Ancient grapefruit tree hates the sun
I have been entrusted with the care of a 75+ year old (nobody really knows) grapefruit tree (long story). I bring it into the house every winter, and TRY to place it in the sun after the last frost - treating my wounds every time - it's 8 feet tall and NASTY. Every 10 years or so, I replant it in a new whiskey barrel or plastic 55-gallon drum half. Every time I try to put this thing in the sun, it loses almost every leaf and the branches get "rusty." So, I move it into the dappled shade under the oak trees, and it's happy. I don't expect fruit, but is this healthy? Also, one of the main branches was rotting, so I cut it off at the trunk about a year ago. Is there something I should do to protect that stub? Thanks, John
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
You are an amazing caretaker!
I don't think your tree hates the sun, it probably just needs to be more slowly acclimated to the bright outdoor sunshine. No matter how sunny of an indoor location, the outdoor sunshine would be much more intense. Your tree lost leafs as it became stressed.
Now the size of this plant I'm sure is not easy to move around. Maybe a shade cloth of some kind would work when you first put it outdoors.
Burlap is always a great sun filter and very inexpensive.
I would not fuss with the cut off branch, allow it to heal in the air.
Best of luck!
I have listed a great link for you to read.
Well, we moved it to a shaded patio anyway. It was a sure thing that I would forget to water it way out where it was, and it's going to look nice down under the tall oak trees. Bit more of a hassle to get it there (ouch, ouch!), but I know it will get watered. Next decision will be whether to bring it inside in the winter or leave it on the covered porch. It rarely gets below 20 here. Maybe with a light bulb on it at night.
As long as it survives till 2035 (100 years or so), I'm happy. LOL