Hardy Citrus in Washington state

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by SoCal2warm, Mar 27, 2019.

  1. SoCal2warm

    SoCal2warm Member

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    Hi, I'm in Olympia, WA and trying to grow hardy citrus outside. Most of them are rarer varieties.

    Olympia, WA has a similar climate to Seattle but the Winters get a tiny bit colder and the Summers get a bit hotter. Also night temperatures in Olympia often tend to be maybe 2 degrees lower than Seattle.

    This is the progress of how various varieties have done outside here:

    Yuzu, on dwarf rootstock, bush only 20 inches big, survived the first Winter (2017-2018) covered in a clear plastic bag weighed down by a gallon container of water. Some of the outer leaves looked scorched, but mostly was fine. It was a very mild Winter, there were camellia bushes that Winter blooming on new years day, and even a rose bush that still had a partially frozen but fresh bloom on it and was trying to bud out more blooms. The Yuzu began recovering very quickly in late May to early June. The second Winter (2018-2019) was more difficult. The plant was unprotected (except for one night when the temperatures dropped their lowest) and was completely buried in deep snow (which is not common here). The temperatures did not get that low though. On the coldest night I measured 24 degrees F ( -4.5 C) right outside the doorstep 3 and a half hours before it was forecasted to drop to the lowest point of that year.

    Keraji seedlings, growing on their own roots, both rather small, one of them maybe 4 inches high, the other 6 inches high. They were both covered with clear plastic containers, and ended up getting buried in snow. During the coldest night a gallon container of warm water was set next to them (3 and a half hours before the lowest temperature point during that night) and they were covered with a paper grocery bag on top of that. As of late March, the bigger one of them appears like it's not going to make it. The leaves are all dead and there's only a streak of green on the upper stem. As for the smaller seedling, most of it got killed back but the very bottom part of the stem is still green and there's still one very small green leaf down there close to the ground that's still alive and looking well.
    From my research, Keraji is supposedly able to survive 12-14F in the South (but maybe that's on trifoliate rootstock), and is closely related to Satsuma mandarin.
    (I've pieced together some DNA studies done in Japan and Keraji appears to be a triple backcross of Kunenbo to Shikuwasa, whereas Satsuma appears to have originated from a cross between Kishu and Kunenbo. Kunenbo 九年母 was the variety that preceded Satsuma in Japan 400 years ago, and is basically a large sized mandarin, very aromatic, that has some distant pomelo ancestry, it is also seedy, and probably the origin of Satsuma's cold hardiness)

    Dunstan citrumelo, on trifoliate rootstock, this variety is supposed to have better flavor than Swingle, almost like a more sour grapefruit or lemon. Seem to survive very well through the deep snow. The full extent of damage did not become fully evident until late March, the leaves look fried, but for the most part still retain some green color (new leaf growth will probably replace them). The stems are still all green and it will likely have no problem growing back. It was completely unprotected. It's branches actually got weighed down and bent over by the all the ice freezing onto the leaves, but even by the end of February when the snow had all melted the leaves still looked very green, more so than all the other varieties.

    Satsuma mandarin, on dwarf rootstock, about 3 feet high. Was covered by clear vinyl plastic. Some of the branches on one branch got fried, but the leaves on the top branch are still green, though a bit yellow in hue. The plastic cover got weighed down by the snow. There were 3 gallon containers of water under the cover that never froze even on the coldest night. The Satsuma doesn't look the best but it appears to have survived.

    Actually the Winter here was very mild until the early part of February when winds from the Northeast started blowing in down the Puget sound and large amounts (relative for this area) started falling. Probably in a typical year, a light snow might fall but it does not stick to the ground for long.
     
  2. SoCal2warm

    SoCal2warm Member

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    Picture of Yuzu, taken March 7, the leaves are all green though the ones on the top branch look a little trashed
    Yuzu-O.jpg

    As of March 27 it looks a little worse, probably 70% of those leaves are going to get replaced, only some near the very bottom inside will make it.

    Picture of 'Ten Degree mandarin' (Clementine x Yuzu cross)
    TenDegree-O.jpg

    Picture was taken March 7, but as of March 27 even those last remaining two green leaves have withered. Most of the branch and stems still look okay and green. It's obviously a little bit less hardy than Yuzu.
    This was also not protected, except with a gallon container of water and a paper bag covering on the coldest night.
     
