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Guest Blogger: Garden Guru Emilio “Elmo” Telles

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Welcome a new guest blogger.  Emilio “Elmo” Telles, the Garden Guru.  He has a vast knowledge of gardening and a passion for growing things like plants, flowers, trees, and shrubs. Elmo works at the Armstrong Garden Center in Glendale, where he frequently teaches free classes.  I’ve covered some of Elmo’s great gardening classes on this blog.

Last Saturday, July 9, Elmo conducted a class on “Citrus and Tropical Fruits.”  In his first guest post, Elmo  shares some of the advice he gives about caring for citrus trees.

Photo: FLLewis/ Media City G -- Garden Guru Emilio "Elmo" Telles gave some pointers on how to select the right product for the best results in a class on "Citrus and Tropical Fruits" at the Armstrong Garden Center in Glendale July 9, 2011

Photo: FLLewis/ Media City G -- Garden Guru Emilio "Elmo" Telles gave some pointers on how to select the right product for the best results in a class on "Citrus and Tropical Fruits" at the Armstrong Garden Center in Glendale July 9, 2011

Summer citrus care and maintenance

I’ve been in the garden retail business for over 20 years. I take my Golden Retriever out for a walk everyday and get questions asked by my neighbors about gardening. Lately, I’ve been quizzed about why their citrus trees are having certain problems. I’m a nice guy and willing to answer questions while my doggy (Danica) waits patiently.

The #1 problem

Lawn sprinkler watering — which doesn’t get water down to established tree roots. When you have established (older) citrus in lawns that get everyday watering — that really does nothing for the roots of an older tree.

The #2 problem

Is over watering, especially with citrus in pots. If the top of the soil is moist then you know you are watering deep enough– so don’t increase the watering.

Deep and infrequent watering is the key to solving both problems. I once had to tell my wife, Yvonne, to not water the Meyer lemon in a big pot like she does the regular bedding plants (petunias, pansies, impatiens etc.) that we have in containers.

Feeding your citrus trees

Fertilizing citrus is something for you to decide. For instance, organic type of fertilizers are great to use about every six weeks. Organics take a while to break down and get to the root of the problem (no pun intended!).

Chemical type of fertilizers (Miracle Gro and other granular citrus foods) act faster and can be applied once a month because they get “leached” down to the soil more readily.

By the way, all citrus needs at least five hours of sun a day to be the most productive. Feel free to post any specific gardening questions for me here at Media City Groove.

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Emilio "Elmo" Telles, Garden Guru at Media City Groove

Photo: FLLewis/Media City G -- Emilio "Elmo" Telles, Garden Guru at Media City Groove

Also, Emilio “Elmo” Telles is a garden expert at  Armstrong Garden Center  5816 San Fernando Road, Glendale  91202.

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5 Responses to Guest Blogger: Garden Guru Emilio “Elmo” Telles

  1. Fronnie Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    Elmo,

    When you say “deep and infrequent watering” for trees in a lawn is that like once a week? For two or three minutes maybe? What about on days when the temperature is above 90?

    Also, does this include other variety of trees — like magnolia and camphor? What about a tree that’s only 5 or 6 years old?

  2. Emilio Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    With establishe trees in the lawn, the real trick is to water the tree slowly aside from the regular lawn watering because the lawn watering will be fine when you have a newly planter tree, but after about two seasons the tree needs to star getting the more deep and infrequent watering.
    I have a magnolia tree in my lawn that gets the sprinkler watering once a week (twice for the lawn when it’s real hot), but also gets the hose draining slowly every week-and-a half.

  3. Celia Wolin Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

    How do I stop small animals such as birds, mice and rats from eating my organic vegetable garden?
    Thank you.

  4. Emilio Tuesday, August 9, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

    Celia! I’m back on The Net!
    Birds, use bird netting that will let in the sunlight but still discourage them. Also bright “flashy” ribbon will deter them. Mice and rats are a problem the past couple years because of the limited rain fall. They are thirsty pests and are getting brave along with the racoons this year.
    There is a pepper powder that is doing pretty well that will deter those varmints when applied as a border that is totally safe to use around veggies.
    Keep those questions coming.

  5. Fronnie Wednesday, August 10, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    Welcome back, Emilio!

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