Transplanting Meyer Lemon to CHC / Coir

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by repaulsf, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. repaulsf

    repaulsf Member

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    I have a 15 gallon dwarf meyer lemon that I want to transplant from the potting mix that came with the tree to a CHC / Coir mix. What is the best way to get roots cleaned of the old potting mix without damaging them? How aggressive should I be in getting them clean? Finally, the tree is currently in bloom. I presume I should wait until it is done fruiting before I attempt to transplant. It is indoors in a very sunny window location in the lake Tahoe region, and I am hoping that it will continue its bloom and produce fruit.
     
  2. aesir22

    aesir22 Active Member

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    It could take almost a year for it to finish fruiting, and when that fruit is gone, chances are there will be some growing from another flush.

    I have repotted my citrus all at various stages of growth and they seem fine for it. As for coco husk, I say go for it. Perfect pH for the trees needs, good drainage with good water holding. Ignore what the others said on the other forum where you posted this question, and go for the chc. Millet will no doubt know more detail about it, as far as I know he uses chc for all of his citrus.

    Don't worry about getting every last shred of soil off the roots. Just gently tease some of it away. If it is going to cause too much damage, just leave it - you don't want to damage the roots. Either swish it in water, or use a chopstick to gently comb the soil on the roots.
     
  3. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Shaking the root ball may damage the fruit sets/blossoms....coir will kill your plant... unless it is mixed with at least 50% sand! Bin there done that! :(
     
  4. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    There is an old saying in the nursery trade: " A root grows like a bullet goes". In other words, a root will continue to grow in the same direction that it is pointed, until it hits an obstruction, such as the container wall, large rock, sidewalk and so forth. Therefore, if your tree's roots are not root bound, (growing around and around inside the container wall), all you need to do is remove enough medium so that about 1 inch of root is pointing out from the ball. You can plant your tree into a CHC/Coir medium (4parts CHC to 1 part Coir), or into a CHC Peat moss medium (4 parts CHC to 1 part Peat moss), or you can even plant your tree into a 100 percent CHC medium. I am currently growing 100+ containerized citrus trees, plus 4 citrus trees planted in the ground. I don't know why KB's tree had a problem, but a blend of CHC/Coir, CHC/Peat or a pure CHC medium WILL NOT KILL your tree, they are very popular mixes. I have many trees growing very healthy in all three mediums. Many people on the Citrus Growers Forum, use CHC/Coir, and CHC/Peat blends. My favorite medium is a blend of 3 parts 1/2 inch CHC blended with 1 part 1/4 inch CHC. CHC/Coir will be a good medium, and will provide a pH of 6.5 which is the perfect pH for a citrus tree. Lastly, the blooming period for citrus last for a very short period of time, so you might wait until the bloom is over to transplant. When you do transplant take all the time you need, and do not hurry. Keep a hand sprinkler near, to sprinkle as you go, so that the fine root tips do not dry out. Citrus do not produce much in the way of fine root hairs, so transplanting citrus is normally quite successful. I have transplanted trees in ever month of the year and in every growing condition. What size, or sizes, of CHC did you order? There is a pre-treatment that should be done to condition CHC, so if you do not know what to do, be sure to ask. Good luck to you and your tree. - Millet
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2009
  5. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    I have grown citrus since 1974, and coconut husk chips mix are not recommended without sand. Temporary potting mixes perhaps, but without adequate drainage and minimum temperatures, your citrus will experience fungus, and other deliterious effects to a dying plant. Peat will further encourage mold.
     