    Will B likes this.
  3. SoCal2warm

    SoCal2warm Member

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    The below is an archived compilation of posts I have collected and put together from various different forums, relating to people's experiences trying to grow hardy varieties of citrus in the Pacific Northwest region.
    Lots of anecdotal stories here that no doubt some of you will be interested in.


    The following are posts recovered from the ******* forum:
    (edit: it looks like this forum has an automatic block that prevents the word from being visible, and also prevents the links from working. the blocked word is p-e-r-m-i-e-s )

    nancy sutton
    Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington

    "Well, just for giggles, I've got yuzu growing happily in a spot outdoors, sorta sheltered from the northerly wind, here in our 7-8 zone, gets down to 25F on short occasions. No fruit yet... but it's only been ..? 2 or 3 years?"

    https://*******.com/t/16891/permaculture-projects/lemon-trees-montana

    Ben Zumeta
    (March 2018 ?)

    My best friend from childhood's parents have a lemon tree in their yard in NE Seattle. It's at least 15yrs old and seems quite productive and healthy. He is a lifelong orchardist and vintner though and may have used old farmer magic.

    ...in terms of the happy lemon in Seattle, beyond good ol farmer magic I would attribute its success to being about 2/3 of the way up a SE facing hill with a house above it to the NW. The bottom of the hill has a grocery store parking lot and large arterial covered in black top, and this undoubtedly radiates heat. It also probably likes the boner view of Mt. Rainier.

    Marco Downs
    I heard recently that Dave Boehnlein got a Yuzu harvest from a tree he planted in a parking strip in Seattle, no special earth/stone works, but lots of feeding and watering. I haven't seen many posts from him on this forum lately but I know he's pretty approchable. From what I've seen, yuzu and other (semi)hardy citrus can grow leaves just fine, which can be wonderful for cooking, but getting the fruit to ripen can be tricky.

    https://*******.com/t/82882/Yuzu-Western-Washington

    Frank Cordeiro
    "My Yuzu limes have survived three days of 10 degree weather with just some minor stem damage. It is producing lots of good fruit with no freeze damage the last two years.
    I use my trifoliate orange to make a household cleaning solution by soaking cut up and squeezed oranges in white vinegar.
    I am in Southern Oregon. Most years we hit 10 degrees in winter but sometimes a bit lower... "

    Matt Hedlund
    February 2018
    "I too live in Seattle and have a cold hardy citrus collection of my own. In the ground i have:

    Indio Mandarinquat
    Owari Satsuma
    Kuno Wase Satsuma
    Nagami Kumquat
    Fukushu Kumquat
    Marumi Kumquat
    Calamondin
    Chinotto Sour Orange
    Bloomsweet Grapefruit (kinkoji)
    Yuzu
    & Poncirus trifoliata

    To date, these have all seen 18 degrees unprotected with no damage across the last 3 winters."

    https://*******.com/t/74712/Hybridizing-cold-hardy-citrus-grow

    dawn shears
    Location: Gold Beach, Oregon (south coast, zone 9b)

    "I was super tickled to find meyer lemon trees growing well, outside in my new community on the south Oregon coast. Come to find out lots grows here that does not even grow well in many places in northern California...

    They call it the "banana belt" of Oregon and it's something like climate zone 9b in a little sliver on the south coast..."

    https://*******.com/t/69696/Lemon-trees-Montana-anyplace-cold

    This post came from tropicalfruitforum.com:

    jim VH
    Vancouver,Wa. zone 8b
    "Yes, My Sudachi and Yuzu easily survived 8F (-13.3C) in January 2017 in Vancouver Wa., just across the Columbia river from Portland Or., with only minor small twig damage and about 20% defoliation on each. The Sudachi appeared to have a higher percentage of small twig damage than the Yuzu. On the other hand, the Yuzu is a much larger tree, and size does matter."

