Saturday, December 30, 2017

Ice, Ice, Oh, Boy!

Happy Freekin New Year!
     Mother nature apparently is NOT in the holiday spirit!
Charleston is going to get Cold, which means folks to my west and north are going to be even colder!! The Citrus will not be happy.
     The past few days have been okay, lower 30's at night, so I was not worried. I looked at the next week or so and suddenly I was a little concerned. 28 is my "Take Action" forecasted low, I am looking down the barrel of 36-28-24-24-25-22-24-28. The highs will only peak into the upper 30's. The good news is, with the colder nights we have had, the citrus trees have had a chance to go into their semi-dormancy. The bad news is, that is too many nights in a row, NOT to take action. So I did just that this morning.
     I also figured I would throw some tips out there for folks that might also get a little concerned about their Citrus.
     The first thing you should do, while the temps are still decent is, Make Sure They Are Well Watered! A well-watered, hydrated plant can handle the cold much better than a dry one. This goes for in ground and container plants as well.
     If they are in the ground, you might still have time, get some frost cloth. Check the big box stores, hardware stores, etc. My friend Stan McKenzie, up around the Florence SC area, is getting his in-ground trees ready.

I have NEVER said growing citrus is easy!
You can also put some Christmas lights, the ones that get hot, or a couple of 100 watt light bulbs in there to help keep in some heat.
     Now, those of us that grow them in containers have a few more options. I put what I could in my greenhouse, did they all fit, not a chance. My greenhouse stretcher is still in the developmental stage.
What did get put in there got watered to within an inch of its life, shoved together, and my little electric space heater is at the ready. As long as it keeps it at 32 or higher, I am happy. If you only have a couple of trees, I would suggest at least putting them in an unheated garage, storage shed or something along those lines to keep it a little warmer. If your tree is very small, and this can go for in-ground or container, flip a large trash can over it. The ground will help keep it a couple of degrees warmer.
     What did I do with the ones that would not fit in the greenhouse?
There are a few that I gave some encouraging words to and told them they will be fine, which they should be, most of them are pretty cold hardy, down into the 20's type. The rest of them got laid down on the ground, overlapping each other, and covered with a tarp, a blanket, and some frost cloth. It ain't pretty, but it will work.

Again, I watered each one very well, tipped them over and covered.
Hopefully, this will be the worst we get all year and it will be here and done!
     I mentioned it in my book, How To Grow Citrus Practically Anywhere as well as above, I have never said growing citrus is easy, it all depends on how much work you are willing to put into it as to whether you can grow citrus practically anywhere!
     If you have any questions about this or any of my other articles, please feel free to contact me via e-mail: You can also follow me on Facebook
Happy Growing!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

5 Citrus Myths-Debunked

     I have stated before that there is a lot of misinformation on the Internet. I hear many of the same questions asked over and over again because the folks asking them saw something on a website and it freaked them out. So I figured, it was time to set some of the bad info straight on growing Citrus.
     This is in no particular order.

#1- "A Citrus tree HAS to be grafted in order to produce fruit"-FALSE!
While a citrus tree that has been grafted will produce fruit faster than from seed, as long as the Scion came from a tree that is already producing fruit, it does NOT HAVE to be grafted. There are many trees that are on their own roots, which in some ways is better. You can easily root cuttings from a Citrus tree. The main reason being on its own roots is better, if the tree happens to get killed back by severe cold, it will come back as the same thing. If it has been grafted and gets killed to below the graft, the rootstock will come back and that could be a number of different things, most of which is rather untasty. Even Kumquats will grow on their own roots, some say not as well, I tend to disagree here, I have seen no real problems.
As a bonus tidbit of information here, the rootstock of a grafted tree will in no way affect the seeds of the fruit that it produces. The rootstock only effects the size of the tree, cold hardiness, and what kind of issues the roots might have to contend with, i.e Nematodes or Salt Intrusion.

As you can see in this picture, the leaves in the upper part of the plant are large, normal looking leaves. The leaves that have three lobes towards the bottom is rootstock, some kind of Poncirus spp. starting to grow. Those should be cut off.

     #2- "Citrus will not produce fruit if grown in a container"- FALSE!
If the tree is a rooted cutting or a grafted scion, and it came from a tree that is already bearing, it could be very small and produce fruit. The trees I have are ALL in containers, normally a minimum of a trade seven-gallon container, usually a trade 15 or 30 gallon. I have seen trees in a 3-gallon pot with one piece of fruit on it. Besides, don't ever say that to my Kumquat tree, it may get its feelings hurt.

#3- "Citrus trees will die if the temperature gets below 40 degrees"-FALSE!
Citrus can handle down to 28 degrees for a short period of time, as long as they are allowed to go into a state of semi-dormancy. If the temperature has been very warm, say 50's and 60's and it drops suddenly to 32 degrees, it will get hurt much more than if the temps have been upper 30's and 40's than suddenly drops to 28 (or lower). It also has a lot to do with the duration of the cold, how healthy it was going into the cold event, and how well watered it was. A dry plant will suffer much more than a well-hydrated one. Want proof?

     This is a Republic of Texas Orange, grown in a container, that was subjected to a low of 18 degrees. I watered it thoroughly the day of the cold event.

By most accounts, it would be considered dead, correct?

This is that same tree the following Summer.

It did not produce fruit because it was putting all of the energy into leaf production. It is fine to this day.

