Grapefruit seedling care?

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by b.derb2006, Apr 2, 2006.

  1. b.derb2006

    b.derb2006 Member

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    Hello, we just opened a grapefruit and found that one of the seeds had started to sprout. We would love to try and grow this little guy but have no idea how to start a grapefruit tree. Should we remove the seed from the fruit section, leave it and plant the entire piece of fruit?
    Any suggestions will be warmly welcomed
    Bill and Roberta
     
  2. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    A review of threads containing [search]grapefruit tree seed[/search] may prove useful.
     
  3. CarolineRC

    CarolineRC Member

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    I found a seed sprouting in grapefruit that I was eating 22 years ago. All I did was stick it in a pot with regular potting soil. I gradually repotted it as it got bigger and bigger and use Miracle Grow with a once-a-week watering. I live in Minnesota so it's only outside during June-Sept. Now, 22 years later, it is 6 -7 feet tall and still in a container. I have occasional insect problems but I can usually combat them with spray. I love my grapefruit even though it has never had any fruit.
     
  4. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Grapefruit has a long juvenile period (typically 6-15 years) even when growing under ideal conditions outside. It has not fruited but has it ever flowered? After so many years I'd like to think the tree could begin to flower anytime now.

    Have you had to prune the tree to maintain its current size and height? One experienced grower in this forum suggests it is the number of nodes on the tree that determines its readiness to flower. Constant pruning could delay the maturing process.
     
  5. CarolineRC

    CarolineRC Member

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    Junglekeeper,
    Thanks for your response to my other post... to answer these questions: No, my grapefruit has never flowered. My brother, who has a bit of a green thumb, suggested that I prune it about 10 years ago; I did and it was a mistake. Since I know nothing about pruning, I did it kind of haphazardly and it just made the tree look "scalped" for a year or so. Luckily, one nice long winter (in Southern Alabama) and then a nice summer (in Minnesota) brought it back to looking good. Too bad I couldn't have stayed in Alabama...that weather really brought out the best in my grapefruit! Since then, I've only trimmed off a few smallish lower branches. I think the size of the tree is based on the fact that the container I have it in is as big as I can handle for moving it inside and outside: it's about a foot and a half high and about as big around as an average person could put their arms around.
     
  6. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Caroline, a grapefruit that is grown from seed (a seedling tree) will normally begin to flower in 7 - 10 years, when GROWN OUTSIDE IN FLORIDA. A tree grown indoors in Minnesoita for six months of the year, then put outside during the summer could take 16 to 20 years, or longer, before it is mature. A grapefruit tree actually becomes mature and will begin to produce fruit ONLY when it has attained the required node count. A node is every place on the tree that a leaf is attached. Unfortunately, any pruning of the tree will GREATLY lengthen the time required for blooming, because pruning drastically reduces the tree's node count. If your tree is indeed 22 years of age, it should begin to flower rather soon. DO NOT PRUNE any more leaves from the tree, and give it as much light as possible, and a regular fertilizing schedule. - Good luck. - Millet
     
  7. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I have two seedling trees that are by estimate 4 years old. One, which I think is a Minneola, is 4'H x 4'W and is growing in a 10" pot. The other, which I think is some type of mandarin, is 2.5'H x 2'W and is growing in an 8.5" pot.

    The seeds were planted and promptly forgotten. The contorted seedlings were then straightened out by being tied to stakes using wire twist ties. Big mistake as they were once again neglected. By the time I checked on the trees again they had grown so much that the ties had cut into the bark. I was going to throw them out but thought, what the heck, let's just see what will happen if I cut them back to short sticks. Sure enough they grew back from dormant buds.

    Lessons learned?
    1. Label your plantings. You think you'll remember but there's a good chance you won't.
    2. Don't use wire twist ties. Instead use plastic (ribbon-like) tree ties that are flexible.
    As these trees are indoors I have no choice but to prune to contain their size. I'm hoping this won't impact the maturation process too much and that they will flower in the not too distant future.
     
  8. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I'd like to read more on this. Can you recommend a good book?
     
  9. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Junglekeeper, not only grapefruits, but all citrus trees become mature ONLY when they have produced the required number of nodes (leaves). The number of nodes that is required for maturity depends on the variety. It is different for each genus. The AMOUNT OF TIME that passes from the planting of a seed until fruiting, really has nothing to do with a citrus tree changing from a juvenile tree to a mature fruiting tree. I don't know if I can recomend a book on this or not, I'll have to look through my library. Therefore, if you prune ANY CITRUS BEFORE it has reached maturity, you will extend the time that the tree is a juvenile tree, because the pruning keeps the tree from reaching the mandatory node count, thus delaying fruiting. Growing a citrus tree indoors for most of the year, or growing a tree in lower winter temperatures (below 64F) greatly reduces the productivity of a citrus tree, thus greatly reduces the production of nodes (leaves), therefore extending the time that the tree remains a juvenile tree, and does not fruit. - Millet
     
  10. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Thanks, Millet. Let me know if you come upon the book in your library.
     

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