    ================================

    This is an archive of selected posts taken from a thread titled "hardy citrus, after the freeze", which appeared on the (now defunct) Cloud Forest Gardener forum, and discussed growing citrus outdoors in the Pacific Northwest:

    ____________________________
    jim
    Location: Vancouver Wa.
    Climate Zone: sunset Z6, USDA 8b
    Dec 02, 2010

    Well, it's been over a week, enough time to evaluate the damage. While this freeze was not particularly severe compare to last year (48 consecutive hours below freezing with lows of 23F(-5C) and 17F(-8C) this year compare to 117 consecutive hours below freezing with four consecutive lows a degree around 11F(-11.6C) in December 09) the earliness of the freeze probably affected the plants a bit severely, since as Eric of the Dalles/gorge pointed out, plants have not had as much time to harden off compared to prior years.

    I have a number of unprotected citrus that I'm evaluating for PNW hardiness, as well as some in christmas tree light heated mini-greenhouses. The greenhouse protected citrus were undamaged, fruit and all. In fact, it looks like the LA early Satsumas ripened a bit more, and may be ready by new years. The unprotected citrus:

    Yuzu- the tips of the second growth flush were nipped back an inch or two, not surprising since the second growth flush never hardens off. This is comparable to previous years, except last year when all the second growth flush was killed.

    Unprotected Changsha- slight tip dieback. This particular Changsha is the sole survivor of 23 unprotected seedlings I started out with two years ago, and survived (barely) last Decembers freeze, sort of unnatural selection of the hardiest variation of a random population.

    Indio Mandarinquat- It's toast; white bark and dead leaves to the graft. Oh well, I was wondering where I was going to put the Kishu mandarin I'm protecting in a pot indoors.

    Citrumelo- fully hardened off. No damage. It only had one growth flush this rather cool year.

    Thomasville citrangequat seedlings- there are six in pots. The pots are set in the ground with soil to the top of the pot, to protect the roots. Three of them show some damage- slight bark whitening, tho the leaves look OK. The other three seem undamaged. There's also a one inch tall Sudachi seedling, which appears undamaged.
    _________________________________

    Las Palmas Norte
    Location: Lantzville, Vancouver Island
    Climate Zone: USDA zone 8b
    Dec 02, 2010

    My (potted) citrus had no issues with the last cold spell. They are in a large 1,000 square ft coldframe (polytunnel - British equivalant) and the smaller ones where just gathered together in the center area - no heat. I'm not sure of the temps in there but outside the coldest night on Nov.23 was -8.3°C (17°F).

    Atwood Navel
    Changsha mandarin
    Owari satsuma
    Yuzu
    Ventura lemandrin
    Sudachi
    Meyer Lemon
    10° Tangerine
    ... and several seed grown mandarins

    My biggest problem was scale insect on some of these and now a black sooty mold has formed. Looks like a big maintenance issue come spring, should they make it.

    Cheers, Barrie.

    _____________________

    jim
    Location: Vancouver Wa.
    Climate Zone: sunset Z6, USDA 8b
    Dec 02, 2010

    For an unprotected in-the-ground citrus, the Yuzu seems to work in the Portland area. My Yuzu has survived the last three winters unprotected. Part of it's hardiness, I suspect, is that it;s grafted to a true poncirus rootstock, giving it early dormancy. I haven't seen any problems with soot or scale. Perhaps because it's been outside, the rain washes off sticky sweet that causes sooty mold, and the freezes kill the scale. It's available from One Green World nursery, although I suspect, based on last years results, the 0F degree hardiness they claim may be overhyped. Also, it's actually used in cooking by the Japanese, although a lot of people don't care for the taste or texture. There are hardier citrus: the poncirus or trifoliate orange, the citrumelo, the citrange, etc. but most people can't stand the taste (although some are able to eat Citrumelo's, cutting out the sections like a grapefruit, which it resembles, making sure none of the bitter peel oil gets into the fruit. When or if mine sets fruit, I'll test the hypothesis). The following, somewhat more edible citrus may be as hardy, or hardier than the Yuzu, particularly if grafted onto a poncirus rootstock: Taiwanica lemon (seedy but edible, and, being a lemon, it will ripen here) Thomasville Citrangequat (some people don't like the taste, the one I got from Stan McKenzie tastes great, like a lime) Sudachi ( the one I have tastes fine to me, and it's used while still green, so ripening is not an issue. The ten degree tangerine, from Las Palma Nortes list, may also be hardy enough, and maybe the Juanita tangerine, but I haven't tried them (too many citrus, not enough room, or money) There are also things like yuzuquats and razzlequats and a host of other hybrids, enough to drive one mad
    _______________________

    eeldip
    "George in Portland"
    Climate Zone: 6/8b
    Dec 02, 2010

    i have a poncirus in the ground, and its been great. pretty close to my house, in the winter the contrast against the wall is incredible. stole that trick from the chinese gardens. it hasn't flowered yet though, making me sad...
    _______________________