#4- "Citrus trees will never produce fruit from seed"-FALSE!
Granted, it may feel like forever, but it will eventually produce fruit. Just some of the generalized timetables are:
Key Limes are your earliest producer from seed, averaging 2-3 years.
Your oranges, lemons, Persian limes, tangerines will be in the 5-7 year ballpark.
The grapefruit and pomelo will be the longest, taking anywhere from 8-12 years.
This will, of course, depend on how good your horticultural practices are. If you feed it, water it, and give it plenty of sunshine, you may be able to shave a few years off of these times. I was once given some seeds from a Lemonquat, a lemon kumquat hybrid, I actually saw one piece of fruit within 18 months. Granted it was probably just a fluke, but it is possible.

#5- "You need more than one Citrus tree to produce fruit"-FALSE!
As long as you have a tree that is flowering, it will produce fruit. Bees are your best pollinators, but, if you are growing Citrus inside, or there just does not seem to be many bees around, you will have to step in. Take a small artist paintbrush or Q-tip and dab from flower to flower. Basically, you are transferring pollen and fertilizing the flower. Just remember to buzz like a bee so you don't scare your tree. (The preceding statement was and is the only thing in this article that you should ignore)

     And there you have it, 5 of the most common myths about growing citrus. Next time somebody mentions one of these, or you see it in print somewhere, call Buffalo Chips on them and send them to me! I will be glad to set them straight!
     If you have any questions about this, any of my other articles, or maybe you have some kind of garden myth you would like debunked, drop me a line to
Also, Don't forget to follow me on FACEBOOK
Happy Growing!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Pictures Tell It All

     I got home from work today and realized that all of my Citrus (and Camellias), as well as everything else, had not been watered in over a week when we got an inch of rain. So, out I went to give them all a drink.
     While doing so I realized just how good a citrus crop we had going on this year, so I snapped a few pictures. Keep in mind that all of my citrus are grown in containers. I mention that only because I used everything I have learned growing them that way when I wrote my book.


Here is what was ripe as of the writing of this article.

Variegated Eureka Lemon

Seedless Kishu


Harvey Lime

Meyer Lemon

Sunburst Mandarin

Citrus medica 'Buddhas Hand'

Nagami Kumquat

Unidentified Citrange

Variegated Calamondin

Variegated Valencia Orange

Ponkan Satsuma

Thomasville Citrange

Ruby Red Grapefruit

Owari Satsuma

I hope you enjoyed this little pictorial of what can be done with citrus in containers. Just like everything else in life, anything can be done, if you put your mind to it.
If you have any questions about this or any of my other blog articles, please feel free to e-mail at
You can also follow me on FACEBOOK
Happy Growing!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Produce With An Identity Crisis

      When the Coastal Carolina Fair comes to town, I get excited because that means Flower Shows and time to demonstrate some garden expertise in a friendly competition. Flower Show is actually not a really good description because there are also design competitions, plants that don’t flower, fruits and vegetables on display. I don’t only enter different things into different categories; I have been assisting in plant identification and placement of the entries as they come in.

     The fair just recently ended, it was a blast as usual. However, this year there came to light an interesting problem. We have produce that has an identity crisis!! Here is the story.
     I was setting up Section S, Vegetables, Fruits, and Nuts (insert your own joke), and we got a watermelon in to be displayed. The owner had it entered in the "any other fruit" category because they thought there was not a specific place for it. As I was moving things around, I realized that there WAS a watermelon category, under the vegetables!
I thought, okay, there was a major boo-boo in the printing in the show schedule. When I asked about it, they told me that botanically, it is a vegetable. I already knew that tomatoes were classified in the fruit section. SO, I had to do some research and find out if I was living in Bizzaro World!!

Photo Courtesy of:

     It’s true that watermelon and other melons like the honeydew and cantaloupe (which are fruits) are in the Cucurbitaceous family, but the watermelon is in the Citrullus genus, which is an important distinction between the two types of produce. I know that is a lot of fancy jargon, let’s break it down a little. The dictionary defines “fruit” as “the ripened ovary (pistil) of a seed plant and its contents, which includes the seeds.” This includes things like apples, oranges, and cherries. These are ripened ovaries that include seeds of the plant that bore them. A broader definition of a fruit is anything that contains seeds.
     Sounds easy, right? Well, under that definition, squash and green beans would be considered fruits, even though most people would consider them vegetables. The dictionary defines a vegetable as “anything made or obtained from plants.” Basically, that means all fruits are also vegetables. To further clarify the vegetable family, most people consider vegetables to be the leaves, stems, stalks, and roots of certain plants, which helps to define why celery, carrots, lettuce, and onions are all, unequivocally, vegetables.
     Okay, now it gets confusing.
     The “rules” over what is or is not a vegetable are not really set in stone and are often open to interpretation. In many cases, the distinction is made based on how the produce is used and how it tastes. This is referred to as a culinary distinction. Using these culinary distinctions, things that are low in sugar and are of a savory taste are considered vegetables, and things that are sweeter are then considered fruits.
     SO, Bell peppers and tomatoes are considered vegetables because they’re savory and low in sugar, even though they have seeds, which technically make them fruits. Pumpkins, cucumbers, and squash are all fruits because they have seeds. However, in a culinary sense, these items are all vegetables. So, basically "fruit" and "vegetable" are defined differently depending on whether you're a gardener or a chef.

