How to Plant Citrus Trees

Overview

Citrus fruits--such as oranges, grapefruit and lemons--grow best in tropical areas. These trees are typically evergreen and grow from 15 to 50 feet tall. They can also be grown as large shrubs. The citrus fruits are aromatic due to their flavonoids. Flowers bloom in early spring and are pollinated by insects. Fruit develops five to 18 months after the flowers have bloomed. Citrus fruits can be challenging to grow because they require a lot of care.

Step 1

Choose an area for your citrus trees that has well-drained, sandy soil. The area should also receive full sun for eight hours a day in order to provide the best yield.

Step 2

Test the soil pH. Citrus trees prefer soil that has a pH of 6.0 to 8.0. If the pH is too high, you will need to prepare an application of lime. Apply 8 ounces of lime per square yard of soil. For pH that is too low, add 1,000 pounds of sulfur per half acre of soil.

Step 3

Dig a hole that is 3 feet in diameter and as deep as the container that your citrus tree is in. Place the entire root ball in the hole and make sure it is level before you refill the hole with the dirt that was removed. If the roots are contained in a burlap bag, remove the burlap from around the roots.

Step 4

Apply 3 to 4 inches of mulch around the base of the tree. Mulch will keep water in the roots and help keep weeds out.

Step 5

Water the citrus trees every week with at least 2 inches of water. Mature trees will need water when they are producing fruit in the summer, in order to maintain a high yield. Mature trees should get 3 to 4 gallons of water per day.

Step 6

Apply a quarter of a pound of citrus fertilizer every 4 to 6 weeks, from February to August, using a high-nitrogen granular fertilizer. Water the trees with 2 inches of water after you have fertilized them so the fertilizer can be absorbed in the roots.

Step 7

Harvest the fruit when it is fully ripe. Fruit will be firm and bright. Citrus can remain on the tree after it has become ripe without falling off and rotting. The fruit will store for up to 10 days in a refrigerator.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil test kit
  • Fertilizer
  • Sulfur
  • Lime
  • Shovel
  • Mulch

References

  • Sunkist: Citrus Trees
Keywords: growing citrus, citrus trees, plant citrus trees

About this Author

Melanie Hammontree is a member of the Society for Professional Journalists and has been writing since 2004. Works include publications with "Hall County Crime Examiner," "Player's Press" and "The Gainesville Times." Hammontree has a Master of Business and is working on a Master of Journalism from the University of Tennessee.