The state of Arizona offers the ideal combination of sun and heat to grow citrus well. The elevated summertime temperatures of the region help promote the sugar in the fruit and the cooler wintertime time conditions help the tartness develop for the perfect combination. Unlike the two major citrus producers, California and Florida, the state of Arizona does not have infestations of Tristeza, a disease carried by brown aphids, which enables citrus to successfully grow on the sour orange root stock for a superior product. Growing citrus in Arizona proves relatively easy and extremely fulfilling for the gardener. Plant citrus in middle to late September for best results.
Dig a hole that is twice the size of the rootball of the citrus tree that you are planting. The caliche (a hardened mineral deposit of calcium carbonate) layer of soil in Arizona is often difficult to break through using a common shovel, and a gardener may be forced to use a pick axe to break through the hard substance. Choose a location that offers partial sun. Orange trees prefer full sun, but the full heat of the sun often burns the orange tree's trunk and branches so it is advisable to plant in partial shade to offer heat protection.
Mix 25 percent organic matter, such as peat moss or leaf debris, into 75 percent garden soil. Place the orange tree into the hole. Firm the soil around the tree's root system so there are no remaining air pockets.
Wrap the trunk of the citrus tree in tree wrap from the soil level to the branches. The wrap offers protection from sun and heat damage. Or utilize white plant paint in place of tree wrap to offer protection to the tree from the intense Arizona sun.
Water the citrus tree often by flooding the base of the tree. Flood irrigating is a good way to prevent salt buildup, which is a common problem in Arizona. Maintain a watering schedule that keeps the citrus tree moist but not water-logged.
Fertilize the citrus tree in March, May and September. Use a fertilizer recommended for citrus. Follow the directions on the label for application instructions.
Prune citrus trees from February through May. Minimal pruning is recommended so the trees trunk is not overly exposed to the Arizona sunlight.