Photo Courtesy of: @TheChefsGarden -

      The fruit vs. vegetable debate can sometimes reach such a fervor that the law must step in.  In the 1893 United States Supreme Court case Nix. v. Hedden, the court ruled unanimously that an imported tomato should be taxed as a vegetable, rather than as a (less taxed) fruit. The court acknowledged that a tomato is a botanical fruit, but went with what they called the "ordinary" definitions of fruit and vegetable — the ones used in the kitchen.

Photo Courtesy of:

     Okay, if all of this is not bad enough, we all know that anything with “berry” in its name is basically a fruit, right? WELL, despite its name, the strawberry isn't a true berry. Neither is the raspberry or the blackberry. But the banana, it turns out, is a berry, scientifically speaking, so are eggplants, grapes, and oranges. To be considered a berry, a fruit must have two or more seeds. Thus, a cherry, which has just one seed, doesn't make the berry cut, rather, cherries, like other fleshy fruit with thin skin and a central stone that contains a seed, are called drupes. HOWEVER, you might be inclined to call it a vegetable, thanks to its green hue and savory taste, but the avocado is technically a fruit, and even more specifically, a single-seeded berry.

     Ready to scream yet?
Did you know that apples, pears, and quince actually belong to the rose family?
That my friends is fodder for another day!
If you have any questions about this article, (or need me to untangle the knots in your brains wiring after reading this) or any of my other articles, drop me a line at
If you dare, you can follow me on FACEBOOK too!
Happy Growing!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

2017 Southeastern Citrus Expo

     I would be totally remiss as The Citrus Guy if I did not write about one of the greatest annual events to happen in the world of citrus for us amateur folks. It has been going on since 2003 when Southeastern Palm Society member Stan McKenzie organized the first-ever South Carolina Citrus Expo at Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Columbia, South Carolina. The expo has changed over the years and has become what is now known as the Southeastern Citrus Expo. It gets moved around from year to year and has been in places such as Virginia Beach, Virginia,  Fort Valley, Ga., Tifton, Ga, Florence, SC and Charleston, SC just to name a few.

     This year it will be in Savannah, Georgia!!

     This event is attended by Citruholics from around the country, and sometimes the world. The amount of expertise that will be on hand to answer any and all questions is second to none. A panel of experts will be brought up at the end to answer your questions, should you have any left after the itinerary of speakers is done.

Citrus trees will be for sale, though, due to quarantines, this will only apply to Georgia residents. The trees MUST stay in the state of Georgia. There will also be fruit to sample!

Books will be for sale.

Goodies galore! Raffles, giveaways, and so much more!

Of course, the obligatory fruit contest will be going on too!
 This contest is a friendly competition, though there will always be the ribbing and the poking for the bragging rights!


There is always a lot of fun when we all get together, it is just like a huge family!

     I truly hope that you can attend, you can make a weekend of it! There is always plenty to do in Savannah, I hear there is a Camellia Show the same Friday, not very far away. You can send me an e-mail if you are curious about that.
     All of the information that you should need is below. If you want or need even MORE information, you can contact me at or go to our Facebook Page, there are pictures from many of the previous expos as well as more ways to contact us.
Happy Growing!

Print this page out below to take with you!


The Southeastern Citrus Expo is coming to Savannah, Georgia on November 17 and 18, 2017.
Optional tours on Friday the 17th will include Franklin Farms of Statesboro and a Savannah backyard citrus orchard in the afternoon, as well as self-guided visits to the plantings at Armstrong State University and the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens. Additional tour possibilities will be forthcoming.
Saturday's conference sessions will be held at the beautiful Skidaway Island State Park, which borders Georgia's Intracoastal waterway.
Confirmed speakers include Jamie Burrow of the University of Florida on citrus greening and other citrus growing challenges;
Lindy Savelle of the Georgia Citrus Association on the progress with commercial citrus growing in Georgia;
Billy Renz on the commercial citrus groves of Franklin Farms in Statesboro;
A panel of experts will share experiences and provide advice.
More presenters will be added.
If you grow citrus or want to learn how, mark your calendars and watch for further announcements about the conference schedule, as well as more information about tours and the citruholics banquet on Friday the 17th. If you have program ideas or questions, contact Marj Schneider at

Friday, November 17: Places to Visit

Franklin Farms: 2:00 PM Tour,
200 Bohler Rimes Rd., Statesboro, GA
On I-16 exit onto Hwy. 301 and head north towards Statesboro. Bohler Rimes Rd is a little over 6 miles from the interstate. Turn Right on Bohler Rimes (It's a dirt road with a gate but we will have the gate open). Come about 1 mile down the dirt road and you will see some greenhouses and a packing house on the right. Pull in there and park.

John Trask Citrus Grove: 2:00 PM Tour
275 Orange Grove Rd., St. Helena Island, SC 
Look on map and head to Port Royal, Lady’s Island, St. Helena Island.  Once on St Helena turn onto MLK Drive. Go exactly 2.3 miles to Perry Rd. Turn right at Perry Rd. and continue for about one mile which intersects with Orange Grove Rd. Turn left onto OG Rd and proceed about 1/4 mile. See mailbox #275.  Across from mailbox is a red barn. Turn into the driveway to the red barn and someone will give direction to the citrus orchard.
Or even simpler, use GPS to #275 Orange Grove Rd, St. Helena Island.

