Watering citruses debate

I'm italian.
Italy's citruses are quite famous.
Nevertheless there has been a long debate about how to fight calcium carbonate in water, for feeding plants (citruses), in an italian gardening newsgroup, and I couldn't get through it to make the right choice.
That's how it all began
It is well known how calcium carbonates (either in water or in the soil) limits the proper absorption of essentials minerals, tipically iron, magnesium and manganese (chlorosis), and how these problem is magnified when pots are used for containing the plants.
Also using pots has worst effects due to higher concentration of deposits.
In my case I have to deal with a very calcareus water, a high Ph (8/8,5).
I haven't got a detailed analysis of the water.
I know that to have a properly targeted advise I should know important information about active calcium carbonate, Ph, electric conductivity and so forth.
Nevertheless speaking with a citrus expert, I've been advised to put some citric acid into the water (30g per 100 Liters) to break calcium carbonate.
And here the debate began.
Some people said that citric acid can break calcium carbonate, but leaves calcium ions in the water, makeing it soluble and ready to the plants. They where thinking that the effect is worst.
This is were my question comes in.
1) Are the effects of the calcium carbonate worst of soluble calcium?
2) Is it possible to "rinse" the soil in the pots to wash out calcium carbonate and salts left out from fertilizers?
Is there any effective (cheap test) to work it out? I would like to avoid water analysis but, if it is the only way to set a proper strategy I will go through it.
Thanks
P.S. - The soil isn't calcareous. It is made on purpose for citruses.
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Sorry, there is no debate. No need to antagonize the master debaters in the group!!!
Citrus is the same singular and plural. There is no such thing as citruseseseseses.
Try using dilute vinegar to get rid of calcium carbonate. Calcium acetate is water soluble.

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is
Ok for the singular, but yuo're missing the point here..... I'm using another method (citric acid) to get the same result (calcium citrate, water soluble).
What I'm trying to point out is if calcium (citrate,acetate) is worst than calcium carbonate.
Thanks
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| Ok for the singular, but yuo're missing the point here..... I'm using | another method (citric acid) to get the same result (calcium citrate, water | soluble). | | What I'm trying to point out is if calcium (citrate,acetate) is worst than | calcium carbonate.
I put the citrus plant in acidic-type soil and treat it with wer straight from the tap. No harmful side-effects, if some iron chelate is added from time to time.
B.
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Florida grows lots of citrus. Though much of the growing water comes from rain, it's also irrigated when needed. And all of the irrigation water comes out of the limestone that underlays all of Florida. Limestone is calcium carbonate, and the water thus contains a lot of dissolved CaCO3.
I seriously doubt that CaCo3 harms citrus unless the quantity is vastly greater than what naturally dissolves.
Edward
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I swear it does if it exceeds the optimum range, and the effect is wider if it applies to potted plants. My water unfortunatelly does..
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I pulled up some dahlia roots/bulbs/ whatever. what do I do with them to keep em over winter? Ingrid
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ List Manager: Puregold Goldfish List http://puregold.aquaria.net / www.drsolo.com Solve the problem, dont waste energy finding who's to blame ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Unfortunately, I receive no money, gifts, discounts or other compensation for all the damn work I do, nor for any of the endorsements or recommendations I make.
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On Tue, 26 Oct 2004 22:50:18 +0000, dr-solo wrote:

Let them dry and keep them them in a dark, cool area where they won't freeze.
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I don't have the answer, but it seems to me that this is what compost tea is for. Humic acids can buffer a lot. Alternatively, you could remove part of the soil in the pots and replace it with compost. Do this every year, and cut down on fertilizer. I even put earthworms in the pots to help with the mixing and buffering, since it is known that worm castings are more neutral than the original soil.
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Dont' they affect the roots in any manner?
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no. I can say that in terms of how good my houseplants look, given the amount of care they receive, earthworms and manure work very well together. And I never fertilize them either. Of course you don't want manure inside the house. I put the manure in the pots when I put them outside for the summer in May. By september it is completely mixed in.
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Atlas wrote:

I have dwarf citrus growing in containers; see my <http://www.rossde.com/garden/dwarf_citrus.html . I use a potting mix that tends to be acidic because of the large amount of peat moss; see my <http://www.rossde.com/garden/garden_potting_mix.html . The mix also contains bone meal and gypsum, both of which are sources of calcium.
Since the mix drains well, nutrients leach away. This is accelerated by the fact that the containers are slightly elevated on loose bricks and do not sit in any saucers or non-draining outer containers. Thus, I have to feed frequently (but lightly to avoid burning confined roots). I alternate between a commercial citrus food and ammonium sulfate. Because citrus is sensitive to a lack of zinc, I also give small doses of zinc sulfate. All of these are acidic.
I think my home-made potting mix along with proper feeding will counteract any alkalinity or salinity of your water. If the water is really bad, you might have to renew the gypsum once or twice a year.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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Dave thanks for answering.

