Which kind of citrus tree do I have?

Which kind of citrus tree do I have?

Because there is a citrus tree in almost every yard in California, we often inherit one when we move into a new house. Which kind is it? What if there’s no one around to tell you? Here I describe how I approached figuring out the identities of a couple mystery...
The Bearss lime tree: a profile

The Bearss lime tree: a profile

My wife came home with some limes from the grocery store one day nine years ago and I said, “We shouldn’t be buying those. I can grow those.” That’s how I ended up planting our Bearss lime tree back in 2012. In this profile, I’ll tell you a bit more about my own tree...
Saving the Parent Washington Navel orange tree

Saving the Parent Washington Navel orange tree

We were on the corner of Arlington and Magnolia in Riverside, looking at some citrus trees surrounded by a wrought-iron fence. It was 2012, I was with a group of Master Gardener trainees, and our guide started telling us the story of one of the trees. The tree was, at...
Reading citrus leaves

Reading citrus leaves

What can you learn about your lemon or orange, mandarin or grapefruit tree from its leaves? Following are photos of citrus foliage mostly from the trees in my own Southern California yard, and each photo tells a small story. It’s likely that you’ll recognize some of...
The Gold Nugget mandarin tree: a profile

The Gold Nugget mandarin tree: a profile

(Last updated May 2, 2021) “If I only had one citrus tree to live on for my entire life, this is it,” said our guide through the collection of about 1,000 varieties of citrus selected from around the world. That’s quite a claim. But, coming from Ottillia “Toots”...
Meet Frank Meyer, of the Meyer lemon

Meet Frank Meyer, of the Meyer lemon

I spotted this sign in a Starbucks the other day, featuring a coffee that is claimed to have Meyer lemon in its flavor profile, and I wondered how that would make Frank Meyer feel. Initially, he might shake his head because he clearly requested that no plant be named...
Beware of rootstock suckers on citrus trees

Beware of rootstock suckers on citrus trees

My orange tree above looks fine, right? That’s what I thought until I crouched down and noticed this little devil: That branch growing from the base of the trunk — that’s the little devil. It’s not a branch of my orange tree; it’s rootstock. Citrus trees are usually...
Why are my oranges splitting?

Why are my oranges splitting?

It’s December, my oranges aren’t sweet yet, but they’re splitting. Oh no! Happens every fall, actually. Just as the cool nights start to turn the rinds from green to orange, and just as the first rains arrive, navel oranges begin to split. My orange tree...
When to pick oranges and tangerines

When to pick oranges and tangerines

A friend asked me how to know when to pick the tangerines from his tree. My first thought was, it’s obvious, you pick them when they taste good. But then I remembered that for some people gardening is full of rights and wrongs; he was afraid there was a correct...

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