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Cold Hardy Citrus

SATSUMA ORANGE TREES

Satsumas are sweet, juicy mandarin oranges that are easy to peel and are virtually seed-free. The traditional season for this cold hardy citrus is mid to late October through February. Satsuma trees are small, reaching a height of 4 to 6 feet and are cold tolerant to about 26 degrees F. Satsuma trees will grow in the landscape or in containers. First introduced from Japan in 1878, Satsumas produce fragrant white blossoms in March and April, with the fruit turning bright orange as it ripens in late October. So, celebrate the New Year by peeling open a nice, ripe satsuma! Once you start snacking you won’t be able to stop.

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Squeeze this one inside and out

MEYER LEMON

Who wouldn’t like an endless supply of sunshine, especially this time of year? Well, what if we told you that we knew where you could find a splash of sunshine all year round…that’s easy - the Meyer lemon!

A cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange, the Meyer lemon has a smooth golden, edible skin, and a high volume of juice but none of the bitterness of a regular lemon. These evergreen beauties have lush, vivid green foliage and fragrant blooms. The striking fruit and glossy foliage are perfect both indoors and out. In containers, tuck these gems around your house during the winter months and enjoy their beautiful foliage and sweet smelling scent. Once the warmer weather arrives, move them outside and enjoy them all summer long. Most citrus trees are hardy to 38°F, but we recommend keeping them indoors during the cooler months and moving them outside once the mercury begins to rise in late spring.

Meyer lemons were once known only for their looks, but now they are a culinary must-have. Its aromatic, slightly sweet quality enhances desserts, sauces, salads and roasts. Squeeze a little Meyer lemon on fish, poultry, vegetables and fruit desserts as a low calorie seasoning. Its juice also helps to reduce browning on cut avocados and apples, and vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower and turnips will remain white when cooked in water with a little lemon juice added. So, be sure to use a Meyer whenever you want a burst of lemon flavor without the acidic bite. So, pucker up and add little burst of sunshine to your home this winter.

Pruning Fruit Trees 101

February through March is the perfect time to prune fruiting trees & plants. It's important you prune during these months. Don't know where to start? Don't worry - it is not as hard as you might think, and it's worth every minute. Following basic fruit tree pruning instructions will ensure your trees enjoy good health, disease management, and more delicious fruit. Pruning will also stimulate shoot growth, control tree size and shape, and improve the quality of fruit.

Beyond these basic tips, each tree or shrub has its unique pruning needs, so be sure to follow the specific fruit tree pruning instructions for different types of fruit trees. For example, apple trees require a different pruning system than plum trees. However, follow these basic fruit tree pruning instructions and you’ll get you off to a good start.

  1. Always use sharp shears or saws to ensure clean cuts. Use pruning shears on young trees and limbs less than 1/2 inch diameter, and lopping shears for your larger cuts. Use a pruning saw for mature fruit trees.
  2. Start by removing dead wood and broken branches. Cut out any wood that crosses or rubs against any other branches. This opens up the middle so the sun can reach all the fruit.
  3. Make cuts close to a bud, joint in the branch, or to the trunk and never leave a stub. Pruning cuts should be made just above a bud and at a backwards angle of about 30 degrees.
  4. Prune stems just above a pair of opposing strong shoots or buds. If shoots or buds are staggered, find a strong one and prune just above it.
  5. Prune more vertical branches and keep more horizontal branches.
  6. Remove any debris which can harbor pests and disease.

Pruning fruit trees is a skill that is can be easily learned. Just start now and come summer, you will enjoy the fruits of your labor! If you have any specific questions, please see any of our Trees & Shrubs Experts at our three year-round locations.

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