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Texas Gardening: Fruit tree survival in zone 8

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geneivy
Kyle, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 4, 2008
2:20 PM

Post #4359496

Good morning all. Visited San Antonio yesteday and saw my first Satsuma Tangerine. Man, was I blown away. Does anyone have ideas for fruit trees that will thrive (survive) in the middle of zone 8. I am just north of San Marcos on I-35, alkaline soil, with typical blistering hot summers and not much winter. Would love to hear of your experience and the cultivars that you have had luck with. Checked the Satsuma Tangerine and there seem to be lots to choose from? I always find the large number of cultivers of a given plant confusing. Gene

frostweed

frostweed
Josephine, Arlington, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 4, 2008
3:46 PM

Post #4359763

Gene, are you asking about oranges surviving in zone 8?
Or just fruit trees in general.
Josephine.
geneivy
Kyle, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 4, 2008
4:46 PM

Post #4359988

Hi Josephine, I guess I should have dmailed you first LOL. I guess fruit trees in general. BUT! The satsuma tangerine was just sooooo beautiful, evergreen, loaded with fruit, tasted great and seedless, maybe 1 or 2 per fruit. I just never associated fruit trees with our central Texas climate. Figured it wouldn't work except peaches in the hill country. I suppose that is why I was so impressed with the trees I saw. They were outside, in the ground, so they couldn't have been moved in for protection and were too large to cover so they must have been hardy. Dr Jerry Parsons, who was showing me around, said they were hardy to the upper teens. 10 to 12 feet, kind of broad, seemed ideal for small lots and I wondered if there were others that I may have ignored? Do you know anything re the cultivars. There are quite a few in the literature. All I was told was that it was a satsuma. Gene

This message was edited Jan 4, 2008 10:48 AM

This message was edited Jan 4, 2008 10:50 AM
MitchF
Lindsay, OK
(Zone 7a)

January 4, 2008
4:52 PM

Post #4360006

Satsuma Tangerine - they are hard to get but most Tangerines will grow in the Dallas area, however they will not fruit heavy. A trade off I guess. I know a lady not too far from me that grows them in ground. She keeps them in pots for a few years and them once the trunk is an inch or so plants them out. Tangerines are the hardiest of all the major citrus. I have tried hardy lemons and limes with no luck... there are some very tart not really editable things you can grow all the way to zone 6 or 7 but they do not have the flowers or the fruit you are looking for.

frostweed

frostweed
Josephine, Arlington, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 4, 2008
5:03 PM

Post #4360044

Well I am glad Mitch knows, because I don't, I thought that oranges were too cold sensitive for this area, but that is great. I hope they do well for you.
I have a Fig tree which has died down to the ground a few times and come back, in the course of the 30 years I have had it, and a Tamopan Persimmon that can take the cold just fine.
Josephine.
MitchF
Lindsay, OK
(Zone 7a)

January 4, 2008
5:14 PM

Post #4360073

I have puched the zone thing a few times... there are rummors of an Avacado for zone 8 being breed in CA>... we can only hope one day.

frostweed

frostweed
Josephine, Arlington, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 4, 2008
5:23 PM

Post #4360098

Wow! an avocado would be great!!! I love those things.
The first time I saw avocados in the store I bought one to try it. Well, it was nice and hard, and when I tasted it i couldn't figure what people loved about it so much, since it didn't taste like anything. Of course i didn't know they were supposed to be soft, it pays to be informed.
Josephine.
MitchF
Lindsay, OK
(Zone 7a)

January 4, 2008
5:30 PM

Post #4360123

Right - and the butter ones are even better... the thing about it is even if they have one that will work here who knows how many years it will take to get here...

We had several trees back in Mexico - year round fruit almost...

frostweed

frostweed
Josephine, Arlington, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 4, 2008
5:33 PM

Post #4360139

Oh well, we will just have to wish and hope.
geneivy
Kyle, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 4, 2008
5:42 PM

Post #4360162

MitchF, before leaving San Antonio, I went to Fenicks and they have the satsuma for 49.50 in 3 gallons. I was Stunned at the price but after doing some research, that is a pretty good price and we are talking about selling him some rooted cuttings of other things later. May work into a mutualy good deal. I understand they do well one year and not so well the next. Can't think of the name of that kind of fruit set but most pecans do the same thing. Set more fruit in alternate years, Bi something or other. Thanks for the input. Are you aware of which cultivar is "better for zone 8" or just plain better, all things considered? Gene
geneivy
Kyle, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 4, 2008
5:48 PM

Post #4360192

1956, moved from Austin to Santa Ana, CA. Avocado tree in back yard 20 feet high. Thought I had died and gone to heaven. Gene
MitchF
Lindsay, OK
(Zone 7a)

