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Posted - 2006 May 07 :  6:55:09 PM  Show Profile  Visit jjqgenesis's Homepage
Can anyone direct me to a source of information for making citrus trees (orange and lemon)?
We are approaching the time to begin scenery on the layout we are building at Corona Model Railroad Society group and our budget doesn't allow for the purchasing of ready made or kit trees.
Any help will be appreciated.
John Quinn

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The Lark

Posted - 2006 May 07 :  10:41:28 PM  Show Profile
John, Bob Smaus did two articles for Model Railroader's special, "Modeling Railroads of the 1950s." It was published last summer, and should still be available. One article was on moving citrus to market, the other describes in detail how to make citrus trees from cut down styrofoam balls. Bob Smaus is an excellent modeler with an interest in 1950s Los Angeles.

Berry in Gilroy

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Posted - 2006 May 07 :  10:45:00 PM  Show Profile
You should check mine out!

I made mine using my reference growing up in orange groves my entire younger life - parents were beekeepers, swo we had bees int eh orange groves.

Anyhow, teh Orange tree in the groves is not like the ornamental trees you find on the boulavards. First, they are huge - about 10 feet tall, I've seen grapefruit that felt like 15-20. And they more resemble bushes then trees. Lemon and lime trees are a little smaller.

I made thema boutthe size I remember, and that's about it. Woodland scenics Ornamental tree kit, plus a bag of the oranges. The oranges bleed a bit. I used the mesh and made the inner structure, and then used the webbing to cover the mesh. In one case, I ran out of the webbing, so I used the chunkiier dark green foam to great success - makes a lankier, more varied leaf structure.

These are with the old camera:

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Posted - 2006 May 08 :  02:04:35 AM  Show Profile
Would like to show you some photos of my lemons groves, can also explain the process. They're state of the fooling.... but not sure how to post photos on this site. Can any body help me? I also grew up in the midst of citrus in the 50's and 60's in California. Families were farmers. However, I need some advice on how to post.

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Posted - 2006 May 08 :  05:08:26 AM  Show Profile
Photobucket - up load your pictures there, and use the links with the img tag.

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Posted - 2006 May 08 :  09:35:57 AM  Show Profile  Visit jjqgenesis's Homepage
Berry in Gilroy,
Will contact club members to see if anyone has “Modeling Railroads of the 1950s”. If not will suggest getting a copy. Thanks for the info.

Your trees are spectacular. You mention using Woodland Scenics Ornamental tree kit, plus a bag of the oranges in making your trees. From a short search on the internet, it appears that the average cost for this kit is about $5.50 so that probably puts it out of our reach budget wise. 100 trees = 20 kits x 5.50 = $110.00. We will need many hundreds.

Sent you my email address. If you are not successful in posting pictures to this forum, you can email direct to me.

Appreciate all the help.

John Quinn

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Posted - 2006 May 08 :  10:21:09 AM  Show Profile
Maybe not. You might have over estimated your area, and then overpopulated the area! I looked at your layout plan - which looks like fun, for sure - and you have planned the space well! The space occupied by the orchard is on the edge of the layout - you need at maximum two or three rows of depth to present the bigger idea of an orange grove. The area that is the corner without anything on it is the perfect site for the barns, tractors, tractor-junk, equiptment, Prehud Mobile Home, and a Fruitstand sort of business. I knew one back in Litchfield, Arizona where this sort of place took up an area of about 50 yards by 500 yards.

First, you need about 2-3 inches of separation between each row. Second, each tree takes up a linear distance of 3 inches per tree. So I could only fit 8 trees in a space about 8"x12"! this is the size of tree you will make, if you use the Woodland scenics kit. Its about right for the standard orange tree from my youth - about twice the height of a standard pickup truck.

The first thing I did was I put the orangegrove right at the edge of my layout - in a manner that maximized the effect - I have my orchard and I eat it too! I did not pave these roads because I did not have room for that effect - I need an additional 2 inches between the irrigation ditch and the roadsurface! As such, the roads right at the edge of tha groves are gravel - I suppose you Could pave them if you wanted them paved. My road berms in the orchard are 1.5" wide, my "public access" roads are 2.5" wide, if I made a "county road" I would need about 3" for the road itself, and I would leave about 1/2"-1" on at least one side for details like shoulders, maybe an irigation ditch that is separated from the orchard on one side, those little things.

You will want about an inch and a half leading into your grove - the half inch closest to the roads and on the line at the end of the rows is taken up by the irrigation ditches. The inch between the irrigation ditches and the trees is used by tractors to get into the rows - driving a tractor through an irrgation ditch is the fastest way to break an axle! When I did this, I made it elevated. The roads in between the trees need to be elevated about 1/8" to 3/16" of an inch above the area under the trees. This is so that when the trees are watered, the farmer can still visit his trees without having to drive through a swamp. The rows between the trees was always higher, at least in my memory.

