Growing Citrus Fruit

Overview

There are many types of citrus trees, but some can only be grown in tropical conditions. Others can be grown in areas that have slight frost, but for the most part, all citrus trees need a warm climate. For gardeners in cold areas, there are many dwarf citrus trees that can be grown in containers, which can be brought indoors for the winter. Citrus trees need more care and maintenance than ornamental trees, but are well worth the effort the first time you taste the harvest.

Planting the Tree

Step 1

Choose an area that has full-sun exposure and is high enough that water will not pool around the tree after a hard rain. Plan planting for early spring when all threat of frost is gone and the ground can be worked easily.

Step 2

Dig a hole three times the diameter and depth of the container you purchased the tree in. Remove all weeds, grass and stones from the dug-out soil.

Step 3

Mix one part sand and one part compost to two parts dug-out soil, only if you have heavy soil that does not drain well. If the original soil is well-draining, amendments are not needed. Fill two-thirds of the planting hole in with soil. Create a mound of soil on what is now the bottom of the planting hole.

Step 4

Carefully remove the tree from the container and gently rinse off the soil from the root ball. Drape the roots over the mound of soil in the planting hole, separating them with your fingers. Adjust the level of the tree if necessary, so that it sits at the same level it did in the container.

Step 5

Fill halfway around the roots and water to settle the soil. Continue to fill the planting hole until the soil is level with the surrounding ground. Tamp down with your foot, and water to settle the soil again. You may need to add more soil due to settling.

Growing the Tree

Step 1

Create a watering ring with soil around the diameter of the planting hole. The ring should be 6 inches high and 8 inches wide. Fill the ring with water and allow it to drain into the soil.

Step 2

Fill the watering ring three times the first week after planting and twice a week thereafter for the next three weeks. The ring will slowly disappear; there is no need to build another one. Water when the soil starts to dry to about an inch deep, from that time through early fall.

Step 3

Fertilize with a product made for citrus trees. Apply once a month after you start to see growth on the tree and through October. Keep fertilizer at least a foot from the trunk and water it into the soil immediately after placing it on the ground. Follow manufacturer's directions as to amount of fertilizer to apply.

Step 4

Apply an herbicide to control weeds. Keep the freshly dug area completely weed-free and, later, the area under the spread of the tree as well. Citrus trees do not compete well with weeds for water and nutrition.

Step 5

Remove any dead or diseased branches as needed. Cut off any new shoots that pop up below the original scaffold limbs as soon as you notice them. Citrus trees do not normally need to be shaped or pruned otherwise.

Things You'll Need

  • Citrus tree
  • Shovel
  • Sand
  • Compost
  • Citrus-tree fertilizer
  • Weed-control herbicide
  • Pruning shears

References

  • AgriLife Extension: Home Fruit Production
  • Green Field Citrus: Growing Citrus
  • Sunkist: How Citrus Trees Are Grown

Who Can Help

  • Citrus: Tips on Growing Organic Citrus Fruit
Keywords: growing citrus trees, planting fruit trees, citrus fruit

About this Author

Dale DeVries is a retired realtor with 30 years of experience in almost every facet of the business. DeVries started writing in 1990 when she wrote advertising and training manuals for her real estate agents. Since retiring, she has spent the last two years writing well over a thousand articles online for Associated Content, Bright Hub and Demand Studios.