Citrus growers in BC

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by Daniel Mosquin, May 10, 2007.

  1. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    The garden received this email today:

  2. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Vancouver BC Canada
    Looks like Mr. Tafler was able to find such a person for his article which appeared in the May 12, 2007 edition of The Globe and Mail: Oranges and lemons, north of the 49th. Bob and Verna Duncan of Sidney are featured. I found this quote interesting:
    Here is a related article also written by Mr. Tafler: Will B.C. be seen as California North?.
  3. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    I think several people in this forum will be
    instrumental in Citrus becoming more
    mainstream in British Columbia. The
    hard parts will be getting certain Citrus
    to adjust and adapt to any climate change
    diversity such as abrupt cooling after a
    spell of unseasonal warming. This can
    send some of the in ground Citrus into
    chaos but they might be able to endure
    it. Hard to say for sure but I am being
    optimistic that in time through adaptation
    they can better withstand the proposed
    climatic mood swings.

    The area of most concern still will not
    be the warming it will still be the cool
    daytime and nighttime temperatures
    and the number of days that will be
    cold with these trees in the ground.
    The current day Citrus that are a
    little more tolerant to cold may not
    be the best available for commercial
    use later on but I might be wrong on
    that as there are other uses for them
    other than for fresh eating.

    At this time I find it doubtful that all
    areas of Southwestern B.C. can
    effectively grow a wide array of
    Citrus in ground outdoors but can
    grow Citrus in ground indoors. I
    think Millet and Citrus Joe from the
    CitrusNorth forum are two of the
    more prominent people to talk to
    in that regard. Growing Citrus
    in ones home and move them
    outdoors when they can is where
    more people in the Pacific Northwest
    will try to do more of but I just do
    not see them advancing growing
    seedlings from store bought fruit
    as their answer. They are going
    to have to invest in grafted forms
    or if they can get them plants on
    their own roots but for most Citrus
    the current day selected seedling
    rootstock allows for better overall
    root growth and root stability either
    in ground or grown in containers at
    the present time.

    We may hear of the success stories
    of some trees outdoors but I am not
    so certain these trees are in ground
    year round but rather are in containers
    that can be moved around to help
    protect them from the coldest early
    morning temperatures and for the
    duration of the cold.

    I think it is time to show this link in
    this forum now. I believe what is
    shown is reasonably self explanatory
    but keep in mind the dates and the
    historical perspective when all of
    this was going on when Germany
    and the Netherlands, among other
    European countries, were much
    warmer back then to allow them
    to grow Citrus in ground outdoors
    and grow these plants in large
    portable containers to be moved
    about when need be to protected
    locations from the cold and the
    more difficult aspect for the plant
    to deal with and adapt to, the cold


    As to Will B.C. be seen as California North,
    the answer is no, not until there has been
    some dramatic improvement made in the
    vigor as well as the cold tolerance of our
    current day rootstocks and a change in
    attitude towards what to do about pests
    and diseases that will or may infect these
    plants. The politics of the region, the
    current day attitudes of people, along
    with cheaper fresh market imports from
    other countries makes the notion that the
    Western part of Canada can compete
    on a global Citrus growing stage rather
    doubtful. That is not to say that Citrus
    growers cannot sell their fruit locally
    and to other parts of Canada and as
    a result can take a bite out of the
    Citrus import commodities coming
    into Canada and the supermarkets
    but will the politicians let it happen
    and not be and act subservient to the
    interests of the local growers and look
    out for the overall welfare of the end

    I think In the end it will not be a matter
    of what is right or what is wrong for
    people, it will come down to money
    and who gets it that will determine
    if the Citrus growers stand a chance
    of having this vision of growing Citrus
    on a global scale in 70 years time
    succeed or not. I just do not feel at
    this time that the mindset of the higher
    ups (telcos as a good friend of mine
    from Alberta, whom was chased out by
    government regulations of being an
    upstanding diversified Grain grower for
    many years, likes to call them), changing
    their attitudes and their ways of doing
    things long enough to let it come to
    fruition. Lets hope I am wrong about

  4. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Vancouver BC Canada
    A local enthusiast I spoke with has visions of planting groves inground, under glass year-round. I believe this is the method used by Millet. As you noted trees could be containerized and moved about but that may mean having to prune them for size which would greatly reduce the production of fruit. I was reminded of this by Millet's account of his tour of the University Of California's citrus variety collection documented in this thread in an external forum.
    The trees depicted in the (CITRUS AND ORANGERIES) link appear to be relatively small; it makes me wonder how much fruit they would bear.