Early Shots:

Woodland scenics puts out this little set and for 10 bucks, its a BARGIN!

(The rest are NEW pictures with the NEW camera!)

My only gripes is all of these beekeepers are in shape. And as for the beekeeper with very little equipment - there ARE some that go out there, no hat, no vail, maybe gloves - 100% CRAZY! And there are way not enough hives in the kit - I need to make more. A proper "yard" has about 20-40 hives in it. And each hive would have about 5-10 lbs of bees in it, and with about 30-35,000 bees per lb, that makes for about..well, a WHOLE LOT of bees!!!! I don't have a proper beetruck either - they are well known for their grundgy look, 1 ton truck 10 foot flatbeds, and an overhead Boom loader.

If you use the beekeeper set like I have, you will want to put them on the last road row you have agaisnt the back of the layout where the visitors can look up the row and see them! And that is perfect - my father used to put his hives in quite a ways so that they were far enough away from the main roads so that the bees did not bother people TOO MUCH! In other cases, He put them in a field that was near the orchard, but at least 100-200 yards from the nearest tree. And in the other direction there was Nothing. Today, all three Pheonix orchards my dad used up until 1992 are now covered with trackhomes.

Heres the trees, taken with the new camera. I made them similar to how I made the paloverdes down at the club: I looked at what I had, and then experimented with it until I knew I had the results I was looking for. You want to paint the trunks as close to roof brown as you can get a dusty, flat brownish color. If you are lucky, with 100 trunks to paint, you will use an airbrush or a rattle can. I used a brush on these, and painting wasn't fun after the second or third.

I basically made light balls out of the poly fiber, arranged that on the trunks,and then put a light layer of the mesh from the ornamentals kit, and then frosted it with thiiiin whiteglue and rolled the tree over a plate of the oranges. As you see, some oranges bled.

This tree was made a little differently - I had to use some medium green clump foliage over the green polyfiber instead of the green mesh that is sold in the ornamentals kit. The green mesh is nice, but it goes fast!

You might notice my trees go all the way to the ground - and thats how I remember them here! The lime trees, and the lemon trees, they were well manicured, if I can rememeber this right; there were some trees in the orchards that were really small, and really light, compared to the trees I modeled. The trees you see here would bear the basic navel orange! Two trusk high, oranges! Three trucks high, that would be a Pink Grapefruit tree! You could model them by just using the green polyfiber and the medium green clump foliage, which is both available in larger quantities then what comes in the ornamentals kit - you don't really NEED the trunks asside from those trees that MIGHT be visible to the public - i.e those on the edges of the orchard.

That Brick building will be the future site of a windmill - it might become a well head structure. Immediatly to the left, and across the road, there is the perfect space for a fruitstand - And I have to put one in!

I am missing a couple key elements in my design: One, I did not paint the bottoms of my trunks white - - need to do this on the one trunk that is visible. this is done to protect the trees form rot and dieseases. Second, I need the Pallet type orange crates that are used to ship the oranges to processing houses and move them out of the groves - these bins are basically your standard pallet with 2 foot high boards around it. Third, I am missing the Distinct Windmill you find in orchards in Pheonix, but unfortuantely, those orchards are now houses! So I know what they look like, but my reference has been destroyed! No Pictures!! Fourth, I need to add pipe ends under the roads - I should have used mid-small diameter soda/sip straws and did this BEFORE I put in the roads!! Fifth, I am missing the little black arcs that would be the hoses that are used to siphon water out of the irrigation ditches and into the orchard. Last,I am a missing a Fruitstand! If you lived near a farm growing up, you know how secial this place was - BEST PRODUCE IN TOWN!!!

You might notice a couple details that are a little off - yep, trees fully covered in oranges while the beekeepers are also in teh groves - usually they pick the oranges first, then have the beekeepers come in before the bloom. Once the bloom has finished (or in otherwords,when the farmer wishes to spray his orchard with pesticides) he calls up the kbeekeeper and tells him when the spraying is happening - and the beekeeper makes a MAD RUSH to move the bees out of the orchard and onto the Spring yards in the Summer country or to the High country, if the high country bloom looks good. Always a gamble, always following one honey flow to the next! I wasn't so concerend about every tree having the same amount of oranges eiter - some trees produce better, some trees might have been picked already, so on and so forth.

If you can send me a picture/ larger image of the area of the orchards with the foot grid on it, I could plot out your orchard/roads - using the Arizona standard to the best that I remember.