Even mine are elevated on bricks, used to be fine with their soil, renewed every two years, using a specific mixture of meso and micro elements designed specifically for citrus. Probably this year I've exceeded a little bit fertilizers and this may have altered proper absorption ef elements.
http://www.angelfire.com/blog/hermann188/magnesio/index.htm
Have a look at those pics of the lemons of mine, about magnesium deficiencies I've posted lately.
Nevertheless the water is very bad in term of calcium carbonate, high Ph (8/8.5).
Still wondering for the future if soluble calcium ions can be more dangerous for the lemons instead of the calcium carbonate...
Thanks for answering again and wishing to continue this freindly conversation.
Regards
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I looked at your photos. If there is a nutrient or salt problem, it is minor. Your plants look quite healthy with only slight chlorosis.
However, the container looks quite small. My dwarf citrus are in 18 inch (45 cm) redwood tubs, cylindrical and as deep as they are across. I will soon replace one tub that is rotting with a terra-cotta pot 20 inches (51 cm) across -- tapering to slightly less at the bottom -- and 17 inches (43 cm) deep. It is very similar to the pot in your IMG_3231.jpg.
You need a large container so that you can keep the soil moist without it getting soggy. Too much water in the soil is as bad as the wrong pH or too many minerals. Indeed, excess water causes chlorosis.
With a large container and an acidic, well draining potting mix (with acidity maintained with acidic fertilizers), any excess calcium in the water or nutrients will readily leach away. This cannot work, however, in a small container because the soil gets too soggy before proper leaching occurs.
--

David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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:)
I've added e few pix there if like to share opinions. http://www.angelfire.com/blog/hermann188 /

You aren't the first person that argues about the pot size...my "guru" here in Italy told me that the foliage shouldn't exceed 15% of the pot size (diameter). It looks like he is right, looking at those pix I've shooted them this summer at his site: http://www.angelfire.com/blog/hermann188/reference/index.htm ..... For the height of the pot, I've read on a technical citrus book that the roots widespread instead of moving down a lot...It looks like the diameter is more important than the depth. Looking at the pix of the "Guru" it looks like they're using conical pots instead of cylindrical (forgive my english!)

My guru says the soil should be always moist, but not soggy. To achieve so, I was advised to stuff 1/3 of the pot height with stones, etc to drain perfectly the water. Also elevating the pots would help. And I did so. To keep the soil moist I need to water the plants every day in august.

Maybe the slight chlorosis occured for multiple factors: - Fertilizers excess - Calcium carbonate and high Ph.
At the moment I've removed the old fertilzer and feeded the plants with a special chelating micro elements mixture, that is to be used when deficiencies occurs (http://www.gtozturfservices.com/pages/valagro/chelamix.html ).
At the same time I'm using demineralized water hopeing it helps to melt salts eccess and calcium carbonate in the soil.
Let's cross our fingers
Hoping to here from you...
Best regards

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"Atlas" wrote:

My understanding, it applies to the Human body as well as plants, is that calcium and magnesium need each other.
I don't know much about the details or what the right answer is, but if you have an excessive amount of calcium it might be that the magnesium deficiency is because of the excess calcium. I don't know what the ration of calcium to magnesium should be but there IS a ratio. They seem to be directly proportional as well.
So if you have excessive calcium, you have a few options: 1) Change the calcium in some manner where it won't be utilized, thus balancing the magnesium/calcium,
2) Add more magnesium, thus balancing the magnesium and calcium. (I don't know what a good source for this would be, but maybe banana peels? I just don't know. Someone else might be able to suggest something. Banana peels add potassium and nitrogen.)
3) Perhaps there is something that feeds off calcium, a bug of some sort that could use the calcium and be happy. This goes back to 1) above, but I thought I would provide it as a separate item. Maybe someone else has an idea or a suggestion.
Just throwing ideas up in the air. I only have clues, not answers.
I think epsom salt is a good source of magnesium. I've got a feeling though banana peels might be a better thing to put into the soil. Don't take my word for it though. I just don't know.
As far as pot size goes, I think of it like this... The pot should be as wide as the branches. The reason being, center of gravity. Think of it like this, if you have a huge tree that grows high and branches out wide, it needs the support underneath it, otherwise a small wind could blow it over and uproot it. Kind of makes replanting it to soil a little harder, but if you intend to keep it in a pot, I tend to think the pot should be as big as the average width of the longest branches.
-- Jim Carlock Post replies to the newsgroup.
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