Sunday, September 14, 2014

CITRUS PROBLEM HARRIS COUNTY

So, one of our local garden centers is having it's annual 70% off everything sale.  Yay!  We headed off to look for some ornamental trees (still need a few Vitex/Texas Lilac for the driveway).  We'd also like to get a plum tree and one more peach and one more pear.  

We also want to try citrus again so as we were roaming around, we went to the citrus section.  These tags were on every single citrus tree, lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit...it didn't matter, it was on all of them:


In all the years I've been venturing out to garden centers and nurseries, I've never seen this on any plant.  Very odd.  Needless to say, since our farm is outside of Harris County, we couldn't buy any citrus.  

When we got back home, I had to look it up and see what it was all about.  I found THIS ARTICLE.  There is a disease called Citrus Greening that is going on.  In July, they apparently banned ALL citrus sales to keep it from spreading (glad we weren't citrus hunting in June).  Now they are for sale again but you can't leave the county with them.

They even want's people to 'report' suspicious plants at the website below:

http://www.saveourcitrus.org
I don't think we will take the chance on getting any this season.  We want a lemon, a lime, an orange and a grapefruit but since they are so sensitive to freezes, I think we'll get them in the Spring after danger of frost and hopefully after this has passed.  We'll just check out next year's crop when they get shipped to the nurseries.

On the upside, we did get some more ornamental plants/bushes to add 'color' to the farm, more on that in another post.

Hope you had a great weekend!

17 comments:

Texan said...

I haven't seen any tags on any of the citrus trees at nurseries up here. Interesting. I have our citrus in pots. I bring them in for winter and then out summer and spring. I would love it if I could just plant them in then ground!

Linda said...

I live in Sugarland, Fort Bend county and drove to Houston (since it IS right there) and saw these as well. I was afraid to buy any and thought I might get followed but the plant police, ha. Like you, I told my hubby we'd just wait till next year.

1st Man said...

I know, it's weird it's only in a few counties here in Texas. You definitely can't get them in the ground up there huh? There are plenty here in the ground, but it's always the established ones, young ones I don't think do so well even in our random cold snaps. Do you get fruit from yours being in containers? What size containers do you use if you don't mind me asking.

1st Man said...

Ha, I hear ya. We didn't buy them cause we were worried about that as well. I know when they ban fireworks in Harris County, and people go outside the county to bring them in, fire marshals follow them back. Plant police are probably watching, ha. Plus, some creepy disease/bug is not something I want to have to deal with, ha.

Tewshooz said...

You guys, I have such citrus envy!!! Can't grow them here,....heck, can't grow peaches or apricots or even Italian plums at this location (although in town where it is sheltered they sometimes can). We can grow apples and pears, but only on certain years when they don't get hit by frost in July. I would kill for a Meyers Lemon like we had in California.

Mary Ann said...

I had never heard of this, either... but then, we have only apples and pears.

Texas Rose said...

I read the article - scary! I am so glad that the USDA is on top of this - this would destroy our citrus industry in the Valley. And all the beautiful citrus in my yard, which would break my heart! Thankfully, no quarantine in my area two counties to the south of you.

For winter protection, I heavily mulch my trees in the fall - about a bag of mulch each. If there is a freeze lower than about 28, I also throw a cover on my smaller trees. For my large ones, I skirt them with blanket-material which I secure to the ground with bricks and then clothespin up to the tree to a height of about 3- 4 feet. Seems like my key lime is the most susceptible - for our rare freezes in the teens, in addition to the cover, I also put a couple of heat lamps inside.

Your ornamental plants you bought for the farm for color sound beautiful - can’t wait to hear what you got!

Dawn McHugh said...

here in the UK I grow oranges lemons and limes in containers and they produce fruit, I stand them out once the last frost has been and bring them in under cover September before the frost, they are all in flower at the moment with some young fruit and there is full sized lemons almost ripe.

1st Man said...

LOL! Citrus envy, heck we might have that if we can't get any growing. Funn you mentioned California, I grew up (for a brief couple of years) near SF and I remember our yard had a lemon tree and a lime tree, right by the front door. My Mom used to send me to pick some. And they stayed covered in fruit. Crazy. That's citrus envy too, lol.

1st Man said...

Mmm, apples and pears....that's the makings of some great desserts, ha.

1st Man said...

It is a scary article, you are right the citrus crops in Texas in the Valley are tremendously important. You have citrus in your yard? Did you plant them as small and nurture along over the years? Our problem is not being out there. I could run out and cover them one day but then it's not good to leave them covered for several days, or at least cover/uncover/etc. We'll figure it out. I'm determined to have citrus. I see large orange trees around the Heights, but of course once they are 10+ years old, they are probably worry free in freezes, ha.

1st Man said...

I wondered about production in containers. I suppose that could give us a means of keeping them, at least until we are out there full time. Thank you!!

Texas Rose said...

I bought and planted my citrus as 1 - 2 year old trees. For the first couple of years, I had to carefully protect them. Now they are older and hardier and can tolerate lower temps.
Long-distance care of young trees is more difficult but you could experiment with a couple of citrus at the farm. Mulch them well and put a skirt of fabric around them for the winter - I think this buys you several degrees. There is a "floating row cover" fabric that allows in 85% of the sunlight which you could use as a top cover - it would provide several degrees of freeze protection. You could leave it in place all winter since it lets in most of the sunlight and rain. Is there a local nursery near your farm since you can’t buy them in Houston and take them out of the county at this time?

Tammy Stewart said...

Did you get the Texas Lilac?? I want one sooo bad!!! I have a few seed pods, but I've heard that they don't grow as well in N TX as they do where you are. I saw them in Austin a few years back and have wanted that grape Kool-Aid fragrance around my house ever since. Yum!!

1st Man said...

See today's post! Yep, Texas Lilac's (and shh, don't tell 2nd Man, i'm going back tomorrow to get more, LOL). They are very pretty!!

1st Man said...

Great suggestion about that floating row cover. I will look for that. There are some nurseries out there by the farm, so I have been thinking of looking there. Of course I have so many projects I want to do, including planting the other stuff I'm already getting, maybe I'll wait until the Spring and do it then, ha. We'll see!

donna baker said...

Oh no. I have a greenhouse full of citrus and some of it from Tx. nurseries. My blood oranges from TX did have a problem this summer. The fruit on one tree is splitting open too early. Now I'm worried.