    I think any discussion as to what could be in 70 year's time would be pure speculation as there are simply too many variables involved. Nevertheless it is interesting to consider the possibilities. If indeed the warming trend continues as suggested, I suspect there will be much change to society and in ways unforeseen.
  5. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    I've felt for a while now that Citrus can be
    grown in an atrium or in a greenhouse in
    British Columbia and can be done in a
    commercial manner. Almost 30 years ago
    I mentioned to people in Iowa that they
    could be growing fresh market Tomatoes
    right in a greenhouse. We have access
    to the technology that even someone in
    Siberia can be growing Tahiti Limes
    underground but growing Citrus that
    require bee pollination or a pollinizer
    tree will be a problem without some
    control over atmospherics.

    You are growing these indoors inside
    a home and not being able to put them
    outside. I look at what you are trying
    to do to be the most difficult to achieve
    success with but people in other parts
    of Canada, such as Ontario were doing
    it years ago inside their homes most of
    the time to all of the time and were able
    to produce enough fruit to make themselves
    happy with their endeavors. You can
    also be in a position to have fruit that
    you will be rather pleased to have but
    there are some drawbacks, limitations
    to what you are doing as well but you
    have already taken them into consideration

    I think if we also think in terms of
    growing Citrus in ground and in a
    greenhouse in British Columbia that
    some progressive people that can see
    for themselves that it can be done with
    success, that a reasonable conclusion
    can be made later that others will also
    join in and want to try their hand at
    being successful at it.

    I did not write or infer that several areas
    of the Pacific Northwest do not have the
    potential in time to grow lots of Citrus
    indoors in some manner or fashion. I
    think it will be a trendy kind of thing to
    do as more and more people see and
    read through this Citrus forum and
    other online Citrus forums how others
    have been able to do it, pull it off in
    some cases. It just requires a little
    interest and initiative.

    I think what Mr. Tafler was really
    signaling is that with the successes
    of others that realize that Citrus can
    be grown in B.C. that other people
    and perhaps some of the institutions
    wanting to grow Citrus in B.C. may
    have the ability to expand almost
    exponentially thanks to the efforts
    of a few people that have been and/or
    are growing these plants, along with
    others in this forum that are doing
    more than just a passing attempt now
    to grow these plants. Once a few more
    people have some successes growing
    these plants in the ground, in the home,
    in a greenhouse and in an atrium watch
    what will happen soon afterwards as
    these plants gain more popularity.
    There will be several people that will
    have interest and will want to be growing
    these plants in B.C. and other areas of
    Canada as well. Then in time there
    may not be any need to buy some of
    the current day misnamed fruit coming
    in from one principal area but only
    bring in the fruit that is or has been
    historically popular that may have a
    problem growing in Canada and do
    much of the growing of the fresh
    eating Citrus yourselves. I’d be a
    little euphoric about the prospects
    of this happening also.

    The way some of our dwarfing rootstocks
    have been keeping some of the Citrus down
    to size that I think growing dwarf forms such
    as grafted or budded onto Flying Dragon and
    perhaps Cuban and selected trifoliate form
    rootstocks and other forms as well, have
    tremendous potential for both the home
    grower and the smaller scale commercial
    grower. I think 10-12 foot ceilings will
    be ample. We also have to think in terms
    of how we prune these trees as a topping
    of the tree every now and then can cause a
    reduction in fruit in practice but pinching
    back some of the top growth every year
    may not have the same reductions. There
    is a huge difference between pruning the
    top back a foot or more and pinching or
    a light trimming back the top back to three
    inches all the way across the top. We still
    will get ample flowering in the middle to
    the upper portions of the trees is what
    we've seen on our in ground Citrus that
    we may prune the tops to better shape
    the trees every three to four years.
    Another thing to consider is that plants
    in the ground can be pruned back and
    still bear a decent crop whereas trees
    grown in containers especially housed
    under shade cloth can have tremendous
    reduction in the trees fruiting ability
    once they have their tops either pinched
    back or are top pruned.

