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Planting a fruit tree

Mark Asked

I have an etrog tree that I propagated from a seed several years ago. It’s in a pot. It’s getting too big to bring indoors for the winter. Will it survive here in KY if I plant it in the ground (in early Fall)?

The Gardener’s Answer

Hi, Mark:  It sounds like you have put a lot of care and effort into propagating and growing your etrog tree. This citrus is native to the Mediterranean region and is sensitive to frost. Container grown citrus is the way to go for Kentucky gardeners. Bring your plant indoors before any chance of frost in the fall and can go back out in the spring after the last chance of frost in the spring. It is a good idea to acclimate your tree before you bring it in or take it out. Adjusting to new growing conditions can be stressful, but slowly acclimating plants into lower or brighter light will reduce stress. Provide as much light indoors as possible. A south-facing window is ideal. Whatever process you have been doing is working well. Before you bring your citrus in this fall, you can cut it back to a manageable size. Use a sharp pair of pruners and cut just above the leaf node at a 45-degree angle. Container grown plants are restricted by their growing conditions and will not reach the same mature size as those grown in the ground. This will help keep your tree smaller, but you may need to cut it back each fall depending on how much growth it puts on during the growing season. Be careful of the sharp thorns while pruning and moving your citrus.

Angie Oakley

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