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Sun By Appointment Tips on Taking Care of Owari Satsuma Trees
Cold Weather Care
Plant satsumas on the southeast or south side of your house to protect it from the weather. If it has become acclimated to cold weather, a mature Owari satsuma can tolerate temperatures as low as 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Protect a young tree from frost by insulating its trunk with cardboard or plant material like palm fronds and keeping the soil underneath the tree moist and bare. To help mitigate the effects of a severe frost, Pamela M. Geisel and Carolyn L. Unruh of the University of California Cooperative Extension recommend placing a 100-watt outdoor lamp or strings of small holiday lights in the tree.
Owari satsumas are typically grafted onto trifoliate orange (Poncirus trifoliate) seedlings. Trifoliate orange stock does not have deep or wide-ranging roots and grows well in clay to loamy soils. A loamy soil has roughly an equal amount of clay, silt and sand. Trifoliate orange resists soil-borne root rot, so it is a good choice for soil that has poor drainage. You can buy stock that resists the citrus nematode.
Preparing a Transplant
Texas A&M; University recommends buying your tree from a nursery. Look for a tree with a trunk diameter of about 1/2 inch in a 5-gallon or smaller container. Prior to planting, gently hose off an inch of the planting medium from around the root ball to expose the outer roots.
To ensure proper drainage, avoid low-lying areas of your yard. Set the tree in a hole that is about as deep and at least as wide as the root ball and fill it halfway with soil; then water it to settle the soil around the bottom roots. To prevent the root ball from drying out, make sure it is covered with at least 1 inch of soil at ground level. Do not remove soil from around the plant to form a basin to collect water, because that will subject it to root rot and possible death before it is 5 years old. Instead, build a temporary watering ring around the plant several inches wide and high and about 2 feet across. Fill the ring with water after you plant the Owari satsuma. As the water soaks in, add soil to any areas that have sunk in around the roots. Water every few days for two weeks, then every seven to 10 days for the next two months. Keep the interior of the ring free of weeds and grass. When the watering ring has melted into the soil, the tree is established.
Do not fertilize until the young transplant begins growing. During the first year, add 1 cup of ammonium sulfate divided into four applications, or about 1/4 cup every three months. Scatter the fertilizer around the tree and water well. Use 2 cups in the second year and 3 cups in the third year.
You should not have to prune a satsuma except to remove limbs damaged by cold, as it develops its shape naturally. Satsumas yield large amounts of fruit, meaning you have to be prepared to support their limbs during seasons when they produce heavily.
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