.


Right plant, right place?
Starting to get harder to figure this one out.
Wrong Season to Plant – buying plants and trying to put them in the ground in the wrong season is not a usual problem, but here is something to think about. Those beautiful ornamental cabbages that you see in the nurseries, usually in the Fall, do you know why you see them then? They need cool/cold weather to flourish. Plant them in the Summer and you will basically have cooked cabbage.
The same goes for Marigolds, plant them in the Winter, you will have dead Marigold popsicles.


There are few other reasons left as to why your plant died.
Transplant Shock – Sometimes plants just don’t deal well with change. Once they’re transplanted in their new home, they may panic and just die from the shock of it all.
Wrong Soil – Some plants like soil that is more sandy and drains fast, while others prefer more clay-like soil. Check for a pH problem. Some plants just will not grow if the pH is wrong. Too high or too low, the plant can not absorb certain minerals. This is where getting your soil tested by your local extension agent is a must.
Sick when you bought them – sometimes it’s not your fault at all and the plant may have already been sick, diseased or failing before you even bought it. Hopefully, if you buy from a reputable nursery this would be the last possibility.
If you are a tried and true gardener, naturally, you’ll want to know why your plants are dying so you can correct the problem. Hopefully, this list has covered something that you may not have thought about. Every failure is a chance to learn and the next time you can do better. There is one thing to remember though, just like humans, sometimes, for no apparent reason, they just die!
It is a part of life.
Happy Growing!
Darren

Monday, March 7, 2016

THE BOOK!!

      I know it has been a LONG time since I posted, but I assure you it is for a good reason!
Camellia season is in full swing and pretty much every weekend I have been judging and competing.
Then there is work, my new position at Hidden Ponds Nursery has been an extreme blessing!
I know what you are saying, lots of people play on the weekend and work all week! Big Deal!
You are correct!
     There is one more small thing that I failed to mention that I have been doing.....Writing A Book!!


     I am very proud of how this ended up coming out. Originally, it was going to be kind of a textbook on growing citrus. As I was writing it, I realized it was coming out more of how I do one of my lectures. So it is basically, a lecture inside of a book. It is 99% on growing citrus in containers, so folks up north can enjoy too.
Here is the first chapter, to give you the idea of what to expect in it.



CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

     Citrus.
     The word itself conjures up pictures of huge groves in Florida. Maybe you think about that first morning glass of orange juice or a grapefruit cut in half as a snack.
     I understand, not everybody can move to Florida or California, but wouldn’t you love to live in a place that, just outside your back door, is a tree that you can pick your own fresh citrus fruit?
     This book will help you do just that!
     “How to grow citrus practically anywhere” is designed to help people, who are not exactly living in prime citrus producing areas.
     This book will not go into how to grow them in the ground, if you are in a place warm enough to grow it that way, there are plenty of other books out there for that. This is going to be more on container cultivation. This book will be beneficial if you have say, a large patio that you can’t plant a tree into the ground. A balcony in the city might confront you. Maybe you rent and one day will want to move, you can take them with you. Perhaps, you like to rearrange furniture or the knick-knacks in the house; wouldn’t it be fun to do that in your yard? Probably one of the main reasons you will want to read this book is if you live in a very cold place, Maine comes to mind. There are not too many tangerines being produced up there! But there could be. As long as you have a sunny, warm room, a greenhouse or a place to hang some lights and the desire to put some real effort into it, you can grow Calamondins in Canada and Mandarins in Massachusetts.
     How is THAT for optimism?
     Growing citrus in containers is no harder than growing any other plant. Yes, it can get big and, I will not kid you, there is a great deal of work involved. As Thomas Edison once said, “The three great essentials to achieve anything worth while are: Hard Work, Stick-to-itiveness, and Common Sense”.
     This book is going to help you with all three of those.
     Chapter 2 will start out with a little history on citrus. It is always nice to know where something comes from. Where it has been or how it got someplace else. By researching the origins, this also gives you a better idea of what kind of growing conditions it is accustomed to.
     Chapter 3 will be all about what to search out to grow. This chapter will give you examples of the different cultivars as well as the different citrus fruits out there. Taste is so different among people; it would be impossible to describe what each tastes like. I will give you a list of what I know is good, what some of the odd things are used for, and give you an idea of what to start with.
     Chapter 4 will discuss your trees home. What size pot to use, when to repot. It will give you the benefits, pro and con, to using plastic versus terracotta and other materials.
     Chapter 5 will tell you what to fill those pots up with. Soil is the basis for which your plants survive. What are some of the best and worst out there, what are some of the different combinations of ingredients that can be used, why some are better than others, etc.
     Chapter 6 is all about fertilizers. What to use, what to avoid and what kinds of things happen to fertilizers over a period of time. What the purpose of using fertilizers is, good and bad. It will also discuss deficiencies, what to look for in your tree and how to correct them.
     Chapter 7 will be on watering and sunlight, you would think that these would be two things that are easy to supply!  In containers it actually gets a little tricky. Too much sun is just as bad as too little. Water can be an enemy for a couple of reasons.
     Chapter 8 really gets to the heart of the matter, protection. This is the main reason that it is difficult to grow citrus above a Zone 8. In this chapter we will discuss what the cold does to trees, other than make them cold. Ways to protect them in marginal areas. Some of these things to do will be fun; some of them easy and all will be very useful to help you in protecting them.
     Chapter 9 is all about other things that want to eat your precious tree and fruit, other than you. From aphids to white fly and from birds to bird poop like creatures; we will delve into the pests that affect citrus trees and ways to avoid and conquer them.
     Chapter 10 will find out what makes your tree sick. We will not cover all of the diseases that bother your trees, that would be a book in of it self. We will talk about the main ones, the ones that you might have a better chance of seeing, hopefully not, but it is best to know about them. The ways to protect your trees from the diseases and ways to rid your self of them, should they happen to appear.
     Chapter 11, there are other problems that may come up that don’t really fit pests or diseases, they just kind of happen. Some are naturally occurring some can be prevented; still others just take time to fix themselves.
     Chapter 12 can be summed up in one word…reproduce. We will discuss the different ways that citrus trees can be propagated, from grafting and rooting, to seed planting. Each has its merits and disadvantages. There are also varying levels of expertise used here, I will break it down to the most elementary methods possible.
     Chapter 13, I will wrap this all up in a nice neat little package. I will give you the benefits of all of this, things to share with other people, and how to really have fun with your new hobby.
     Chapter 14. What would a book about growing such tasty things be without at least a few of my tips on how to use your fruit?
     After reading this introduction, I hope I have you excited about what is inside? The world of growing citrus for your self is a combination of many things, hard work, excitement, perseverance, and with a little luck, success! In the end it will all be worthwhile when you bite into your first, home grown tangerine!
     Let’s get started!

     As they say, you need to know what is in it, before you buy it! Okay, badly paraphrased, but you get the gist.
     I would be honored if you would check out my website, and maybe even purchase my little venture into literature. You can get it as downloadable files or as a printed book in the mail.
     The website is The Citrus Guy Hort-Books
Thank You in advance, I appreciate your time!
Happy Growing