The Drama Queen Citrus! And a few citrus questions

Most of the fruit trees in my yard have been pretty low maintenance but for my drama queen - Dwarf Washington Naval. Purchased as a 3 year old potted tree that I planted in spring 2016. Produced only 1 fruit so far. It has been growing great - especially since I started feeding it compost but very fuzzy about everything. I have 2 questions

  • Has it forgotten to make fruits? It has not produced a single flower. Its just putting out new leaves and standing there looking pretty! I have stopped watering, ensured no nitrogen fertilizers, etc but to no use. How do I tell this tree it needs to start putting out some flowers (all the other citrus trees have started pushing out tons flower buds).

  • Every time I spray (organic neem/dormant oil sparingly as needed ) it gets upset and drops all leaves! The Lemon nearby seems OK with the spraying. I follow all directions meticulously.

Any pointers?

I would also like to add some peel and eat sweet citrus to my garden - mandarins, tangerines… Goal is fresh eating - no juicing, canning etc. More sugars the better but also more flavor and a little acid will be nice.

  • Varieties I am looking into - Kishu, Page, Cuties(Tango, Algerian Clementine), Gold nugget. I love cuties for fresh eating, especially when the Tangos come in, in Jan/Feb. I have tried gold nuggets and gave away a tree only because its just bland/sweet and not a hint of acid to balance it. Its possible I’ve just tasted bad ones… Multiple varieties for harvest from Nov to May will be great. Don’t care for citrus from June to Oct - given all the other stone fruit options at this time. Any recommendations?

  • This is going to be planted right next to the house - Is semi dwarf root stock safe next to building or should I only do dwarf?

Picture of the tree from 2016, 2017 & today attached.
Thank you!

naval orange 2016naval orange 2017

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It’s doing well. Feed it Nitrogen.

I have a mature Washington navel, and it really hasn’t started to load up on buds yet. And my tree will have 100’s once it gets going. Wait another month.

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Thanks Richard and Calron!

Richard - Recent soil tests came back high in nitrogen, so I’ll wait a bit to see if it’ll flower soon.

Calron - Hope it blooms soon, this tree is teaching me patience! Do let me know once yours starts flowering.

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Let’s see those soil tests. If you have them in PDF then just drag the file icon into your reply.

Here you go -

Test Results also in another thread, I’ll try to find the link and add it here.

It’s overloaded with phosphorus compounds which are binding other nutrients. Avoid adding any significant amount of phosphorus for a year … and have a soil analysis before adding.

Give it a foliar spray with something high in Nitrogen and minimal in other major nutrients. For an organic source choose Alaska Fish Fertilizer 5-1-1 (not Neptune 2-3-1), or for an inorganic fertilizer check out water-soluble lawn fertilizers that are about 21-1-1.

Which ever you choose, make sure there are directions for foliar spray and follow them.

As far as “peel and eat” citrus guidance, I would recommend Owari Satsuma. You will want to consider ripening period for your choices and in Watsonville which is not far from you, the Satsumas ripen in Dec. and January. The Kishu are Jan./Feb. and are easy peel but very small and don’t get as sweet as they do farther south. Page is ripe in February and delicious but not easy to peel. Gold Nugget is ripe in April. Tango is very good but not ready until late May/June. We don’t grow Cutie or Algerian, but I know the latter are ripe now.

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I love your recommendations! My relative Howard Frost bred both the Owari and Gold Nugget!!

zeamaizing - Very useful, Thank you so much!!!

Richard - Thank you! I’ll try the Alaska Fish Fertilizer 5-1-1 foliar spray.

Thats cool!!!

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My experience is tango is quite a bit before gold nugget. Gold nugget is the last to ripen, delicious and very cold hardy down to about 26 without protection. Tango is starting to ripen in mid feb and gold nugget mid March at the earliest. This is similar to the ripening chart in four winds website, which I recommend looking at.

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In your climate. But in mine I’ll start harvesting Gold Nugget in a week.

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Thank you Pointers! This was useful!

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Will this work or stick to AFF?

This is a poor choice for Citrus.

Thanks will stick to Alaska then!

Just an fyi, looks like my Washington Navel has started to flower.


Lovely Calron! Thanks!

I am seeing some new growth but mine looks like tiny leaves instead of flowers… Keeping my fingers crossed for some flowers too.

The Alaska fish thingy has arrived. I’ll have to spray it when no one is home & pretend I have no idea what the smell is :wink:

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Given the dilution rate, I doubt you’ll smell it.

Yay, looks like I am getting blooms too!!! Finally :slight_smile:


I went ahead and sprayed Alaska as well this morning- From a distance the smell is not so bad but when I get close it makes me want to throw up!