January 4, 2008
6:17 PM

Post #4360276

Now that I have no idea - and people will tell you it cannot be done - but they can. Give them a try - protect them a few years and they will reward you. Remember the older the plant the more cold it can take.
bettydee
La Grange, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 4, 2008
11:14 PM

Post #4361101

Gene, here are two links to A & M' s citrus websites:
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/extension/homefruit/citrus/citrus.html
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/patiocitrus/introductiontext.html

Any of the satumas and kumquats are probably the most cold hardy citrus on the market. Given winter protection, Improved Meyer Lemons will also do well in 8b. It is important to remember that while the tree may survive, the fruit may not. As Mitch has stated more mature trees will have a better chance to survive. So protecting the young trees for a few winters is essential. There are ways to improve their chances of survival, such as planting on the south side of the house, erecting a mini greenhouse around the tree and stringing Christmas lights on the tree, running out before a freeze and covering with a blanket. :-)

Satsumas, kumquat and Meyer lemon trees are also smaller growing than other citrus varieties which can get up to 35 ft tall. If available, dwarf trees are best for the home garden. They don't need pruning except to remove the odd rubbing branches and usually stay under 12 feet. They are also best for growing in large pots. Pruning branches on citrus trees removes much of next year's fruit. If you are serious about growing citrus, Sunset and Ortho produce two very informative paperback books on citrus. San Antonio has a number of large nurseries which may carry citrus trees. Caldwell Nursery in Rosenberg sells some dwarf citrus. Thompson Nursery in the valley sells on line, but they are standard sized trees.





LindaTX8
NE Medina Co., TX
(Zone 8a)

January 5, 2008
12:49 AM

Post #4361407

You also might consider Jujubes, which can be grown pretty much all over Texas, according to the latest issue of Texas Gardener. I called Fanick's Nursery in San Antonio and got on a list so they will let me know when their Jujube plants come in later this month. And check out Bexar Co.'s TAMU Extension website, which has a list of fruits which can be grown in the general area. I figure that most of what will work in Bexar Co. you could probably grow also.
geneivy
Kyle, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 5, 2008
1:50 AM

Post #4361704

Bettydee, thanks for the links and the good solid information. Thanks also to everyone else for their assistance. In San Antonio, there was also a qumquat tree in full fruit along with the satsumas. I will have to try the satsumas and probably the lemon, not much room for much else. Thanks again, Gene

LindaTX That was my thinking also. I am only about 50 miles up I-35 from San Antonio. Sent a proposal to Fanicks this afternoon about growing rooted cuttings of crapemyrtle for them. Will have to request a notice as you did. Pardon my ignorance but what is jujubee??? Gene

This message was edited Jan 4, 2008 7:55 PM
LindaTX8
NE Medina Co., TX
(Zone 8a)

January 5, 2008
10:11 PM

Post #4364661

geneivy, I needed a kind of fruit that didn't need much and Jujubes sounds like it fits the bill. I'm just finding out about it myself. See this article:
http://www.texasgardener.com/currentissue/Jujube.html
I live on a hill with caliche and rocks mostly and want to keep the watering down also. If it can survive outside my fenced yard and produce edible fruit, then it rocks!

frostweed

frostweed
Josephine, Arlington, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 5, 2008
10:40 PM

Post #4364770

I looked up Jujube on the link also and it sounds like a great tree to have.
I wish I had room for more trees, I would get one for sure.
I read that there is a very big one at the Fort Worth botanic gardens, I will have to go and see it.
Josephine.
Siggy
Garland, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 6, 2008
12:56 AM

Post #4365239

This is something I've looked into quite a bit. In the Metroplex we are a little north for Mandarins, in the ground at least. But a Satsuma mandarin on a "Dwarf Flying Dragon" rootstock is pretty hardy and produces good fruit. It can be kept in a large pot shuttled inside the garage for the four days (average) that is too cold. I found a guy who grafts that combo. He goes by the name "Mr. Texas".
http://members.fortunecity.com/pjsauber/index.html
http://members.fortunecity.com/pjsauber/CitrusMyths.htm
If anyone is interested let me know. I want at least one.
bettydee
La Grange, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 6, 2008
6:34 AM

Post #4366439

Siggy, Dwarf Flying Dragon rootstock does NOT grow well in alkaline soil.That is why it is not used much in Texas. It would have to be grown in neutral to slightly acidic soil or in a pot. Are you going to Beaumont?
geneivy
Kyle, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 6, 2008
5:55 PM

Post #4367564

Bettydee, since you are in my backyard so to speak, your experience is very relavent to me. I am NOT going to be a citrus producer, but as I said in the beginning, I was so impressed with the satsuma, it started me doing some research (Which is a bad habit because lots of times, that starts me down a rosey path to disaster) I also get confused by the endless numbers of cultivars of any Genus I happen to look at. I am sure my soil is more alkaline than yours because I am on the edge of the hill country.

