I live in southern Utah, zone 7-8.
Last spring I bought four dwarf citrus trees in pots. I left them out in a
frost before bringing them inside, and three of the four ended up dying.
Before I knew that they were dead, I removed suckers from the rootstock, but
eventually I just gave up. Now there are a ton of healthy suckers and no
The suckers are obviously citrus, though I don't know if they are the same
exact kinds as the scions. My question is, would it be worthwhile to just
cut the tree off right above the graft, and then let these suckers grow into
a new tree? I understand that the rootstock is often not the best quality,
but even a poorly-producing citrus tree would be better than none.
I await opinions, with thanks in adavnce...
They are not the same, otherwise why would anybody bother grafting?
The rootstock will be selected for resistance to root disease and in
your case dwarfing, not for fruit quality.
My question is, would it be worthwhile to just
Although, not likely to be a true "Seville" orange, the rootstock is almost
certain to be a sour or "bittersweet" orange. Sour orange rootstock is used for
its vigorous growth, adaptability to a wide range of growing conditions and --
as you've experienced -- cold-hardiness. It'll be a number of years before the
tree bears; tradition says seven but reality says three-to-four. Pimply skin,
relatively thick pulp, flavorful but not at all sweet. On its own, inedible to
most folks but a key ingredient in sauces ("mojo") in Caribbean/Hispanic
Bittersweet orange trees, as well as their fruit, have become difficult to
find at retail here in FL and I'd offer to buy yours -- especially if they're
dwarf stock -- but it is illegal to ship citrus into FL; go figure.... DW uses
the oranges for cooking and when we can't find fresh ones (increasingly
difficult) she uses a commercial product. If you're interested in trying some
Cuban-style recipes, including a classic "mojo", you could do a lot worse that
the "Three Guys from Miami" web site:
Here are their mojo recipes:
Bittersweet oranges are great for baking and canning purposes. Okay for
juice alternate to lemon or lime juice. If you can eat a lemon or lime
out of hand you'll be able to eat a bittersweet orange out of hand,
don't expect to find them useful for that.
I grew up in Florida where dooryard citrus is commonplace. I never could
(and still can't) enjoy sour oranges, although, I can tough it out. However, my
older sister enjoys them with great relish. Of course, my wife uses them for
cooking. We have a young volunteer tree in the back "yard" that comes into its
own any year now but I'm not overly optimistic: I don't think it gets enough
DW&I frequent a family-owned Cuban grocer from whom we purchase his
home-grown fresh fruit. It is available most of the year but we keep a bottle of
"Goya" store-bought mojo on hand just in case. The common substitute, that is,
lemon and lime juices added to the juice of a sweet orange just don't make the
grade for us, although, many find it acceptable.
Interesting stuff. Are bittersweet oranges used for most citrus rootstock,
or just for oranges? My three dead trees were Eureka lemon, Bearss lime,
and Rio Red grapefruit.
I might as well just keep them around and see what happens. It would cost
me some water and time, and I could plant them right in the ground instead
of hauling them around in pots. Even if I can't use the fruit, it might be
nice to have the fragrant leaves and possibly flowers too.
A definite "that depends" LOL! Oranges, mostly, although lemon stock is
widely used for oranges as well as for other varieties (including lemons) but,
in the main, it produces a less flavorful product. Many citrus varieties grow
true from seed and, provided the locale's growing conditions are suitable,
seed-grown trees are preferable. Obviously, rootstock is selected for disease
and pest resistance, suitability to soil, climate, and general growing
conditions in the locale where they are intended to be grown.
How closely did you examine your plants? With younger trees, in particular,
it can be quite easy to detect the graft visually. Either way, as you point out,
you have nothing to lose except some water, possibly some fertilizer and, face
it, you're going to "spend" the time anyway.... If the trees were purported to
be dwarfs, containers may be important elements in keeping them so.
Heh. So if I let these grow, it will be a crap shoot with a total mystery
as the final product? That in itself is reason enough to let them grow! I
could even start a pool with my friends--"Guess the variety"--payable years
down the line when the rootstocks make their varieties known!
The retail nurseries within a reasonable distance of me are just that:
Retail (resellers, for the most part) and the prices are high. May as well shop
at the Home Depot! However, one citrus nursery about 60 miles distant sells sour
oranges (most commercial citrus farmers will not); I just don't want to pay
shipping, that's all ;-). It's on the "next time I'm down that way" list. Nice
to have but not a pressing "need". Ironically, I have a cousin who has several
hundred acres of oranges. I rarely see him and it never has occurred to me to
Where I live now is too far north for me to want to fool with oranges.
Protecting the English peas and a damnable staghorn fern from freezing is enough
of a chore! The last of the commercial citrus growers were frozen out in the
late '80's. Former grove acreage through which one drives to get here from the
south is now planted pine trees or houses. A cold-hardy bittersweet would be
nice to have, I guess; just never have pursued it.
*laughs* :) isn't that how life goes... haha.
why damnable? because it's so finicky? or
you simply don't like the plant?
only plant here that i have to protect is the
rosemary plant that i bring in for the winter.
almost time to put it back out.
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