Grow Equipment List:
- Soil Moisture Meter
- Gardening hose
- Nozzle with mist/wide spray setting for gardening hose
- Hose for self-watering system
- Water pumps
- Watering can
- Tree Stakes
- Tree Ties
- Tying machine for tree ties
- Potting trays
- Grow lights
- Gardening Gloves
- Kneeling Pad
- Soil Materials
- Area Rug
- Wood Chips
- Hand Truck / Dolly
Water Moisture Meter and 3 in 1 Meter
Water moisture meters oftentimes also read PH level and light intensity in a 3 in 1 meter. Light intensity on these meters is pretty worthless. It’s more of a nice marketing ploy than a practical, meaningful number worth putting weight into. All it is a photoresistor or set of photoresistors which are cheap. The value will be change throughout the day.
A single passing cloud in the sky will decrease intensity and seconds later the number will go right back up. You may have more shade in the evening than in the morning. Reading the value in the evening would give you a skewed idea of how much light your trees are getting. Long story short, you would be wise to ignore/never use the light intensity feature on the meter. If your trees are getting 8 hours of light or more a day that’s all that matters.
The PH level indicator is really nice. The ideal PH range is 6.5-7.5, right smack dab on the scale. I often find that more strongly acidic readings( say it’s 5.5) just need more fertilizer added if leaves are yellow or looking a little sickly.
Again, each species has a little different ideal PH level, so always use that as your basis.
If the PH level is above 7.5, you’ll want to lower it. I like mixing some soil acidifier in water and apply it during your next watering cycle. Always best to be a little conservative in your amount if soil acidifier if you’re unsure. You can add later. If you add too much you’ll have to add more nutrients to get in back into the right range. Quick and frequent changes in environmental factors such as temperature, soil composition, and light will make your trees unhappy. They may adapt but citrus trees prefer gradual changes than rapid extreme ones.
The dual combo of water moisture and PH level will make you feel confident in the right course of action for a less than a healthy tree.
My water pumps came as part of a self-watering kit.
Chances are you probably already have one hooked up. Make sure you have a nozzle with a low-flow showering type of setting. You don’t want water coming out like a jet. You’ll be displacing dirt all over the place and potentially harm your tree. Personally, I like filling up my watering can instead of directing using the hose
Most nozzles work fine. Make sure there is a lower flow setting that won’t tear up the soil while watering.
A watering can allow you to control how water you are adding to your container. Along those lines, you can add nutrients or plant food proportionally to the volume of water. You also have my freedom to move around compared to using a hose with a showering nozzle. This is my preferred method of adding water during the dry periods of the summer.
Tree stakes are usually sold increments of feet. 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 feet tree stakes are commonly available. Consider getting a slightly longer tree stake than you’ll need. Especially if your tree is young, it can outgrow the tree stake pretty quickly. It’s not a big deal if you need to buy taller ones later on. They are all very affordable; it’s just more work. What I like to do is use 4 or 6 feet tree stakes and as the tree growing add more trees higher up. I’ve found this is the least amount of effort to arrive at the same result.
If you like me, I get so darn frustrated putting on tree ties. I don’t have steady hands or much patience which is not a good a good combo when it comes to tree ties. A typing machine is a very, very nice addition. I own a Max Tapender and it’s fast, easy, and generally works consistently well if install the tape properly. It’s a two-click process. The first click brings up the tape in the machine. Then you wrap the machine around the tree trunk just enough to close the jaws and the second click will staple the tape and cut the extra tape. It’s that simple. You may need to pull up on the tape so the machine can reach the tape on the next first click.
Most commonly tree ties are made out of plastic and stapled around a tree stake and the trunk of the tree. There are also Velcro tree ties that don’t require stapling and can possibly be used later. Very cheap. A little over 3 bucks will get you 300 feet of the standard plastic tree ties. If there are different variations of quality(light, medium, heavy duty) don’t cheap out to save a couple of dimes. It’s not worth it. Go for the heavy-duty tape.
Potting Trays & Saucers
The Potting trays obviously need to be large enough to put your pots into. At the time of purchase, my young citrus trees come in 3-5 gallon pots. The next pot size I’ll put them into is likely 10 gallons. Therefore, I purchase potting trays capable of holding 10-gallon pots. Even though they seem a little large, I’ll save money long-term because I won’t have an extra set of potting trays for 3-5 gallon containers. Check out my repotting page for appropriate pot sizes.
Fertilizer, Nutrients, and Micro-nutrients
There’s a lot different plant foods and substitutes you can use. There’s so much information on this topic that it’s been separated out on its own page.
I own a Felco pruners. Buy a Felco 7 for normal to large sized hands or a Felco 6 for smaller hands.
If you have an older tree where the diameter of the branches you want to prune are too large for your hand pruners, you’ll want a lopper.
Wood Chips or Mulch
Sometimes it’ll a good idea to put your trees on a rug. I use a couple of area rugs to keep my floors clean and to add a layer of insulation from the cold hardwood floors while housed indoors. Even a thing rug will help you out. Compared to a tree lying on the hardwood floor, the bottom of my containers is warmer. This means the soil at the bottom of my pots will be warmer; consequently, increasing the rate of transpiration. More transpiration means the soil will dry out quickly(albeit probably much quicker) and decrease the likelihood of root-related issues from occurring.
The most important criterion is to avoid wetting agents in your potting soil. Citrus trees perform well in a wide range of soil compositions so there are not very strict rules on how it must be.
Plenty of fine options out there. I’ve chosen Miracle Grow Natural and Organic potting soil, it was on sale when I happened to be shopping for it. Usually, it’s around 10 dollars per bag, but it was half off at home depot in early May.
I own two sprayers: a one gallon Chapin and 4-gallon backpack Chapin. Unless your trees are planted outdoors and have grown big or you have as many citrus trees as I do, the 4-gallon sprayer is highly unnecessary. It was a splurge, but in August when it gets really hot, this four-gallon sprayer is nice-to-have for simply spraying water on the leaves and outside of the containers to cool them down. It’ll serve as a useful tool in future years when the 1-gallon sprayer isn’t sufficient for spraying all my trees. Right now, when I apply neem oil or horticultural oil with the one gallon Chapin, I can accomplish that with 26 trees with room to spare.
Hand Truck / Dolly
For transporting trees to different locations around the property. If outside, you’ll move your trees around for sunlight, rainfall, and pollination purposes. An especially useful piece of equipment for moving trees indoors in the Fall and outdoors in the Spring.