50% of the south side of my house is driveway. I have 6' cedar fences from the back of the house to the E and W property lines so; I have SE morning sun on the east side and SW afternoon sun on the west side both with fence protection from the north.

I figure I have room for 2 citrus (a satsuma and ?) in the front of the house. The other protected areas are going to be dedicated to Caeaslpinia pulcherrima, I have 3 colors, #1 the common pride of barbados, #2 a yellow cultivar and #3 a pink. I also have seed of Affinis ?? the candle stick?

Can you recomend a Satsuma and on which root stock? A lemon other than Myers (Which I understand is not a true lemon) Providing winter protection other than being on the south side of the house is not really a problem. If you could help clear up my confusion, I would be eternally gratefull. Of course, I could always go by the retail nursery recomendations but I have found that to not always be in my best interest. Gene
bettydee
La Grange, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 6, 2008
7:38 PM

Post #4367865

Gene, TAMU recommends either Miho or Seto grafted onto sour orange rootstock. So either one of those would work well. I've read that sour orange is one of the rootstocks of choice for Texas because in addition to being cold hardy, it grows well in the alkaline soils of Texas. It is not as cold hardy as 'Flying Dragon' or dwarf 'Flying Dragon', but 'Flying Dragon doesn't grow well in alkaline soils and eventually weakens and succomes to diseases.
http://www.aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/patiocitrus/satsuma.pdf

The Meyer is a cross between a true lemon and a mandarin orange. It is more cold hardy than true lemons. It is also a smaller tree than most citrus which can grow up to 30+ feet. True lemon trees may grow between 10 - 20'. A standard Meyer may get 15' tall while a dwarf Meyer may stay under 8 - 10'. The Meyer Lemon is almost as tart as a true lemon, has more juice and has a more a more complex and flavorful taste. Can you tell it's my lemon of choice? But if you prefer a true lemon, the Eureka lemon would be my recommendation followed by the Lisbon. Ponderosa is also sold locally, but it mostly peel and doesn't have much juice. It's more of a novelty. If you like variegated foliage, there is a variegated Eureka lemon available. The fruit in the green stage is striped. The tree is sold as a Pink Variegated Eureka, but the pink color in the fruit itself is almost none existent. It it a beautiful tree, but I would grow it in addition to the Meyer not instead of. I hope this helps.
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/lemon.html





MitchF
Lindsay, OK
(Zone 7a)

January 6, 2008
7:42 PM

Post #4367878

Betty would a meyer could be grown in a pot this far north? Whould it take travel in and out of the house?
bettydee
La Grange, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 6, 2008
9:25 PM

Post #4368217

Mitch, yes it could be grown in a pot. The pot would eventually have to be a large one 24" to 30". I remember seeing an article in Neil Sperry's Texas Gardener a few years ago in which he shared his citrus growing techniques in the Dallas area. He grows his Satsumas and Meyer lemon in the ground. For winter protection he uses either flood lights or Christmas lights (safer) strung in the trees and erects a temporary greenhouse around each tree. He uses 2" X 2"s, forms 4 braced rectangles wide and tall enough to clear the sides and top of the tree. He staples clear plastic to each rectangle and screws the rectangles together to form an enclosure. Then he drapes plastic over the top and anchors it down. I can't remember what he uses, but I bet velcro with adhesive would work. That way on a warm day he can remove the top so the trees don't cook.

Once you take the tree indoors, it would have to stay indoors until winter is over because it does take the tree a short while to acclimate itself to its new environment. You could also overwinter it in the garage in front of a south or west facing window. It will need light indoors either natural or artificial.

How cold does Red Oak get? If it stays above the mid to upper twenties and then only for a short while, you could try overwintering it in a south facing covered porch. That way on warm days, you could roll the pot to the end of the porch where it could get as much sunlight as possible. At night, you would roll it back against the house. String lights inside the tree. On nights when a freeze is forecast, plug the lights in and cover the tree making sure none of the lights come in contact with the cover material.
Yuska
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 6, 2008
9:28 PM

