Kumquat Trees
Q.

Load of questions about kumquat/lemon trees

Zone Apex | ThePlantNoob added on December 31, 2018 | Answered

So even though I have asked questions before I still got a "potload" 😂 -Which type of pot do you reccomend for the trees? -if branches are low, suckers or not, should I cut them off to improve the trunk state? - if i want the tree to grow straight, what should i use? -how do you know when to water? -is elevating the pot for drainage good?

A.
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drtreelove
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on January 1, 2019

Further with your 'potload', on pruning of lower growth. Suckers, defined as foliar sprouts from lateral roots, root collar or from below the point of the graft on the lower stem, should be removed, by cutting cleanly just above the point of origin, not leaving a stub.

Growth that appears on the stem above the graft, is optional and depending on how you want the tree to appear and ease of maintenance and harvest.

If you want a straight single tree trunk (called "standard" form) without multiple stems, then early pruning is necessary. If you want a lower foliar canopy or a "bush" form, then leave more lower stems and scaffold branching. I recommend not stripping the trunk up too high, to where the sun can beat in on the bare tree trunk and cause sun scald of the bark and the sensitive underlying growing layer.

You can keep the trunk growing straight by selective pruning to encourage a dominant "central leader" and by moderately heading back other vigorous branches or secondary leaders that tend to dominate and overtake your selected leader. A stake is sometimes useful to help train a central leader if it doesn't voluntarily grow straight with your directional pruning. But a stake is not preferred as long as you can achieve the central leader and form you need by pruning.

Hope that helps, Don

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drtreelove
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on January 1, 2019

Potload? I take it that you mean you still have a pot load of questions. That' what we are here for, I'll do my best.

As for what type of pot to use for your citrus root-ball container; the material is not as important as the size and the drainage capability. I prefer clay pots as more "breathable" than plastic, but it's not a big deal in my opinion, and including plastic and composite materials may give you a wider selection of design for aesthetic and practical features. Avoid pots that are painted inside, as there could be some toxicity leached into the soil from lead and other heavy metals as the paint deteriorates.

Choose a pot that is a little larger than the existing one. And choose one that has multiple drainage holes if possible, especially with larger pots. One hole in the center may be okay for smaller pots, but for larger ones with more soil volume, it's better to have 3 or more holes in the bottom to facilitate good drainage. On the other hand, the bottom should not be too porous so as to drain too rapidly.

Yes, if placed on pavement, elevating the pot slightly allows for better drainage. If placed on soil a slight ly elevated position prevents contact with native soil and possible soil-borne plant diseases. For indor or patio plants, a saucer under the pot is okay, as long as you don't overwater and let the bottom of the pot sit in a pool of water. Allow the saucer to dry out between watering. This is one way that I judge amount of water and timing for next watering, by observing for water in the saucer.

Knowing when to water is perhaps the most important acquired skill of a good gardener. I use multiple indicators, physical and intuitive. This article can help get you onto the right track. A soil moisture meter is a great tool.
https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/testing-moisture-in-plants.htm

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