How to Grow a Citrus Tree


Citrus trees thrive in warm, breezy environments and enjoy cool nights. These trees, though sun-loving, appreciate and require the right amount of winter chilling hours in order to prepare their fruit for the following summer. These fastidious trees provide abundant amounts of fruit when their needs are accommodated.

Step 1

Choose a deep, well-drained area with pH levels between 6.0 and 8.0, as recommended by the Texas A&M Texas Extension. Ensure that the location receives at least 10 hours of full, direct sunlight.

Step 2

Dig a hole in the center of the selected planting site that is at least 4 feet deep. Take a sample of the soil at this level. Fill the hole with water to test the environment's internal drainage, per the recommendation of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Check to see if the water drains within 24 hours. Choose another planting location if the water fails to settle within 48 hours.

Step 3

Test the soil sample to ensure that the pH levels are appropriate for the citrus tree. Purchase a soil test kit from your local nursery or home improvement retailer. Follow the instructions carefully to ensure accurate readings. Adjust the pH levels as required to bring the levels into the appropriate range or choose another planting location, adding sulfur for lower levels and lime for high levels.

Step 4

Dig a hole for the tree that is equivalent to the width of your tree's root ball and about 1 inch less than its depth, as explained by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Position the citrus tree in the center of the hole, and then fill the hole halfway with soil. Repeat the process to complete the planting. Make sure all roots are completely covered with soil. Press the soil firmly around the tree to secure its position.

Step 5

Irrigate your citrus tree slowly and deeply to allow the water to reach the underlying roots. Water the tree under its canopy from the trunk to its drip line. Provide the tree with about 2 inches of water every seven to 28 days, as explained by the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension. Adjust the irrigation levels for drought and rainfall.

Step 6

Apply a 2 to 4 inch layer of mulch around your citrus tree, as recommended by the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension. Keep the mulch at least 1 foot from the trunk of your citrus to prevent root rot.

Step 7

Use sharp, sterile pruning shears to remove any dead, dying or damaged branches and stems from the tree. Prune the tree annually to develop a good framework, but allow for a natural shape and structure as recommended by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

Step 8

Feed your citrus tree according to the needs of the tree. Consider the results of your soil test when determining its needs. Use a well-balanced, slow release fertilizer to feed your tree. Always apply an application in the early spring, just before bud break.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears
  • Soil test
  • Shovel
  • Water


  • Texas A&M AgriLife Extension: Home Fruit Production - Citrus
  • University of Arizona Cooperative Extension: Irrigating Citrus Trees
  • Sunkist: How Citrus Trees are Grown

Who Can Help

  • The Garden Helper: How to Test and Adjust your Soil pH
Keywords: growing citrus trees, citrus tree care, planting citrus trees

About this Author

Charmayne Smith is a business professional and freelance writer. She has worked in management for successful organizations since 1994. Smith draws on her business background to write articles, and her work has appeared in a variety of online outlets. She holds a degree in business from Cleveland State University.