In Savannah
Home of Marj & Don, Between 1:00-5:00 PM Tour
212 Oxford Dr., Savannah, GA
Turn east on Eisenhower Dr., turn left (north) on Waters Ave., continue north to Althea Pkwy (at blinking yellow light), turn left into Kensington Park, turn right onto Oxford Dr., continue to 212 Oxford, fifth house on left past Reynolds Ave. House number on the front door. Enter backyard by the gate on the left side when facing the house.

Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens at the Historic Bamboo Farm, Self-Guided Tour
2 Canebrake Road, Savannah, GA
Take exit 94 from I-95 onto *Hwy. 204 towards Savannah. Turn right at first light onto Gateway Blvd., then left onto Canebrake Rd to your destination on left, just before Hwy. 17. *(Note: Hwy. 204 is Abercorn St., the same street as Armstrong State University and the Quality Inn.)

Armstrong State University (To tour campus plantings)
11935 Abercorn St, Savannah, GA
See Map Below
Take exit 94 from I-95 onto Hwy. 204 towards Savannah. Turn right off Abercorn onto campus road Arts Dr. Past the parking lot on the left is the campus police station. Park and obtain a free parking pass from the police station.

To Quality Inn Midtown
7100 Abercorn St. Savannah, Ga [Motel has an entrance on Abercorn and Eisenhower)

From the West: On I-16, follow to Exit 164A, GA-21/Lynes Pkwy, onto I-516 east. Follow to Abercorn St. Turn right onto Abercorn; turn left onto Eisenhower Dr., enter Quality Inn property on your left.
From the south:
On I-95, take exit 94 and make a right turn onto GA-204 (which is Abercorn St.). Drive 11.6 miles, turn right onto Eisenhower Drive, Quality Inn will be on the left side.

Coming from the North: on I-95, take exit 99 to I-16 East. Follow I-16 East to Exit 164A GA-21/Lynes Pkwy/I-516/US 17/US 80. Follow GA-21 S to Abercorn St. Turn right onto Abercorn, continue to Eisenhower Dr. and turn left. Quality Inn will be on the left.

Citruholics Banquet, 6:00 PM, Sweet Potatoes Kitchen
6825 Waters Ave., Savannah
Please arrive close to 6:00 PM. We will be ordering from the regular menu.

From Quality Inn parking lot, turn left onto Eisenhower Dr. and in a little over ½ mile turn left onto Waters Ave. The restaurant is immediately on your left, just past the gas station.

Saturday Morning, November 18: Skidaway Island State Park group Shelter for Citrus Expo: Registration, 8:00-9:30 AM; Sessions begin 9:30 AM

To Expo from quality Inn: Turn left onto Eisenhower Dr.; Drive a little over a ½ mile to Waters Ave. and turn right. Waters Ave. will soon become Whitefield Ave, and then Diamond Causeway. Continue approximately 7 miles. Turn left onto State Park Rd. 1/2 mile to the Park.

To Expo from the west: On I-16, follow to Exit 164A, GA-21/Lynes Pkwy, onto I-516 East, which becomes DeRenne Ave. Continue to Truman Pkwy. Turn right and enter the Pkwy. Exit onto Whitefield Ave. Turn left onto Whitefield Ave. Turn left onto State Park Road. Park is straight ahead ½ mile.

To Expo from the north: on I-95, take exit 99 to I-16 East. Follow I-16 East to Exit 164A GA-21/Lynes Pkwy/I-516/US 17/US 80. Follow and I-516 becomes DeRenne Ave. Continue to Truman Pkwy. Turn right and enter the Pkwy. Exit onto Whitefield Ave. Turn left onto Whitefield Ave. Turn left onto State Park Road. Park is straight ahead ½ mile.

To Expo from the south: Take exit 94 from I-95 onto Hwy. 204 (which is Abercorn St.) towards Savannah. Turn right onto Truman Pkwy. Exit onto Whitefield Ave. Turn right onto Whitefield Ave. Turn left onto State Park Road. Park is straight ahead ½ mile. 

Fruit Competition Rules and Procedures

Fruit Preparation
1. All fruit entered must be grown by the entrant, either in a container or in the ground.
2. Before submission, fruit should be washed and prepared for eating. Judges may have to taste fruit in case of a tie.
3. A minimum of three fruit of a specific cultivar will constitute a single entry. For example, three Satsuma fruit are required to qualify as one entry. One of the fruit must be cut in half “against the grain” (as you would a grapefruit) to show the inside of the fruit.
4. Fruit must contain at least ½ inch of stem attached; one fruit should have a leaf attached to the stem. Submissions from growers in quarantined areas are exempt from this requirement.
5. Check the category sheet to determine best category for each entry.
At the Expo
1. Entering of fruit must be done during the assigned time, 8:00 to 9:15 AM. After this time, entries will not be accepted.
2. At the fruit contest area you will be given an entry number to ensure anonymity. Make sure you keep this number with you until the award ceremony.
3. An entry form must be filled out for each entry. Be sure to put your entry number on each form. Display plates will be provided.
4. Blue, red, and white ribbons will be awarded for each category.
In addition, there will be a “Best in Show,” “Honorable Mention,” and “Most Unique” award.

Citrus Categories for the Contest
Class 1. Satsuma
Class 2. Mandarin
Class 3. Sweet Orange
Class 4. Sour Orange
Class 5. Lemon
Class 6. Lime
Class 7. Grapefruit & Pomelo
Class 8. Kumquat, Calamondin & their Hybrids
Class 9. Trifoliate & its Hybrids
Class 10. Complex Hybrids
Class 11. Ichangensis Hybrids
Any cultivars not listed here will be assigned to a category by the judging coordinator.

