Kim’s tree friend – red grapefruit

Kim’s tree friend – red grapefruit

Grapefruit tree – Cirtus paradisi (variety: red, Star Ruby / Ruby red).

a) The average life expectancy is approximately 50 years.

b) Citrus trees usually grow little during the first year after they are planted. If they receive enough water and fertilizer, they grow substantially during the spring and summer between their second and fourth year. During this time, they may occasionally flower and yield fruit. From the fifth year onward, citrus trees enter their fruit-bearing stage. When they begin bearing fruit, they grow more slowly, especially during the winter. They reach their full size 10 to 14 years after planting. After 20 to 25 years, the trees reach their peak production and their yield of fruit declines.

c) The fruit first matures in late October and continues to grow until May. Grapefruits can be picked any time between these months.

d) The grapefruit tree usually starts giving off fruit at year 2/3 and declines around year 20/25. That roughly gives around 22 years of fruit.

e) The grapefruit tree originates from Barbados.

f) In the capital of Barbados, Bridgetown, more than 100 millimeters of rain per month fall from June to November; the wettest period runs from September to November, with around 170/180 mm of rain per month, while the driest runs from December to May, with 35/50 mm. So that’s roughly around 1000 mm of rainfall annually.

g) The latin name for the grapefruit is Citrus Paradisi, from the family Rutaceae.

h) Fun facts:

  • The grapefruit tree is a combination of the Jamaican sweet orange & the Indonesian pomelo.
  • Depending on the climate, citrus fruits may take 6 to 8 months to ripen.
  • Citrus fruits will not ripen off the tree, so refrain from picking them too early. The best indicator of ripeness is taste.
  • The leaves are green and glossy, where the flowers are white and sweetly perfumed.
  • China is the top producer of grapefruit with 3,800,00 metric ton in 2012, followed by the United States and Mexico.
  • Grapefruit is a rich source (>20% of the Daily Value) of vitamin C, contains the fiber pectin, and the pink and red hues contain the beneficial antioxidant lycopene.
  • The fruit derives its name from the fact that it often grows in grape-like clusters.

i) The grapefruit tree roughly gets around 5-6 meters high (with a width around 4m), when in the best cases it can reach up to 13-15 meters. The trunk may exceed 15 cm in diameter. The dark green leaves grow up to 15 cm in length with 5 cm four-petaled flowers. The fruit itself has a diameter of 10-15 cm. The form of the tree varies from round and open to an irregular vase.

Even though grapefruit trees are very bushy, they can on one side definitely function as a canopy for other trees, shrubs or plants. The fact that the tree is full of leaves makes it a good shade cover.

j) The following pests are known to trouble citrus: aphids, spider mites, fungal leaf spots, fruit flies, root and crown rots. Fruit flies are a real treat, that’s why (for example) you can’t take any fresh fruit or veg over the border to South Australia. They’re known to be fruit fly free and can use that as a position in the market.

Also; the trees are not particular about the condition of the soil, as long as the area drains well. The best pH range is 5.5 to 6.5.

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Kim Booij

Small scale organic marketgarden @intotherootsfarm, yoga, outdoors, photography, reading/podcasts

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