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Zone 8b citrus advice?

 
Posts: 220
Location: near Athens, GA
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I'm not sure yet, but I am considering moving down the mountain... all the way down to USDA Hardiness Zone 8b. It seems the recommendation for most citrus is no colder than zone 9... So, can anyone recommend some good varieties for 8b? Or, can you recommend some strategies to, as David The Good says, "push the zone".... half a zone should be that big a deal... heck, Sepp Holzer grows citrus in the Alps! Am I correct in thinking that some deep mulch and a sunny, wind protected location would probably be sufficient?
 
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Location: Chipley, FL
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Wj Carroll wrote:I'm not sure yet, but I am considering moving down the mountain... all the way down to USDA Hardiness Zone 8b. It seems the recommendation for most citrus is no colder than zone 9... So, can anyone recommend some good varieties for 8b? Or, can you recommend some strategies to, as David The Good says, "push the zone".... half a zone should be that big a deal... heck, Sepp Holzer grows citrus in the Alps! Am I correct in thinking that some deep mulch and a sunny, wind protected location would probably be sufficient?



I have been told several times by people who should know that Satsumas are a good bet.  They might have trouble with hard freezes the first few years, but after that should be fine.  I plan to put in some and protect them during the occasional freeze here.  Another is... loquats?  One of those quat jobs.  I'll probably try some of those too.

This info came from my local county extension horticulturist and two different nurseries fairly local to me.
 
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Wj Carroll
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Location: near Athens, GA
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Very cool!  I was planning on doing that in the mountains... might be too hot in 8b though.
 
pollinator
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For years when I lived near Americus, GA (which I think is a zone 8a or 8b....I remember occasional freezes in the teens) I grew a Meyer lemon and a satsuma mandarin orange up against the south wall of a cement block building.  I had the area nearly covered in big chunks of concrete scraps (urbanite) with the idea that this would absorb solar heat, and I also kept four metal stakes around the trees (they never got over five or six feet tall) and in a hard freeze I would throw a piece of plastic or cloth over these, making a tent over the trees.  As I recall I would do this on any night supposedly below about 25.  I don't know if it made that much difference, but they thrived and produced, and after I left that farm, and then visited afterward, they had obviously frozen to the ground and were resprouting....likely enough because they had gone uncovered in the intervening winters.
 
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One thing you should consider is the rootstock on which your citrus is grafted upon.  Check out citrus that is grafted onto "Flying Dragon" rootstock.  Yes, that is its name and it is a selection of Trifoliate Orange.  It is a dwarfing variety, which makes for a smaller plant and the most cold hardy citrus grown.  There are pictures of it growing in Tennessee, but as a tree in and of itself, the fruit is bitter and inedible!  As a rootstock it helps the grafted fruit variety handle the cold better.  When placing against a south facing wall or using a favorable micro-climate the smaller tree may be advantageous?  South Georgia and South Alabama are being planted with Satsuma groves and I've heard that Satsumas, like greens (collards, turnip & mustard) taste better after being kissed with a frost!  Try these nurseries for cold hardy citrus, https://www.mckenzie-farms.com, https://www.lochlaurelnursery.com and https://justfruitsandexotics.com.  Hope this helps and home grown citrus is just amazing!  
 
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