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Trifoliate Orange as a hedge?

 
Posts: 12
Location: Southwestern Pennsylvania
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Hello,

I'v been looking into growing some hedges as fences and some for privacy. A friend mentioned Trifoliate Orange or "Flying Dragon". What is it exactly? And what can it be used for? Will it take over open fields or yards? Sorry for all the questions, i'm just curious. Thank you!
 
pollinator
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i havent grown it but i have read about it. and thought about growing it...

it is extremely hardy kind of orange/ citrus, and can grow in cold climates. people say that the fruit isnt edible, or rather that it isnt pleasant tasting, but i tend to wonder about that because i have a wider sense of whats edible than most !??!

perhaps it just has an unusual and bitter taste, it may be able to made into something good by processing? thats what i think.

its also used as root stock for other oranges, because it is so hardy.
so people graft a sweet cultivated orange variety onto flying dragon rootstock, to grow citrus in colder regions.

here's some info

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs221

i have also been wanting to plant some of these and see what they are like.

but maybe i would rather just try experimentally some satsumas, or other kind of cold hardy citrus instead.
 
pollinator
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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I have flying dragon growing in boston, ma.
It is in the citrus family originating in asian. It is used as a spice there.
In fact I have bought adobe seasoning salt with "bitter orange".
I have also heard of it being used to make jam.

The one I have seems to grow really slowly.
But it would make an effective hedge plant.

 
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I grew trifoliate orange for awhile and then cut it all back out. Mine grew fairly fast ...above head hieght in two years and big long thorns all of the way to the ground...probably both good reasons to grow it as a hedge. I just thought it looked dangerous with young kids running around. My friend grows them and makes a wonderful marmalade with the fruit. They propagate easily from seed here but are not that hard to cut back to control spread. If it wasnt for the thorns I probably would have kept them. They are a beautiful green color...branches and all with a lemon size and color fruit.
 
pollinator
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Trifoliate is a traditional hedge plant, at least in the South. I think it might be kind of overkill if mere privacy is your goal. One old book I recall boasted that a good trifoliate hedge would even keep a bull in!
 
Elizabeth Bowers
Posts: 12
Location: Southwestern Pennsylvania
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Really that is cool. I was thinking about using it to keep the livestock out of my yard. They've been a nightmare this year even when using electric fencing. And lately we've been having a bear nusence problem, and it has me greatly concerned, so if it will keep a bull in hopefully it will keep a bear out.
I will continue reading up more about it. Thank you!
 
gardener & author
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I've seen a great big one here in Florida. Mean as heck, and the fruit are sour/bitter to an amazing degree. I have a baby in my front yard from where I transplanted an orange. Apparently, a bit of rootstock was left behind - and up came a little trifoliate orange. They really are pretty trees.

Another hedge plant you might consider: osage orange. Not related, and you won't get edible fruit, but they're great tough trees with lovely wood.
 
Elizabeth Bowers
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Location: Southwestern Pennsylvania
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David Goodman, I heard that Osage Orange has a nasty way of taking over fields and open spaces. And can be a nightmare to get rid of. I was considering it for a while, and it's still an option.

Thank you!
 
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Hardy orange makes a magnificent hedge and will keep out bears and just about anything else. My sister calls hers the hedge of death. Black Dragon is a variety that has thorns that are even MORE fierce than the regular species - three inches of curved sharpness. These plants are super easy to propogate, just plant the "oranges" and wait. That seems to work better than planting individual seeds. They will germinate into a clump of little seedlings. Just separate and plant them out. They do very well crowded together to make an impermiable hedge and can be pruned with no problem. Do be careful where you put the prunings though - the thorns can go through a shoe. I like to pile them into a sort of mulch pile around my chicken pens to provide bears with a little treat if they decide to approach it. Also works for dogs, mine has learned to avoid that part of the yard. Once they get large they do not transplant very well so put the little seedlings where you want your hedge to be. Mulch well and enjoy. The flowers in the spring are wonderful and the birds love nesting inside the larger plants because it has great support for nests and no mammals can get into them. I have them pop up here and there because I forgot I had planted them -- always a fun surprise.
 
pollinator
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Interesting.
Here is a good link with information on the hybrids.

http://users.kymp.net/citruspages/trifoliates.html
 
pollinator
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Anyone got any seeds they would be willing to send me in return for ? ...........
I live in France and love marmalade but the bitter sevile oranges used traditionally to make English and scottish marmalade will not grow here

David
 
gardener
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Osage orange makes an incredible thorny hedge that animals won't attempt to go through. I know at Monticello, Jefferson used it, Washington did as well at Mt. Vernon. Apparently very easy (with thick gloves) to bend the canes over & stick a rock on it and let it root. I have not heard of it taking over a field, but then again I have visited both places and the memoirs about their farms were written by these 2 owners who clearly weren't doing the hands on farming.
 
