Blog of an aspiring foodie

Stuff about fruit

Posted by beer_chris on 3-February-2007

Goodness it's been a while since I posted anything, but I've been spending much of my time researching fruit tree planting information over the past few days/weeks, and need somewhere to post the thoughts I have and the information I've found.

First, this 'Gardenweb' forum is pretty great – every Google search I do seems to turn up exactly the question I have on this site – and almost every discussion thread includes posters from Houston or nearby cities. The below are helpful links on blueberries:

General guidelines on blueberry soil conditions
Rabbiteye Blueberry varietals and requirements

There are three types of blueberry plants – as far as I can tell – Highbush, which require lots of chill hours, primarily grown up north and can grow as tall as 10-12 feet. lowbush, which require chill hours and will grow to about 3-4 feet, and rabbiteye which can be grown in coastal climates (zone 8 and 9) and grow to about the same size as lowbush, but maybe bigger – according to some of the photos I've seen on the Extension website (and it was in a container).

On citrus – here's the guide I used to help me plant my blood orange.

I've recently figured out that the main secret to how large the tree will get is the rootstock used – very little citrus comes true from seed (save for a few mandarin types) because almost everything is grafted onto what is known as a trifoliate orange – see Wiki for more information. This is done to improve the cold hardiness of the plant. Citrus is native to India, for what it is worth. I had no idea.

Anyway, there are two main types of trifoliate rootstock – the trifoliate (or chinese bitter orange) and the flying dragon trifoliate, which is a dwarf variety. True trifoliate will grow to potentially 20', while flying dragon will top out at 6-8 ft. Obviously this matters quite a bit in terms of where you will place the tree.

The fruit tree sale where I bought my blueberries and citrus noted in the buying guide which rootstock was being used – but in both cases (for my 'Moro' blood orange and the 'Improved Meyer' Lemon I got my mother) both FD (for Flying Dragon) and TF (Trifoliate) were noted next to the name – I suppose both were available. My Moro is a Flying Dragon type (it was on the tag in the pot), and so should top out at about 7 feet – which is what the woman at the sale told me.

I have really wrung my hands out over this – mainly over where the trees should be placed since I already have so many mature trees on my property, so it's nice to know for sure what I'm after. I've planted my Moro near my vegetable garden between my sweet gum tree and my neighbor's willow – there's just enough 'real estate' between these trees for a small tree – but not something 20' high.

The big blueberry garden project should be completed by next weekend. I'll order some new dirt (and some organic material for my veggie garden while I'm at it) and prep the bed for the berries. Hopefully I can get some pictures up here when I get it done.

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