citrus trees

Hi All,
Wife and I are retiring to Florida, north of Orlando 50 miles. We have a home that has plenty of space for several (6 or more) citrus trees, particularly if they are dwarf varieties. Having NEVER grown citrus, is there anything I should be careful of when choosing varieties? Do dwarf trees produce well enough to supply fruit for the two of us? Is cross-pollination necessary or desireable? Any problems with the root system close to concrete sidewalks or foundations? We are interested in growing lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit. Should we consider others, like tangerines, etc? What kind of maintenance is there? Any help would be appreciated. We are looking forward to gardening in a relatively frost free area--for a change.
Bill
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Bill and Nancy Weiler
Tony, Wisconsin
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It would be neat to choose varieties that aren't commonly sold in local supermarkets - I mean, the fruits that are expensive at the grocers. I'm not in Florida, but, maybe blood oranges (which are red), pomelo (larger than grapefruit, and taste nicer) (but I hate grapefruit...), temple

Definitely! With that many trees you may be sending home-made marmelade back north.

If you like tangerines - of course! The true clementines are the best (I think so, anyway).
Citrus tend to be heavy feeders and need micronutrients - but I'm sure you'll be able to buy citrus fertilizer in Florida.

cheers,
Marj
* * * Marj Tiefert: http://www.mindspring.com/~mtiefert/ Mediterranean Garden Shop: http://stores.tiefert.com/garden / In Sunset zone 14-mild
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Hi! Congratulations on your retirement!
The good

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Hello Laura I'm in Jacksonville, and have several neighbors that get plenty of oranges and navel oranges from their trees. Lemons, grapfruits, pears, and peaches all do pretty good on our side of the river.
Jim
with proper protection for that frosty night that is.

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Hi, Jim.
I probably was a little conservative in my recommendations to the Weilers, but I've lost three fruit trees due to simply planting varieties that were inappropriate for my climate. If they choose to plant varieities that are borderline-hardy for their area, I'd like for them to do so as a result of an informed decision.
Mr. Weiler is at least somewhat aware of the climate - he said "relatively" frost-free. But he may not really understand how cold it can get on occasion when a really strong front comes through. I'd hate for them to just run to the nursery and buy whatever trees look nice, then lose half of them in January.
BTW, I'm over in Panama City - we get quite a bit colder over here than you do in Jax. The cold fronts usually weaken *a lot* between my place and yours. During that record cold spell we had in January, it got down to 12-14 degrees one night, and in the upper teens for two nights thereafter! I even had to protect my Owari Satsuma Mandarin, because it is only hardy to about 18 degrees!
Still, I'm thinking about planting more citrus trees on the south side of my house, near a brick wall. That location should give the tree about 5 degrees worth of cold protection.
Specifially, I am thinking of one of the hardier oranges or navel oranges. Grapefruit would probably be OK in a protected area like that, too, but I don't eat them enough to justify the space for a tree. Possibly an Improved Meyer lemon, since they are much hardier than other lemons. But if I plant those trees, I'll need to have a plan for serious protection - complete covering plus supplemental heating - when it gets really cold.
I'd love a lime tree, but they are so tender I could only have a small one in a container, so I can bring it in for the winter.
I have a peach tree, two dwarf weeping Santa Rosa plum trees, and two apple trees - a Dorsett Golden and an Anna. The peach tree bore this year for the first time - it's a "donut" peach. The fruit was very small (and not much of it, since the tree is still small), but it was extremely good. The plums I planted as whips in 2002; they put on a few blooms this year but did not set any fruit. The apples I just planted this spring, so they probably won't bear for 2-3 years.
I'm thinking hard about a pear tree and/or a fig tree. But I still have to leave room for those blueberry bushes I want. :-)
Laura

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