    As for UCR, they should expect yield
    reductions by how they fertilize their
    plants with direct injections with every
    watering. They have to cut back the top
    growth to allow for new root growth that
    they have effectively weakened and to
    some extent have chemically pruned
    off in a restricted space container. The
    area of concern is what happens when
    those trees are planted in the ground
    due to their practices that they are more
    likely going to "just sit there" in the
    ground for up to three years, perhaps
    longer in some isolated cases and
    have little to next to nothing for allover
    new growth. The root initiation has
    been stymied by them and then when
    the plant is out in the ground the roots
    will have to do more work than they
    are capable of doing, thus the entire
    plant can be in peril to an invader or
    to a pathogen until they do get some
    new root growth and later on because
    of it new shoot growth. Should they
    want to plant those trees they will also
    want to top them soon after planting
    to trigger the roots to grow so they
    won’t just sit in the ground. The
    eventual crop has to be put on the
    backburner until these plants start to
    grow and adapt to their new locations.

    I think at the time the artist renditions
    of the trees that it did not matter to
    people that the fruit may have seemed
    small in size by comparison to the fruit
    on the actual trees. Then again that
    many years ago much of the Oranges
    were smaller in size than many of them
    are today.

  6. leapfrog

    leapfrog Active Member 10 Years

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    Crescent Beach (South Surrey) BC Canada
    .... or perhaps even more significantly, the under-stated impact of climate change, i.e. the increased frequency of extreme warm and cold temperature events (the low temperature events being the deciding factor in this case, of course).

    I don't think "global warming" will ever allow for commercial citrus fruit growing in BC simply because climate models predict that the low temperatures will get lower and all time low temperature records will be more common during the winter months. This will kill off any in ground citrus tress that are attempted to be grown without protection.
  7. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Vancouver BC Canada
  8. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Vancouver BC Canada
  9. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Vancouver BC Canada
  10. gefrystone

    gefrystone Member

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    Chilliwack , B.C. CANADA
    Sorry it is probably later than you need but I have been growing all types of citrus in B.C. and using the Orangerie method, a double garage with the back South facing wall replaced with windows and have had very successful results. I bring any truly tropical plants into my cool 6 to 12 degree celcius sunroom over the winter and leave my large cold hardy trees out in the Separate Garage (Orangerie) over the winter. They are provided with a small ceramic heater for when the temperature drops below freezing only. They are the more cold tolerant citrus and in general the temperature hovers around 0 to - 1 c over the coldest times when it is -14 to- 16 outside.

    Citrus do not drop their fruit unless the temperature goes down below -3c.

    I have had good success with the following cold hardy varieties outside.

    OUTSIDE ORANGERIE Above 0 to - 6 c at the lowest normally
    Lemon (Myer and Eureka..marginal to -6 c)
    Mandarins (Owari and Kinnow,Gold nugget, Kishu -9 c)
    Nova Tangelo ..Very productive, Fruits alternate years, Very sweet fruit even in lower winter light of British Columbia , Canada .
    Sweet oranges(Trovita ,Washington,Valencia,Trovita,Midknight,Cara Cara-variegated above -9 c)
    Blood oranges (Moro,Seville above -9 c)
    Yuzu Ichandarin (Lemon Hybrid..very hardy -10c hardy)
    Citrumello (Durstan...Grapefruit hybrid...-12c hardy)
    Trifoliate Oranges (Dwarf Flying Dragon and Large flowered rootstock ...full grown tree survives outside year round -25 to -30 c hardy)

    INSIDE SUNROOM (cool 5 - 12 c)
    Buddas' Hand (no fruit.. yet flowers well. Cool sensitive.likes above 10 c)
    Indonesian lime (cold sensitive..likes above 10c or no fruit)
    Mexican lime (key lime..Cold sensitive ...likes above 10c or no fruit)
    Bears Lime (less cold sensitive and produces fruit readily in cooler climate..B.C.)
    Limequat(Eustice..Tavares more productive.Cold hardiest Lime.Fruits well in cool B.C.)
    Pummelo Hybrid (Oroblanco..grapefruit taste.Very sweet,less heat to ripen,above 5 c)
    Kumquat (cold hardy but produces no fruit if not above 12 c)
    Calamondin (variegated or green, fruit and flowers well small size lemon substitute)