  6. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    KB, I don't wish to argue. Many, many, many hundreds of growers use CHC, Coir or Peat moss blends. They are among the most popular, and successful, mixes currently used for containerized citrus trees. I have a hundreds trees growing in various CHC blends, some for 10 years. CHC are absolutely a great medium, used world wide by citrus growers. They hold up to 7 times their weight in water, have the optimum pH of 6.5 for citrus, are extremely slow to break down, resist compaction, provides outstanding aeration for good root growth, and lastly, peat does not mold, peat moss naturally retards molds. I'll leave it at that, repaulsf can do whatever he/she wishes. Take care. - Millet
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2009
  7. repaulsf

    repaulsf Member

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    The CHC I purchased was described as "medium" in size. It looks to be about 1/2 inch. The coir looks quite fine and granular. I have read the threads here, and I plan to use them in a proportion of 4 parts CHC to 1 part coir. I am also aware of the need to wash the stuff thoroughly to get the salt out, but the place I bought it claims that it has already been thoroughly washed and compressed to remove the salt. I had not planned to add sand, although I could certainly do so. However, I am very certain the CHC / coir mix will drain well because I have used a similar mix in orchid media and to say that the stuff drains well is an understatement.

    Thanks for all the help everyone.
     
  8. repaulsf

    repaulsf Member

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    One last comment that I forgot to add in my last post. The reason I originally decided to use the CHC / coir mix is that it is relatively light and it drains well. It is almost impossible to over water something planted in CHC chips that are around 1/2 inch in size, although it certainly can be done if you do not know the needs of your plant. Let's just say that the good drainage provides you with some latitude and leave it at that.

    My original question about how much dirt to shake loose from the roots arose when I started thinking that I would loose the drainage benefits of the CHC / coir mix if I did not replace most of the original potting mix. Perhaps I was just being overly cautious though. The mix that came with the plant drains perfectly well, and I am beginning to think that I risk shocking the plant less by leaving most of the original potting mix in place during the transplant.

    Lastly, I saw that Millet likes to bath his CHC in an epsom salts solution as well as some calcium based solution to add micro nutrients that are not normally present in fertilizer. I was planning to use osmocote plus as a fertilizer which contains micro nutrients. Is it necessary to add epsom salts and/or other potions intended to supplement the nitrogen/ phosphate/ potasium ingredients usually found in fertilizer, if you use osmocote plus.
     
  9. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    repaulsf, if you purchased your CHC from Crystal Company (www.crystal-company.com), or one of their dealers, than the chips are already triple rinsed and crushed. However, it is advisable to pre soak them in a Magnesium Sulfate (Epsom Salts) bath over night, at the rate of 1 teaspoon per gallon of warm water. Magnesium Sulfate, provides an excellent CEC (Cation Exchange), to remove any remaining salts. If you should have some Calcium Nitrate you should also add 1 teaspoon of it also, but in any case be sure to do the MgS04 soak. Besides the salt removal by cation exchange, it also provides the chips with magnesium. Osmocote slow release fertilizer is an excellent fertilizer, however, many formulations do not contain magnesium as part of the trace minerals. Check the label to be sure. If not you will need to add 1 teaspoon Epsom Salts per gallon of hot water, and apply the cooled mixture 3 or 4 times a year. During the summer months you can also apply a water soluble fertilizer along with the Osmocote, once a month at 250 PPM. Note, Epsom Salts, does not dissolve well in cold water, so be sure to use hot water. In the beginning be sure that your irrigation water does not just run down the sides. Many times I soak my CHC root ball by placing the tree's c ontainer in a larger container (with or without fertilizer) for 3-5 minutes. Lastly, adding sand to the CHC/Coir mixture would add some weight to the container, but a finer grade of sand, would also to fill up the air pore spaces created by the CHC, thus lowering the medium oxygen level, and slow the drainage. Also sand in a CHC medium, due to its open texture, tends to filter to the bottom of the container with each watering. If you decide to add sand, be careful on how much you add. The best to you and your tree.- Millet
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2009
  10. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    The actual mold was a fungi, and the moisture retention, I credited to the peat moss combined with the CHC. A large drain pan was also a clue, as percolation build up allowed for moisture retention within the potting medium.
     
  11. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    repaulsf, one last comment. You are correct in stating it is very difficult to over water a CHC medium. However, it is possible to under water a CHC medium, especially if the chip size allows the water to pass through so quickly that the chips do not have enough time to absorb enough water. In this case a few minutes of soaking the container works well. - Millet
     

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