When to repot citrus into gritty

c00rdbMay 20, 2012

Just picked up a nice smaller meyer for only $15 from home depot. Looks like its in a peat based soil and its actively growing. The soil is in really good shape actually. Should I wait to repot or do it now since the soil is still good?


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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I don't grow citrus too much, but I have friends in Ca & TX that I help with theirs. I grew a couple of Meyer lemons as potential bonsai, didn't like their growth habit (pushing foot long, ramrod straight branches when you turn your back - overnight) for bonsai & gave them away after a few years. I always repotted in early spring - for you, prolly late Mar or early Apr. Your plant is so small, it's probably 100% dynamic, so should be able to tolerate the transition easily. I'd make sure I have the soil right, then carefully bare root it and repot it. Then, put it in the shade & out of the wind. Do your work IN a tub of water, & make SURE the fine roots don't dry out while you're working on them. That's important at this time of year. I'd also avoid pruning the roots if possible.

Alternately, if you don't think the roots are crowded, you could wait until next spring. There's nothing to stop you from potting up any time as a temporary measure and doing the repot earlier next spring. Your call - I'm pretty neutral between doing it now & waiting.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 2:19PM
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redshirtcat(6a MO StL)

In my view it's much much easier to repot into the gritty mix when the soil is still in what you're calling good shape. Once it turns to muck it tends to be more difficult to get out of the hard to reach places even if you are using a basin and swishing it and dunking it and using chopsticks and etc.

As it ages it also tends to compress around the roots so that it is much more likely that you will tear off the fine root tips while trying to clean them up.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 2:53PM
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Sure you could wait until next spring, but I don't see any advantage in doing so. I would do it now as redshirtcat suggests. Why is it we gardeners wait until a plant is stressed, to work on it? Al

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 9:51AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I don't think we have any reason to believe the plant is particularly stressed at this point (".... its actively growing. The soil is in really good shape ...."), which is why I remained pretty neutral about repotting now vs spring. While there may not be any significant advantage in waiting until spring, there's no significant disadvantage, either, which brings us around the circle to neutral again. I think that just potting up into a similar soil at this point is a viable alternative to doing the repot now. March would have been better timing, but as noted, the plant is so young it's nearly all dynamic mass, which affords it a lot of tolerance for stress.

I'm always wanting to get my trees into the gritty mix at the earliest opportune point in time. If it was my tree, I'd wait until spring, but I'm well beyond being excited about 'putting something in the gritty mix to see how it does'. I realize that sometimes that plays a part; if it does, by all means - repot it now. If not, flip a coin. ;-)


    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 2:40PM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

I try to avoid repotting my citrus in fall, before flowering, and after fruit set. Sooo that pretty much rules out anytime LOL.


    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 3:26PM
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