    Cold hardy types to aquire...these would be Ideal for B.C.
    (Hardy from Kumquat parentage... usually very productive)

    Limequat- Tavares ,very productive
    Orangequat- Nippon
    Citrangequat-Macciaroli and Thomasville (edible vs others non-edible)
    Lemonquat -Sunquat
    Kumquat- Miewa, Best flavour fresh eating
    Cold hardier types for Orangerie
    Mars Orange (sweet and natural dwarf due to consistant fruit production, heavy crops)
    Bouquet de Fleurs - sour orange ,fragrance not fruit,Gardenia
    Chinotto orange variegated- small leaves, full of small edible sour fruit year round
    Myrtifolia orange- many flowers year round..few fruit...1/3 sized leaves good dwarf
    Flying dragon and Trifoliate orange... Variegated forms
    Nansho Daidai (citrus Taiwanica cold hardy)
    Pong Koa honey Mandarin (cold hardy)
    Lang Huang Kat Mandarin (cold hardy)

    Warm Sunroom ... RARE types

    Indio Mandarinquat much larger fruit on this Kumquat x mandarin x orange. Eat sweet peel with tart flesh.

    Australian Fingerlime (Microcitrus Austrilasica)..Australian citrus caviar..warm climate, Lemon like flavour + turpentine-esque aftertaste .

    Sidney Hybrid (Microcitrus australias x australasicaGeen elongated fruit acidic and seedless .Australian round lime cross one finger lime. New growth purple ,red buds, spicy odour. Green caviar

    Faustrimedin and Faustrime (HYBRIDs)..Australian citrus caviar...vesicles used in fine cusine on food...cold hardier hybrid for cooler climates, small fruits...various colours eg: champagne, newly developed in Florida

    I hope this is a reasonable overview for northern gardeners and helps with growing them here up north.

    p.s. I will be offering newly grafted trees in the summer of 2011 on cold hardy, winter dormancy inducing rootstocks of some trees in my first two columns above.
    Trifoliate orange and naturally dwarfing "flying dragon" rootstock are the best choice for northern growers.
    Flying Dragon is a beautiful cold hardy twisted outdoor selection on it's own. It grows slowly to only 10 feet here in British columbia with colourful fall/winter yellow/orange fruits.
  11. veneziano

    veneziano Member

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    Venice, Italy
    Hi I am from Victoria but live in Italy now and our climate is much the same as Victoria. Today I bought a lemon and kumquat tree and the gardener who sold them also grows them in Sicily. He said leaf drop is common and you must prune 4 times a year to stimulate new active growth of leaves and flowers. This is opposite to what I have read here but he lopped off a few long branches of these young trees (2yr) and said to do it again in 3 months. If you have ever seen Sicily for lemons and orange groves then you will know he knows what he is talking about. I am trying it this year. Last year I lost both trees slowly with no new leaves growing all year
  12. FatherDeWit

    FatherDeWit Member

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    NorthEast BC
    Wondering if you are parting with some citrus stock. I am looking for some citus elements to add to my new sunroom. Dwarf rootstock preferably.
  13. SeaHorseFanatic

    SeaHorseFanatic Member

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    Tiny Tom's Tangerine Farm is located in Delta, BC and he's got lots of different types & sizes of citrus trees available. Going there to pick up a calamansi tree or two, plus whatever else catches my fancy.

    604-992-3817 (Tom)

    Very nice guy to talk to. Very enthusiastic about growing citrus in Canada so I'm going over there to pick his brain as soon as he has time.


  14. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Vancouver BC Canada
    Thanks for the update. I'm glad Tom's back; he disappeared for awhile.
  15. SeaHorseFanatic

    SeaHorseFanatic Member

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    Just came back from Tiny Tom's and his citrus farm is amazing. Just the sheer number & variety of citrus & other exotic trees & plants in the greenhouse is mind-boggling. I picked up a large calamansi & small one, as well as some lemongrass. He's even going to teach me how to graft different species onto a single rootstock in the next couple of weeks. Learning from pro like Tom whose been growing citrus in BC for decades will be a real honour and experience. Very much looking forward to his grafting lessons. Very generous guy & a pleasure to deal with.


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