Posts: 245
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David Livingston wrote:Anyone got any seeds they would be willing to send me in return for ? ...........
I live in France and love marmalade but the bitter sevile oranges used traditionally to make English and scottish marmalade will not grow here

David



Hi David,

Chiltern Seeds sell bitter orange seeds here in the UK - £4 for 16 seeds plus £3 delivery to mainland Europe. Might buy some myself now I've found them for sale! Been meaning to for a while now.
 
Posts: 556
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
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'flying dragon'is an ornamental contorted variety of trifoliate orange(un related to osage orange).The seeds of trifoliate orange are available through JL Hudson and seedlings are far more vigorous than the variety.They have done well for me here in the Pacific NW albeit no fruit has ever appeared.I get 80inches of rain but they are protected under the eves.They would make excelent fencing once established.Barberries work for this as well.
 
Elizabeth Bowers
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Location: Southwestern Pennsylvania
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Thank you everyone!! Sorry i haven't been on much to reply, i'v been busy researching heirloom plants, and purple vegetables.
Wow, i'm really starting to like Trifoliate Orange.
WOW Marsha, you know so much about it, where are you located at? I'm beginning to see a lot more possibilities with it than i thought. Great idea for around your chicken coop, we've been having predator problems with ours lately.
Miles, i'll be sure to check into the link you shared.
This is great honestly, i'm beginning to feel much better about a nice natural living fence. And yes bears are a big problem where i live, lately they have been coming right up to my father in laws house!
Thank you so much everyone!
 
gardener
Posts: 898
Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 7A
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Trifoliate orange plants are one of my favorites.

I grew some about 4 years ago from seed I got on the internet, then I found a grown, fruiting tree in the middle of the town where I live.

I've tasted a few of the fruit from time to time when they ripen in the late fall. They continue to taste pretty nasty each time.



Right now I have about twenty or more of these on my property, all four years old or less.

I am trying to grow a hedge of them in the middle of the yard.

I also have some citrangequat plants, which are part trifoliate orange. (but supposedly much better tasting fruit.)

 
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Hi. I've been growing hardy citrus trees for years. I have 2 big ones in front of my 2 front windows as a security measure. They're about 6' tall. I have a bunch of babies growing in pots as well. They're a great hedge tree for sure. Very pretty and unusual trees. Osage orange trees are great also. I have a couple babies growing in pots. If you're looking for hedge trees for use as a deterrent i do have other suggestions for you. Honey locust trees are full of thorns and have edible uses. Also black locust. ..it has edible flowers. And something that won't get as big as the trees but is a great deterrent is prickly pears. Lot's of eddible uses. And so easy to make new plants. Just break off a pad and stick it in the ground. ..
 
gardener
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I have grown Trifoliate orange for years. In CHina, it is considered more medicinal than other citrus. Anti-inflammatory, I think.  I am using the juice in a kind of homemade worcestershire sauce that I'm making, because the traditional worcestershire sauce only had good healthy ingredients in it. Now in the stores, the ones I see are about 50% damaging ingredients. So I make my own.  Any strong flavored healthy fruit, veg, or herb is good for it.

I have read that you can graft a fruit onto osage orange. I believe it is the fruit called "Che", not after Ernesto Guevara, MD, of course.  Latin name something like Cuspideria, maybe? Then you could use the low part as a hedge and the top part to grow your fruit.

John S
PDX OR
 
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I worked in Richland county with a man from Sumter county, who found a "wild Lemon tree" in the woods while hunting. I had him get some of the seedling for me. I planted them in Kershaw county on my land.
These are the Trifoliate Orange, it took a few year to find the name, but I now know it is a orange not a lemon.
I think it would make a very good hedge & stop most animals, because as you push though the hedge, the 1"-2" thorns turn inward into the body of anything moving into the hedge.
I have not started a hedge, but the way society has degraded in the last few years, thorny hedge around your home could be a good thing.
Also the smell of orange blooms & orange blooms oil, orange bitters & sour marmalade would be a walk in the back yard.
 
