2021 Meyer lemons, mandarins, valencias harvest!

It’s been a pretty good citrus harvesting season in the backyard, thanks to the Rachio Controller! We harvested 42 Meyer Lemons, 158 mandarins so far (juicing is the way go), and there’s about 6 Valencia oranges ready to harvest. It couldn’t be easier to water these trees with Rachio; I love its flexibility. This last year I tried daily watering over the summer, using pre-designed schedules that increases water duration as crop evapotranspiration coefficients change. That method was met with mixed results (my fault, not Rachio, it just did what I told it to!), with undersized mandarins, and I intend to go back to Flex Daily. Although on the good side, that shallow watering method did a good job at reducing heat stress for the younger, less established trees. I’ll be going back to Flex Daily for that deep watering and better response to extreme heat but will also add supplemental watering for those particularly hot times when ET completely removes ground moisture in less than a day.

Our nectarine is blooming, our apricot is about to bloom, the “bacon” avocado is developing its flowers, our pineapple guavas love life and have rapidly grown to be a great screen in the sideyard, and the new cherry tree planted this year (thanks to Stark Bros for their great, well pruned trees) is about to wake up (previous one got girdled by bark beetles, ugh).

Citrus “grove” - big tree to left is the mandarin, one on right is the Valencia, and the middle tiny tree with a tiny rock ring is the Meyer lemon (behind it is a ceanothus, a California native plant).

Sliced mandarins for juicing – pretty seedy, so juicing is the way to go!

Our nectarine planted in winter of 2019/2020 is blooming for the first time:

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I really need to spend some time on my fruit trees and give them some love. They all can get flood irrigation every 2 weeks when I can swing it with my schedule, but I supplement with drip when I can’t make it work. The drip that was installed is SEVERELY undersized (GPH) and inconsistent (based on watering need of each tree).

Plus, whoever owned my house prior put up a ton of ornamental oranges that blooms like crazy, fruit like crazy, and I’m left with a mess of useless fruit. The create a great privacy cover, but there are 10 of them, and I’m left with a Eureka Lemon, a White Grapefruit, a pomegranate, and two types of oranges that never really turn out that great.

Yeah I’ll bet they could use a good pruning, compost mulch with fertilizer along with regular watering with right sized irrigation. I feel like I do the minimum, mess something up at some point, and get lucky with delicious fruit. Good luck!