Citrus Fruit cultivars
Satsumas: Armstrong, Brown Select, Early St. Ann, Kimbrough, Mijo, Miyagawa, Owari, Silverhill, others.
Mandarin: Changsha, Clementine, Clem-Yuz 2-2, Clem-Yuz 3-3, Dancy, Fallglo, Juanita, Keraji, Minneola Tangelo, Nasnaran, Orlando Tangelo, Page, Ponkan, Robinson, Shekwasha
Sweet Orange: Ambersweet, Cara Cara navel, Hamlin, Navel, Parson Brown
Lemon: Eureka, Harvey, Lisbon, Meyer, Ponderosa, Pink Variegated, Sanbokan, Ujukitsu
Lime: Australian finger, Bearss, Key, Persian
Sour Orange: Abers Narrowleaf, Bergamot, Bigaradier Apepu, Boquet des Fleurs, Chinotto, Citrus neoaurantium, Gou Tou, Nansho Daidai (Citrus taiwanica), Sauvage, Seville, Smooth Flat Seville, Willowleaf, Zhu Luan
Grapefruit & Pummelo: Bloomsweet, Chandler, Croxton, Duncan, Flame, Golden, Hirado Buntan, Marsh, Oroblanco, Pink Marsh, Ray Ruby, Rio Red, Ruby Red, Thompson Pink
Calamondin, Kumquat & Hybrids: Chang Shou, Fukushu, Hong Kong, Lemonquat, Limequat (Eustis, Lakeland, Tavares), Marmaladequat, Meiwa, Nagami, Nippon Orangequat, Procimequat, Sunquat
Trifoliate Orange and Hybrids: Citrange (Morton, Troyer, Carrizo, Benton, Rusk, others), Citrumelo (Dunstan, Swingle, USDA 80-5, others), Citradia, Citrandarin (CiClem #10, Citsuma, Changsha x English Large, others), Dragon Lime, Flying Dragon, Rubidoux, Standard
Complex Hybrids: Citrangequat (Thomasville, Sinton, others), Glen Citrangedin, Razzlequat, SanCitChang, US 119
Ichangensis Hybrids: Ichang Lemon, Ichang Papeda, Sudachi, Taichang lemon, Yuzu, Yuzuquat, Yuzvange

Cut Here To Use This Form

2017 Southeastern citrus Expo Fruit Competition form

Entrant’s Number _______________
(Will be provided by contest volunteer)
Class 1. Satsuma Cultivar_______________________________________________
Class 2. Mandarin Cultivar______________________________________________
Class 3. Sweet Orange Cultivar___________________________________________
Class 4. Sour Orange Cultivar____________________________________________
Class 5. Lemon Cultivar________________________________________________
Class 6. Lime Cultivar: ________________________________________________
Class 7. Grapefruit & Pomelo Cultivar_____________________________________
Class 8. Kumquat, Calamondin & their Hybrids Cultivar_______________________
Class 9. Trifoliate & its Hybrids Cultivar___________________________________
Class 10. Complex Hybrids Cultivar______________________________________
Class 11. Ichangensis Hybrids Cultivar____________________________________
>>>>>>>>>>>>>Fold form here so information below does not show>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

is complete) Please complete the following.
Where grown: ________________________ ______________________ State & County/Parrish USDA Hardiness Zone________
Thank you for your participation. Good luck!

Cut Here

Citrus Trees For Sale At Expo

Here is some good news if you are a Georgia resident.
Citrus trees will be available for attendees to order in advance of this year's Southeastern Citrus Expo, but only on a limited basis. Due to regulations to prevent the spread of citrus greening, trees can only be purchased from inspected nurseries and must stay in Georgia once they leave the expo. If you are a Georgia resident or the tree itself will stay in the state, you can buy any of the trees on offer from Mark Crawford or Lindy Savelle. Read on for the varieties they have for sale and place your orders before the expo on Saturday, November 18. Mark and Lindy will be bringing preordered trees to the expo, and don't count on them having extras, though you could get lucky! Again, these are trees that have to remain in Georgia.
Mark Crawford of Loch Laurel Nursery in Valdosta has the following varieties available. Trees are grafted, two-year-old trees in 4 or 5-gallon pots at $35 each. Contact Mark at 229-460-5922 or <> to order trees in advance of the expo and arrange for payment. If you are in search of more unusual varieties, ask Mark if he has them. Visit Loch Laurel's website for further descriptions.
Satsuma varieties available:
Early Maturing: Oct-Nov.
Late Season: Nov.-Dec.
Frost Owari
Port Neches*
* Unregistered varieties that have good quality fruit.
Other cold-hardy citrus (Zone 8)
Sugar Belle (On Rubidoux rootstock)
Lindy Savelle of 1 Dog Ventures LLC of Mitchell County has the following grafted varieties available. Unless otherwise designated, the trees are offered at a wholesale price of $25. They are one-year-old trees, 12 to 18 inches in height. Contact Lindy at <> or at
850-830-1746 to order in advance of the expo and arrange for payment.
Citrus Tree List
Rootstocks available: Flying Dragon, Rubidoux, Rich 16-6 & Sour Orange.
UGA trees are priced higher, with a royalty for research going back to the university.
Frost Owari
Early St Anne
LA Early
Brown Select
Other Varieties:
Keifer Lime
Persian Lime
Improved Meyer Lemon $40 (3 feet tall)
Thornless Key Lime $40 (3-4 feet tall)
Murcott Mandarin
UGA Sweet Frost Tangerine $50
UGA Pink Frost Grapefruit $50
UGA Grand Frost Lemon $50
Atwood Navel
Lisbon Lemon
Blood Orange
Valencia Orange
Nagami Kumquat