    John S
    Climate Zone: USDA8
    Dec 06, 2010

    Don't buy a 10 degree tangerine. I think it makes it in SC because it gets so much heat that it can lose some. Mine died here. I waited to put it out until it was bigger, and it still croaked. I'm being a little conservative on my citrus. I will put my yuzu out eventually but I wan't it to grow up. Flying dragon and Ichang lemon the only ones out all year and they're fine.
    John S
    PDX OR

    ____________________

    jim
    Location: Vancouver Wa.
    Climate Zone: sunset Z6, USDA 8b
    Dec 06, 2010

    John, it's good to know about the 10 degree tangerine, something else to cross off the list. People who try out these different varieties help everyone else; out motto 'we kill exotic plants so others don't have to'. Even the Ichang can be iffy, mine was killed by last Decembers freeze, even though my grafted Yuzu survived. My guess is, the freeze came after a fairly warm November last year and sap was still flowing. When I inspected it, the bark was split and peeling, I'm guessing the flowing sap froze. The raging east winds probably did not help. If it had been grafted on Poncirus rootstock like the Yuzu, it may have gone dormant and survived.
    ________________________

    John S
    Climate Zone: USDA8
    Nov 27, 2013

    I love this thread. My yuzu died last winter, then regrew from roots and is a small bush again. Jim, I love your idea about growing it on flying dragon rootstock. Maybe I'll try to bud it this summer (2014). I have been almost killing my citrus for years. I love to see the experiments of others to see if I'm on the right track.
    John S
    PDX OR
    _________________

    jim
    Location: Vancouver Wa.
    Climate Zone: sunset Z6, USDA 8b
    Nov 22, 2014

    This is an update of this thread about the travails and joys of growing cold hardy citrus in the PNW, detailing the outcomes of nine unprotected citrus during the winter of 2013-2014.

    Last winter was characterized by two significant Arctic blasts.

    The first began Dec. 5th 2013 and ended Dec10th and was characterized by 113 consecutive hours below freezing, one low of 10.8F (-11.8C), one low of 13.6F (-10.2C), and four lows in the low 20's. Daytime highs were in the mid-high 20's on four of those days. This freeze also had strong east winds of 20 mph with gust to near 40 during the first couple days.

    The second blast began Feb. 4th and ended Feb. 9th 2014 also with 113 consecutive hours below freezing. The nighttime lows were not particularly remarkable (for Portland), with three around 19F (-7.2C). What WAS noteworthy was a period of 36 consecutive hours where the temperature never rose above 21F (-6.1C). Daytime highs were also low-mid twenties for two other days.

    The compost pile indicator shows that the ground froze solid to a depth of 12-15 inches during each of these two extended freezes.

    Four of the nine unprotected citrus survived these two freezes:

    Yuzu on Flying Dragon rootstock: 30% defoliated, one small twig died

    Citrumelo on Flying Dragon rootstock: 20% defoliated, no small twig death.

    Thomasville Citrangequat on Flying Dragon rootstock: 100% defoliation, 30-40% small twig death

    First of twoThomasville Citrangequat seedlings on its own roots: killed to the ground, regrew one shoot in late July

    The following five unprotected citrus died:

    Troyer Citrange on it's own roots: This was the rootstock of the Kishu mandarin that died the previous winter.

    Small 5 YO Changsha tangerine on it's own roots: This was the seedling that barely survived four nights near 10F in the of freeze of Dec. 2009. Not this time. Two freezes in one winter were two much for it , I guess.

    Large 9 YO Changsha tangerine on it's own roots

    Second of two Thomasville Citrangequat seedlings on it's own roots

    Sudachi on Carrizo Citrange rootstock

    A few additional observations
    All of the five citrus that died looked pretty good until the weather warmed in late March, whereupon they turned brown and died. In fact, I was able use the wood in February to graft the two Changsha's and the Citrangequat seedling onto Flying Dragon rootstock, indicating the wood was still alive.