Cris Bessette
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Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 7A
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my Trifoliate Orange hedge is averaging between 4-6 feet tall and total length is about 30 feet.  I can tell that within a few more years nothing will be able to get through it.


I have about 5 large mature trees that are covered with fruit right now.  

I'm still working on finding things to do with the fruit.  I've made jelly a number of times,
but it is an acquired taste (a bit of a resinous bite to it),  and cleaning up pans, spoons etc practically takes acetone to get that resin off.   I've thought of grinding the
fruit up and making incense or something like that.  
 
Joe Grand
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Cris Bessette,
Do you have a problem with the seedlings take over, I have heard that it is invasive plant,  but I have had it for several years & it has not spread at all.
I was wondering if anyone else had a problem?
Can you share a recipe with us, thank you.
 
gardener
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A few data points on invasiveness, from Central Oklahoma.  (Every question of invasiveness is local; even mint dies out here if it doesn't get watered during droughts.)  

I know of three Trifoliate Orange trees in my region.  One is in a traffic island in a park a few counties away.  Area around it is mowed.  It's a very old tree that has not spread, but mowing/maintenance in the vicinity could account for that.

Another tree (now gone) was in an abandoned pasture on some property that was for sale, that I was exploring with permission of the realtor.  It was surrounded by "prairie" after two or three years of no grazing or mowing, but it hadn't started any seedlings.  The people who ultimately bought the property removed the tree when they restored the pasture.

Third tree is large and growing in the fenceline of a neighbor-ish person about two miles from here.  They are the kind of people with SIX (!) different signs on their gate with different shouty warnings to keep the fuck out of their property, so I haven't examined their Trifoliate Orange closely.  But it's only about eight feet from the road.  Their fenceline is turning into a hedgerow; they don't maintain it.  The Trifoliate Orange is very tall (15' or so?) and thick and currently covered in fruit, as it has been every year since I discovered it; but there are no seedlings or saplings near it that are visible from the road.  (I think they would be, if sizable.)  

I have struggled to get Trifoliate Orange trees started from seed here.  The new seedlings are very frost-sensitive in their early years.  I finally succeeded this winter past in keeping two in-the-ground young trees alive after growing them in buckets for two years, including one full winter indoors.  So my theory is that anywhere that gets hard freezes (it gets down to 8-12F pretty much every winter here, though usually not often or for long) limits the spread of these trees, even if they survive nicely quite a lot further north as adult trees.
 
Cris Bessette
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Joe Grand wrote:Cris Bessette,
Do you have a problem with the seedlings take over, I have heard that it is invasive plant,  but I have had it for several years & it has not spread at all.
I was wondering if anyone else had a problem?
Can you share a recipe with us, thank you.




So far I haven't had a problem, but I mow and cut around the trees.  They will come up anywhere the fruit falls though, and I've had them roll down hill and start a plant
at the bottom.  They definitely could be invasive if you don't stay on top of maintenance. With one tree, that's not going to be a problem, I have something like 40 of them
so it's a bit more work.

With my hedge of them I plan to rake the fruit up under the hedge when these start fruiting.  

As for a recipe, the easiest way I've found to make jelly is to cut each fruit in half, and fill up a small pot part way, fill the rest with water and put on a slow boil for a while.
This leaches all the juice out and kills the seeds simultaneously.  Whatever juice I get, I use a standard citrus jelly recipe from then on.

Make sure the knife and pot you use isn't terribly important to you unless you have some acetone or some other suitable solvent to clean the sticky resin off.

As for the taste, trifoliate orange jelly tastes like a mix of lemon and gin.
 
Dan Boone
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Cris Bessette wrote:
As for the taste, trifoliate orange jelly tastes like a mix of lemon and gin.



There used to be a drink called "Bitter Lemon" that Schweppes would sell (no longer, not in the USA at least).  It was basically tonic water (sparking, sweetened and very lightly quinine-embittered) with lemon juice. I was pretty fond of it.

I have this idea that when my trees start making fruit, I may brew up a syrup of Trifoliate Orange and Chinchona bark, to use as a mixer with sparkling water and/or gin.  I think it would be good.
 
Joe Grand
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I have a tree in the edge of my blueberry row & I have to walk around it to get to all the blueberries growing next to it & have found no seedlings.
No young plants, wonder why my sandy loam pH 0.5 soil does not grow them, the two trees seem happy & full of blooms, maybe they are still young.
I would like a hedge on the two lane road adjacent my land.
gift
 
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