Edited by - Benny on 2006 May 08 11:46:07 AM

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Posted - 2006 May 08 :  8:45:08 PM  Show Profile
those trees are great!!
thx for the sharing the pics, and giving a run down on how you made them

Originally posted by elmono

Would like to show you some photos of my lemons groves, can also explain the process. They're state of the fooling.... but not sure how to post photos on this site. Can any body help me? I also grew up in the midst of citrus in the 50's and 60's in California. Families were farmers. However, I need some advice on how to post.

another place to get an account is and a lot of mrr'ers use it.

basically, you need the pic hosted somewhere online to link to post.

or you can directly link your pic into your post
right under the reply box (on the reply page), there is a little "paper clip" icon with "insert a file"...
clicking this will open up a new window from which you can browse your comp. to find the pic you wish to include.

remember though to crop and resize your pics if needed before directly uploading to atlas' server.
they recommend to keep your pics at 800x600 or less, and 100K or less in file size.

if your pics are larger than this, a photo-editing software like photoshop can be used.

else, you can use MS paint which is part of can find it by the following:
start->all programs->accessories->paint.
once you get your pic into paint, go to "image"...under image there is "stretch/skew".
this will pull up a window from which you can change the dimensions of the image via the "stretch" function (as a percentage of the original pic...i typically use 33% to 50% from most of my camera pics).
remember to keep the values the same so as not to change the relative dimensions of the image.

sorry for the long post...
if you have any problems, don't hesitate to ask


Edited by - sam on 2006 May 08 8:46:01 PM

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Posted - 2006 May 09 :  12:05:38 AM  Show Profile
I use the method described by Bob Smaus before he went to his latest styrofoam ball method. I use the Woodland Scenics foam clusters broken up and gooed together in a tree shape with a flat bottom. I prefer this look to the new Smaus sheared tree look, but thats just me. I also have trouble keeping the oranges color fast so I saturate the tree in Aqua Net and drop the oranges on to keep the orange from washing off the little balls
This method is pricy unless you are doing a small grove like this one. One bag of clusters was used used on this very small grove.If I were going to do more than a dozen trees I would think of a way to only use the foam on the outside of the tree. All of us So Cal modelers owe Bob Smaus a huge debt, and so does my back yard for that matter.

Edited by - puckeringswine on 2006 May 09 09:27:49 AM

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Posted - 2006 May 09 :  05:52:19 AM  Show Profile
Checking to see if this photo of my Santa Paula branch comes up. if so can post others

Download Attachment: close-up afternoon Euc..jpg
192.42 KB

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Posted - 2006 May 09 :  05:55:16 AM  Show Profile
Did that last photo come up in line for you guys?

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Posted - 2006 May 09 :  05:57:54 AM  Show Profile
Let's see if this works.......

Download Attachment: old orchard wide-shot.jpg
197.74 KB

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Posted - 2006 May 09 :  06:01:22 AM  Show Profile
So why do my photos have to be downloaded and not appear?

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Posted - 2006 May 09 :  08:38:35 AM  Show Profile
I am not sure but now I want to know about your Eucalyptus trees! lets see some more!

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Posted - 2006 May 09 :  08:55:05 AM  Show Profile

Having grown up in an orange growing family in florida, i immediately noticed the inconsistancy with the bees and ripe fruit. you never mix the bees, fruit and picking crews or the migrant workers trying to pick the fruit would REFUSE to enter the grove!

There was one variety of orange was very late in ripening and it wasn't uncommon for the fruit and the bloom to be on the tree at the same time. and that was the Valencia. it ripened in the late florida spring. for the life of me, i can't remember if that was the norm or if my dad tried to get the fruit off before the blooms opened. if it was the latter, then you could add white dots to the trees, include the bees and also the fruit. just don't put the pickers in there too... :-)

one other slight criticism.. and one that probably is impractical to fix is that oranges don't grow in clumps. Grapefruit grow in clumps of 2-4, but oranges are individual. this would be a bear to model. i couldn't imagine putting oranges on one at a time by hand. one possible way to do that is to spread out your oranges so that there's a couple scale inches between them and then roll the tree thru that.

with that said, those are some of the BEST orange trees i've ever seen modeled! You have the shape down almost perfectly! in our groves, the typical orange tree separation was 25 ft by 20 feet. our mature orange trees tended to be about 15 feet tall and not quite as wide (10-12 feet or so). Our grapefruit were at the same spacing, but the size of the tree was much larger. we did have some groves that were "narrow set" that had 20 feet between rows and 15 feet between the trees in the rows. those tended to look more like a giant hedgerow than individual trees. we also had to trim those back every 5 years or so with a huge grove hedger in order to get the tractors and picking equipment down the row. in most cases, the branches of the trees went down to the ground, so in general, the trunk was not visible. only on immature trees (less than 10 years old or so) did you commonly see the trunk.


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Posted - 2006 May 09 :  11:03:09 AM  Show Profile
Dean, Benny and John: Here's an idea to evenly disburse the tiny "oranges" onto the trees; as mentioned above, spray the tree with AquaNet and then use a folded piece of paper or a drinking straw cut short to "blow gently" to waft the trees with the fruits!
I use this old technique to accentuate areas of my scenery, especially in places where gravity is not an ally. Hope this helps.

Cochise: "You ARE your model railroad!"

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