    Second, none of the Citrus showed any signs of the bark splitting that indicates sap was flowing at the time of either of the freezes. Clearly they were all dormant.

    Apparently, then, on the five plants that died ,it was the roots that were killed when the ground froze to a depth of 12-15 inches, i.e., the citrus themselves were top-hardy to 10F, but not root-hardy. The one Citrangequat one it's own roots that survived perhaps had a deep root that somehow survived, the root possibly protected by some Lingonberry plants that were growing fairly close to it.

    This, then, seems to be a second mechanism whereby Deciduous Poncirus rootstock improves the hardiness of those cultivars grafted onto them. Not only does the rootstock cause the tops to go dormant, protecting it from bark-splitting death, but it also gives it a set of freeze-proof roots.

    I was a little surprised that the Citrange died. It is reputed to be hardy to zero Fahrenheit. But then, Portland is a "hard" zone 8. Freezes here can last for up to two weeks without the temperature exceeding freezing, whereas in the South and Southeast, where most observation come from, temperatures of near 0F are often followed by rapid warmup above freezing in the following day or two.

    Base on observed damage, the Citrumelo is somewhat hardier than the Yuzu. Both can probably take a few more degrees of frost, possibly to 5F, or even lower.
    Both are hardier than the monofoliate clone of Citrangequat that I obtained from Mckenzie farms. The two Citrangequat seedlings appear hardier than that clone- both had some bifoliate and trifoliate leaves.

    Only one of the Citrus -the Changsha- was grafted. The Sudachi was a rooted cutting.

    http://www.cloudforest.com/cafe/gardening/hardy-citrus-after-the-freeze-t70.html

    =====================

    This was posted on the former GardenWeb:


    pablo2079
    January 18, 2007
    I'm in Washington State... have had a Changsha and Meyer Lemon outside for about 4 years. The Meyer gets hit pretty hard in the winter, but the Changsha seems to be a real winner. Been down to 14f this winter and it's still looking good (the Valencia seems to have bought the farm though).
     
  4. Will B

    Will B Member

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    Thanks SoCal2warm for the very detailed observations! Sounds like we have very similar climates. My info is here in case you are interested: Home | Aprici
     
  5. SoCal2warm

    SoCal2warm Member

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    Here's a picture of Bloomsweet grapefruit inside a protective cover:
    20190328_124841.jpg
    Bloomsweet is a cold hardy variety but still not as hardy as other cold hardy citrus varieties, so it needs protection.
    The enclosure has breathable fabric mesh at the top to allow some ventilation.

    Bloomsweet is believed to be the same variety Kinkoji in Japan, presumably brought to America by Japanese immigrants who came to grow citrus orchards in Texas. Genetic studies in Japan have shown Kinkoji to be a cross between Pomelo and Kunenbo, so it is related to Satsuma mandarin.
    The blossoms of Bloomsweet do not smell like regular grapefruit but smell more like sour orange.
    Bloomsweet probably has a very similar level of cold hardiness to Satsuma mandarin, maybe a very tiny bit more.
    The fruits are somewhere between an orange and a grapefruit, maybe just a little bland, and have seeds.
     
  6. SoCal2warm

    SoCal2warm Member

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    As an experiment, here's a small Yuzu seedling I planted outside to see how it would fare:

    picture taken September 19, 2018, after it had put on some growth in the ground
    20180919_133808.jpg

    picture taken April 1, 2019
    20190330_123839.jpg
    top stems are all dead, bottom trunk stem is still green, with a tiny leaf coming out caught in the dead stems that's half-green and just looks so-so.
    This is a very small seedling and was not protected. At one point it got burried in snow for a week.
     
  7. SoCal2warm

    SoCal2warm Member

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    Dunstan citrumelo
    20190404_121030.jpg
    citrumelo is a cross between Duncan grapefruit and bitter trifoliate orange (Poncirus trifoliata)

    Satsuma mandarin (which was under a protective cover during the Winter)
    20190404_121256.jpg
    Satsuma has more cold hardiness than ordinary citrus but I still think is going to have trouble surviving outside here without being covered. The water containers were put there to try to prevent freezing.

    Yuzu (April 3)
    20190404_121016.jpg
    it's on trifoliate rootstock
     
  8. SoCal2warm

    SoCal2warm Member

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    Bloomsweet that was under protective greenhouse cover
    20190406_153025.jpg
     
  9. SoCal2warm

    SoCal2warm Member

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    The Dunstan citrumelo is pushing out new growth.