Post #4368228

I have a tangerine and a Meyer lemon in ground that have been producing heavily every year for 9 years now. I am currently squeezing tangerines for juice to freeze because i can't possibly eat them all.
The neighbors have had their fill also, and made marmalade. I wrapped the trees during freezes during their first year outdoors but they now get no protection at all. They get no fertilizer or any attention other than watering during dry spells. We've had temps in the mid-20's 4 times thus far
and the fruits on the trees are still tasty and juicy.
I have two young kumquats to set out as soon as the weather is warm enough to work at digging the planting holes. Kumquats flower and fruit almost continually and the rinds are sweet so you can the entire fruit except for the few seeds. The San Antonio Botanical Gardens feature a beautiful grove of these trees. My trees are planted near the house and the perfume from the blossoms in February is wonderful. Calamondins will also endure quite a bit of cold. Yuska
MitchF
Lindsay, OK
(Zone 7a)

January 6, 2008
9:29 PM

Post #4368239

Red Oak - we will get in the teens at least once... not for long but in the 20s for several days each year. If he can do it in Dallas then I know it can be done here. I wonder how far North it would work? Maybe I need to see if Ted would be interested in giving a tree a try and see what it can do up there...
Yuska
San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 6, 2008
9:38 PM

Post #4368274

Several years ago in a really harsh winter we had three nights in a row at 17 degrees. The figs suffered more than the citrus (tip burn - they recovered). The freezes were in January so the blossoms in Febuary seemed to be fewer, but still had a good sized crop.
Siggy
Garland, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 7, 2008
1:27 AM

Post #4369147

I guess I didn't explain myself well. I am talking only about growing trees in large pots where the p.H. can be controlled. Not in the alkaline soil.
All rootstocks have problems. The flying dragon is a dwarf which again would lend itself to container culture. If I planted an orange tree in the ground up here it would be just a matter of time before it froze.

morganc

morganc
Austin, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 7, 2008
11:04 PM

Post #4372691

Hi Gene,

We live in Austin Hill Country and we have two lemon trees, one Satsuma Mandarin orange, and a lime tree. The Satsuma we bought last year in a five gallon pot and put in a larger pot for the patio. It was loaded with bloooms and baby tiny oranges, but it kept blowing over when we had wind, and knocked off tiny bud oranges, so I transplanted to larger mega heavy container that would not budge. We harvested about 14 oranges...simply fabulous. I learned it was hardy to 25 degrees, so only if it gets colder do we move it on to a covered porch. So far so good.

Our lemon trees are Meyer and Ponderosa Dwarf. Bought two years ago and planted on south side of house in ground. If we get wicked freeze we cover with a Planket...otherwise they're on their own. No fruit from the Meyer yet, but the Ponderosa has given us few, but HUGE lemons...the size of grapefruit.

The lime tree, planted on the south side and treated like the lemon trees has given us a few limes.

We will be moving a Loquat Tree from in front of the citrus so they can have more air and sun this spring.

We moved from California three years ago to Austin. There we had both Meyer lemons and ever-bearing lime trees. Had to give them away we had so many...so I'm spoiled and want my citrus again.

The pic is of the Satsuma in the cobalt blue pot.

I figure you might be able to grow most here if you baby them...we'll see.

Pam
MitchF
Lindsay, OK
(Zone 7a)

January 7, 2008
11:05 PM

Post #4372698

Great information!!
geneivy
Kyle, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 8, 2008
12:02 AM

Post #4372946

Pam, thank you so much for the information. Hill country eh, west of town, hmmm, OK. You surly get colder than I do. If it works for you, it will sure work for me. Having cultivar names is a real plus, thanks. Since Ivy and I propagate and sell rooted cuttings, we have to be real sticklers about properly naming things. I am looking into possibly starting to bud graft the satsuma, (Miko and/or Seto) trying to find seedling root stock instead of raising from seed. From seed it takes 2 years for the root stock + 1 year for the graft to take really well. I am in my eighth decade so any thing that saves me time is GOOD.

We left TX in 1955 and landed in Santa Ana, CA. Year round gardening, love it. Spent several years there.

Oh, by the way, really nice picture, Gene

This message was edited Jan 7, 2008 6:07 PM
jujubetexas
San Marcos, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 19, 2008
12:16 AM

Post #4422370

I am ordering a few hundred jujube of every variety to grow in San Marcos. You are welcome to some of my order if you want. I think they can really take off here in Central Texas.

frostweed

frostweed
Josephine, Arlington, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 19, 2008
12:20 AM

Post #4422388

Will you be coming to College Station r.u. on March 15th?
I sure would like to have one, I would be happy to buy it from you.
Josephine.
geneivy
Kyle, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 19, 2008
3:46 AM

Post #4423216

jujubetexas, I would love to talk to you about the jujube. I would also be interested in some of the order you mentioned. Why don't you dmail me with ETA and price? Are the varieties you ordered listed in plant files? Don't really know anything about them. How many varieties did you get? Gene

This message was edited Jan 18, 2008 9:49 PM

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