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Bloggin for the Noggin

     Back on January 16th, 2010 I wrote my very first blog. My reasoning at the time was simple, I was tired of reading articles in magazines, online, and elsewhere that I REALLY wanted to learn more about in the horticulture world, only to end up with just as many questions (if not more) than when I started. I was nowhere near as prolific in the garden scene as I may be now, so I really was trying to learn. Yes, I sat and read textbooks that I could find. My Friday nights were filled with searching out Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), which is a document that contains information on the potential hazards (health, fire, reactivity and environmental) and how to work safely with the chemical product. Yeah, I was a REAL party animal!!

Here is a typical sheet I would read, this is for Carbaryl (Sevin Dust)
     As I was saying, other than the textbooks and MSD Sheets, I was having issues learning by reading Magazine and online articles, they just never really completed the whole story. Hence, one of the main reasons for The Citrus Guy blog, to teach as MUCH information on a specific topic as I possibly could. Does it fall short occasionally? Probably.
Is it from lack of trying? No.
But I would bet that you will know A LOT more about something after reading one of my articles. I only say that because I have received many wonderful e-mails thanking me for the information that I provide. I completely believe in the quote, which is commonly attributed to Sir Francis Bacon, "Knowledge Is Power".

     Michelangelo once stated that "He is Still Learning".
 I like that one too!
So, as I continue to learn, I will continue to teach. However, teaching and knowledge are great, but you need to put that knowledge to use.

So in actuality, the equation is Knowledge+Action=Power.
     How does this relate to the subject at hand?
Other than the obvious, people need to go outside and dig in the ground, plant something, or simply work in the garden more, I wanted my blog to be more than just information.
My action?
     I have been vetting different gardening, horticulture, and yard paraphernalia sites over the past several months to make this blog a one-stop shop as it where. Here is the gist. I discuss something here, maybe a new plant cultivar that has come out, or a new pesticide, you get all excited about it and you want to get some. Where do you go? You have to go hunting around the web, possibly getting frustrated, then you give up. You have the knowledge, but without the action, or tools to create the action, you do not have the full power. If I have numerous links either in the article itself or at the top of the page, I can direct you there.
     Pretty simple, huh? There is a caveat that I am attempting to fix. Occasionally, you will see a link in one of my articles that does NOT make any sense. For instance, I talked about Sweet Potatoes before. One of the programs I am using to install links on here is a little too literal, it will probably take you to a dog food site that is made with Sweet Potatoes. I will also discuss Neem oil as a horticultural organic pesticide at times, the link may take you to an essential oils health and beauty website. I assure you I am working on getting that changed, so please, if you get sent to a weird site and have NO IDEA why it sent you there, it is being worked on. In some cases, it might just happen to be something that you needed anyway, so if that is the case, BONUS!!
     Another secondary reason for the blog was to help and try to fix as much of the "bad" information that was out there.
Let me give you a couple of examples:
Example #1- I was at a function onetime and was asked, how do you tell the difference between a male and female fig? I was waiting for the punchline and wanted to know what they meant. They proceeded to tell me that a "fairly" reliable source had stated that you need a male and female fig to produce fruit. I quickly told them that was absolutely incorrect and that one fig tree will produce fruit.
Example #2- A well-known market type website had a product for sale that a very nice lady asked me if I thought it was a good idea to purchase. When she told me what it was, I almost spit out my coffee that I was drinking. The item? She wanted to know if she should buy some seedless grape seeds.
I will let that sink in for a minute.

     The sad part is, I stumble across things like that on a weekly basis. If it is on the Internet, it must be true right? Huh? What? Wait a minute, my blog is on the Internet, so if it isn't right, it's, but....never mind!
      I try to research everything I post as much as I possibly can. I take my teachings very seriously. The world is losing all of the growers, horticulturists, and gardeners at an alarming rate. I wrote an article last year entitled "We're Losing Them Folks" discussing how the younger generation is turning away from gardening. I want people to see that we need education. We need truth. We need to get rid of false news and information. We need the younger generation to get OFF of their computer-laden butts and get out into the yard or garden.
     Please pass this around to as many people as you can. Information is the key and if people are getting bad info, they will have problems and probably fail, thus discouraging them from trying again.
Failing numerous times is not bad, failing once and never trying again is!
End of rant.
If you have any questions about this or any of my other articles, drop me an e-mail to and don't forget to follow me on FACEBOOK!
Happy Growing!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Me Mammey!

     With fall, more or less being here, the calendar says one thing, the weather says something else, it is still really warm. Don’t get me wrong, I am by NO MEANS complaining! But, it is time to start decorating for the season. While mums are the usually chosen plant of choice, I have a second, even more brightly colored autumnesque plant, the Mammey Croton.
Just as a side note, it can also be spelled mammy and mamey, personally, I like two M’s and an E.