    The Satsuma mandarin appears to have died. Guess it suffered more damage than I originally thought, can take some time for the full extent of the winter damage to manifest.

    The Ten Degree still does not have any leaves but the small branches are still a fairly healthy green. I can tell there was some very low level damage on the branches (very thin strips of light grey).

    The Yuzu appears to be doing okay, but has not sent out new growth yet. The leaves that survived look like they are recovering.

    The Bloomsweet looks like it could go either way right now. Waiting to see if it can manage to put out any new growth.

    One of the small Keraji seedlings was pretty much completely killed back to the ground, but I can see the part of the stem sticking out of the ground that is still alive looks like a healthy green color, so the plant is technically still alive, though not sure if it will have the energy to recover. It was just a very small Keraji seedling on its own roots. Probably should have tested this on trifoliate rootstock and waited until it was at least 18 inches high. I'd give it more insulation next time too.
     
  10. SoCal2warm

    SoCal2warm Member

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    20190531_185817.jpg
    leaf growth coming out of Bloomsweet, it almost didn't survive, and might not again if we have another Winter like the one we had. considering the damage on the trunk, I'm surprised it was able to leaf out at all.

    The citrumelo is doing great
    20190528_134747.jpg

    The Yuzu is still alive with healthy looking leaves, but hadn't really seemed to grow out new leaves though. Half the old leaves that didn't fall off recovered their color and look good.
     
  11. SoCal2warm

    SoCal2warm Member

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    Last year I planted 2 Yuzu and 2 Keraji seedlings outside. The Keraji were covered with a plastic container, the Yuzu were not. One of the Yuzu and one of the Keraji died. Both the other Yuzu and Keraji were killed back to 4 cm above the ground. Both of them had one tiny leaf that remained on them into the Spring, and these leaf on both looked green, like it was still alive and not going to drop. There was an accident with the tiny Keraji seedling and the top 1 cm with the tiny leaf got lopped off. As of May, both the stems of the seedlings still looked green and alive, though it was obvious they had suffered fairly severe cold damage. (Though by that that time the Yuzu had apparently dropped its one remaining leaf) The Yuzu began budding out in June and now has a few very small leaves on it. The tiny Keraji began showing signs of budding out a few days ago and now has the tiniest little leaflets beginning to grow out of the stub.

    I think the difference between the 2 seedlings that survived and the 2 that did not is that the surviving seedlings were planted in slightly better spots, with more sun exposure during the winter, making the spots a little warmer.

    Neither of these are exactly thriving (what would you expect, planting small seedlings on their own roots outside?) but technically a seedling of each did survive and are still alive.

    The surviving Keraji appeared to suffer more damage than the surviving Yuzu, so I would say this test confirms that Yuzu is a little more hardy than Keraji.
     
  12. SoCal2warm

    SoCal2warm Member

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    surviving Yuzu seedling
    20190612_200140.jpg

    surviving Keraji seedling, now tiny, just starting to bud out of the tiny stump in the ground
    20190621_101933.jpg
     
  13. SoCal2warm

    SoCal2warm Member

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    yuzu seedling
    20190621_171839.jpg

    tiny keraji seedling
    20190629_174055.jpg
     
  14. SoCal2warm

    SoCal2warm Member

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    bloomsweet
    20190629_145641.jpg

    amazingly it does seem to have held on to a few of the leaves from last year, and even though these leaves do not look like a healthy green, they do seem to be slowly greening up more now and look like they may still be functional.

    The new leaves that sprouted (starting last days of May) now seem to be growing bigger, they are almost the size of the leaves from last year.
     
  15. SoCal2warm

    SoCal2warm Member

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    updates

    Yuzu, experiencing a growth spurt now
    20190729_161627.jpg

    little Yuzu seedling that managed to survive the Winter
    20190729_114524.jpg

    Bloomsweet
    20190729_161638.jpg

    tiny Keraji seedling, with leaves now
    20190718_151536.jpg
     
  16. SoCal2warm

    SoCal2warm Member

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    The little Yuzu seedling has recovered to about the same size it was this time last year.

    20190813_164922.jpg
     

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