Hardy citrus fruit is barely edible

The fruit of hardy citrus, aka trifoliate orange, is attractive, but the taste is abominable. (Walter Reeves for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Caption
The fruit of hardy citrus, aka trifoliate orange, is attractive, but the taste is abominable. (Walter Reeves for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Walter Reeves

Credit: Walter Reeves

Q: I have a hardy trifoliate citrus tree in my backyard that is loaded with fruit. Do you have any information on how to use this fruit? Eddie Dillard, email

A: I have the same plant, Poncirus trifoliata. I dared a neighbor to taste it and he double-dared me back. My description of the taste is “rotten lemon with an aftertaste of old grapefruit.” The juice is sticky and I had to scrub my lips with a cloth. That said, if you want to try to make something from your overabundance, the Philadelphia Orchard Project, phillyorchards.org, has online recipes for lemonade and marmalade. The thought of tasting either one makes me gag, but you are welcome to try them with the promise you’ll report the results.

Q: I have two purple foxgloves. How do I overwinter them in their pots? They can’t go inside the house as we have pets. Kyrah Malan, email

A: The easiest way is to sink each pot in a hole of appropriate width that is a few inches deeper than the pot. Place gravel or a brick in the bottom to raise the pot off the soil. This will prevent the roots being in standing water if we get lots of rain. Hardy plants do much better outdoors in winter rather than in front of a sunny window or in your basement.

Q: I have been told that to get rid of Dallis grass in a Bermuda lawn, I can spray with glyphosate once the Bermuda is dormant but while the Dallis grass is still growing. When would be the best time to spray it? Mark Mendez, email

A: Bermuda rarely goes dormant enough to spray herbicide on the weed without harming your lawn grass. My recommendation is to make a spray shield and use it to spray the Dallis grass whenever it is green. Make a spray shield by cutting the bottom out of a 2-liter drink bottle and taping the nozzle of your sprayer inside the neck. If you use this in April when Bermuda is beginning to grow rapidly, you’ll have lots of yellow dots in your lawn, but the Bermuda will quickly grow into them. This process can be repeated a couple of more times in summer before your Bermuda slows down in August. Be sure to manage your lawn optimally: fertilizer, water, mowing height, etc.

Q: What is your opinion about whether to blow leaves off a lawn or not? Jennifer Brown, Avondale Estates

A: As long as they don’t leave your property, you can do as you like. You can shred the leaves on your lawn with your mower or you can rake them up and put them into a compost pile. Don’t allow the leaves to pile up and smother the grass, of course.

Email Walter at georgiagardener@yahoo.com. Listen to his gardening comments at 6:35 a.m. on “Green and Growing with Ashley Frasca” Saturday mornings on 95.5 WSB. Visit his website, www.walterreeves.com, or join his Facebook Page at bit.ly/georgiagardener, for his latest tips.