Picture courtesy of palm tree landscaping/pine island/cape coral

     This plant just screams fall. Considered one of the smaller crotons, easily kept at 3 feet or shorter, it is known as a red variety with bright red, yellow and green leaves, also with the occasional black variegation. They are easy to grow and easily obtainable.
     Botanically, it is Codiaeum variegatum and is a member of the Euphorbia family. Native to Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Pacific Islands, it is a standard plant in many Florida and California landscapes.

Picture courtesy of

     Crotons, in general, can be planted in almost any light - full sun to partial shade - with some types of this plant, like the classic Petra, preferring a bit more shade. Mammeys attain their brightest coloring in full sun; though keep in mind that crotons should be shaded during the hottest part of the day since too much sun can bleach the color of their leaves. Mammy is an awesome looking plant with its twisted, multi-colored leaves that look like long party streamers flying out of its container.
Grown indoors, its leaves are subtler in their coloration, tending more towards the greens and purples with bits of red, but if grown in bright light environments it rapidly transforms into an explosion of brilliant color.

Picture courtesy of

     The general consensus states that Mammey crotons will not survive below 50 degrees and should be grown as potted plants to be brought inside when the temperatures get that low. Here in my zone 8, I have seen them freeze back at temperatures below 30 but come back the next year. A heavy mulch will help tremendously. They like at least 40% relative humidity but will tolerate lower, possibly with some defoliation. Mammey will grow in most any soil type, just make sure the area is well-drained...none of the crotons will put up with "wet feet."
     This plant is moderately salt-tolerant and drought-tolerant, once established, though it does best with regular irrigation. Give it time to dry out slightly between waterings. Pruning is only needed occasionally to keep the plant's size in check. As with all foliage shrubs, you should always trim stems - don't cut across the leaves.

     Fertilize 3 times a year if planted outside, early spring (March), summer (June) and autumn (September) with your favorite acidic fertilizer, such as Espoma Holly-Tone. If you bring it indoors, a little shot of liquid fertilizer would be useful in January.
     Spider Mites, Scale and the occasional Mealy Bug are the only pests; use a miticide for the mites, insecticidal soap for the mealies and neem oil for the scale.

Photo Courtesy of

     Propagation is relatively easy and is a great way to use the clippings when you are pruning. Cut a 5-6 inch long stem with at least 3 sets of leaves at the top. Cutting the stem just below a leaf joint. Remove all the leaves except the very top, and dip the end of the cutting into a rooting hormone such as Dyna-Gro Water Soluble Root Gel. Place it in moist soil (or your favorite rooting medium) and cover the container with a plastic bag to provide greenhouse type conditions. Open the bag occasionally to check whether the plant needs to be watered. You can propagate crotons by cuttings at any time of year and you should get a rooted plant within 4 weeks. When the cutting has developed its own root system, remove the plastic cover and place the plant in a shaded place for another 8-10 weeks. Remove it into a permanent container or plant it outside.
     Although the croton is a common houseplant, you should be very careful when handling it. The plant’s sap is highly toxic. It is even suspected that the oil is co-carcinogen. All parts of the plant, leaves, stems, flowers, and roots are poisonous if ingested. But, thankfully ingesting it is usually not deadly. Some of the usual poisoning symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The contact with the plant’s sap, as with many of the euphorbia species, can cause skin irritation and allergic reaction. Handling the plant can cause skin eczema in some people. So if you have the possibility of having this issue, be sure to wear gloves while handling it. The plant is also considered dangerous for pets such as dogs or cats. If your pet has eaten the croton, call a veterinarian or a poison control center immediately.
     Well, there you have it, a fall-themed plant for the outdoors and a really nice houseplant at the same time. Just don’t try to serve it at any of your holiday meals.
If you have any questions about this or ANY of my other articles, please feel free to e-mail me at
You can also follow me on FACEBOOK.
Happy Growing!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Ornamental Dinner

     I was changing out the flower boxes today at work, trying to make them look a little more Fall-ish.
The plants that were in there were looking a little tired anyway, so I yanked them out. There was some Salvia spp. and Penta spp. and some Potato Vine (Ipomoea batatas).
Well, when I pulled the potato vine out, look what came out with it.

     Yup, those are really sweet potatoes!
     Southerners know these tasty tubers because when they come into season, you see people selling on just about every other street corner. The garden varieties of the edible sweet potato have been selected due to their flavor while the ornamental varieties were selected for their colorful foliage and trailing nature. The most common of the decorative cultivars include ‘Blackie,’ and ‘Marguerite’. While the first has very dark purple foliage, the second is a bright chartreuse most commonly seen spilling over the sides of spring planters. These came from 'Marguerite'.

     These plants can grow quickly and will take over. Even when planted small, they can grow easily 5 to 10 feet in a single season, so give them plenty of room or prune them to stop them from eating your small children and Chihuahuas. Their trailing vines are much better at hanging down over the sides of containers, hanging baskets, or creeping along the ground than they are at climbing up a pole or trellis.
      Sweet potatoes, both the one grown for food and the ornamental one, prefer moist, well-drained soil in full sun with a moderate amount of water. They can tolerate light shade if necessary, but the ornamental one will be less dramatic. They are cold hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant zones 9 through 11, but you can also dig them up in fall and store them over winter for spring planting. Here in my zone 8, I have seen them overwinter in the ground and come back with a vengeance the following Spring.
     Propagation is very easy. If you overwinter the tubers, treat them just like a potato. In the spring cut them up into chunks with each section containing one “eye” (the little nub) and plant separately. Before they get hit by the first frost, you can start new plants from 4 to 6-inch cuttings. Remove the lowest leaf and stick the cut end in a container filled with vermiculite or your favorite potting mix that is moist and well-draining. A little root hormone will definitely not hurt. Keep the rooting medium moist, but not wet. You may also find that the plant has rooted itself along the trailing vines. If it has, carefully dig it up at the point it has rooted, cut it free from the mother plant and place it in a pot with some fresh soil.  You can grow them as houseplants through the winter in a sunny window.
     Although relatively carefree, there are a few problems to watch out for. Pests include the golden tortoise beetle, potato flea beetle and the sweet potato looper which is a caterpillar. Mainly these pests chew holes in the leaves, such as seen above. Natural enemies of these pests will help control them as long as pesticides specific for the pest are used and avoiding the use of broad-spectrum insecticides, if at all possible.

Golden Tortoise Beetle- Photograph by Lynette Schimming,

     Verticillium and Fusarium wilts are two of the most common fungal diseases of sweet potato plants. If either one of these fungal diseases crops up you will know it is present by the yellowing of the leaves that begin at the bottom of the plant and work its way up. If you discover a fungal infection, apply a quality fungicide that is designed for use on vegetable crops, such as Daconil Fungicide Ready-to-Use.

The question has been raised, are the tubers from the ornamental sweet potato vine edible?
     They are safe to eat, but reportedly not really tasty. Personally, I haven't tried them, nor have I tried the leafy green tops which are edible too. From what I have heard, if you’ve never tried eating potato vine leaves, you’re missing out on a tasty, highly nutritious veggie.

     It's not a great picture, but this is 'Bright Ideas Black' sweet potato. Everything you read above goes for it too.
     There has been a push for incorporating edibles into the landscape, so if you are growing the ornamental sweet potato, you are already killing two birds with one stone! It may not be super tasty, but in a pinch, it is a very healthy food.
So, Bon Apetite!
If you have any questions concerning this article or any of my others, please feel free to comment, or send me an e-mail to
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Happy Growing!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Guest Post-Prevent Garden Disease By Looking Ahead

There are times in life that a little help is always appreciated. As you all may know, I stay very busy with lectures, workshops, as well as maintaining my yard. So, when a chance to have somebody do a guest blog came about, I thought, why not?

Wendy Dessler
Wendy is a super-connector with My Seed Needs who helps businesses with building their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. Wendy frequently writes about the latest in the gardening trends world and tries to help novice and experienced planters grow.

Prevent Garden Disease By Looking Ahead
Home gardeners have to be on guard for insects and disease which will destroy their plants.
While it is easy to see the signs of insects feasting on your crop, a disease is much harder to
spot. UGA Extension pathology specialist Elizabeth Little tells us, it is much easier to prevent
disease than it is to combat it.
Bacteria and fungus thrive in moisture. This is why you should always water your garden in the
morning. This allows the heat of the day to dry the soil. If you water in the evening, the ground
will stay too moist and that breeds bacteria. If you live in an area that is hot and humid, you are
wise to stay ahead of the game.


Prevention is the key. The following tips will help you prevent disease and will help you stay a
step ahead of any issues.
Of course, you must do your research. Be aware of where you plant. Know which plants need
direct sunlight and which do not. Look up the signs of insect damage and diseases of the
particular plant you are dealing with. Make sure you use the correct soil, mulch, and nutrients.
● If you are cutting or clipping a diseased plant make sure you clean your tools well
before moving to the next plant.
● Plant in a sunny area, if the plant needs a lot of sun, and with good air circulation
● Make sure the rain can drain well so the plants do not get too much water
● Choose disease-resistant varieties or ones adapted to your growing zone, if
● Start with healthy flower or vegetable seeds, and non-GMO-herb seeds.
● If you are transplanting, check every plant for signs of disease before you plant


● Plant all your summer crops as early as possible
● Do not plant the same plants in the same area year after year. You must rotate the plants to keep the      soil healthy
● Give plants plenty of space for good air movement.
● Trellis tomatoes
● Limit the frequency of overhead irrigation to keep foliage dry.
● Use drip irrigation if possible.
● Use organic matter to keep the plants healthy
● Test the soil’s PH balance regularly
● Make sure all of the old plants are removed from last year

What can I do?

Once you see disease in your garden, remove as much of it as possible. Cut back to below the
disease line. Cut off any unhealthy leaves or plants that will pull the nutrients away from your
Mother Earth News states that adding some completely cured compost to the garden may save
the healthy plants. The fact that you used organic matter and good quality seed and transplants
will help the healthy plants stay healthy.

How’s your soil?

It does not take a lot of knowledge to see if your soil is healthy. At the end of your season, after
you have harvested your plant. Grab one of the stems and pull it up from the ground. Is the soil
moist? Are the roots spread out? Those are good signs. Perhaps the best sign is earthworms.
How many earthworms do you see? (You do not have to count them?) If there are worms living
in your soil, that is a great sign that your living soil is good for planting.
Earthworms feed off of the compost that you added. The worms are a sign of a healthy natural
ecosystem. If the soil broke and crumbled when you pulled it up, and the roots are small and close together, this is a sign that your garden was not healthy.

And there it is, the first ever Guest Blog for The Citrus Guy!
Thank You, Wendy! You gave us some great tips.

Happy Growing!