The Care of Citrus Trees

Overview

Citrus trees are showy, tropical trees that not only include oranges and lemons, but kumquats, mandarins, pummelos and papedas. Though each citrus has individual chilling requirements, the care and maintenance of most citrus trees are relatively similar. Citrus trees that receive generous amounts of water and sunlight, along with regular maintenance and care, produce abundant amounts of fruit.

Step 1

Keep the planting bed of your citrus tree free of debris and weeds. Remove defoliated debris regularly to reduce the potential of fungal and bacterial spore diseases. Pull weeds by hand to prevent competition with your citrus tree. Ensure that the roots of the weeds are removed to prevent regrowth.

Step 2

Apply a layer of mulch around the diameter of your citrus tree to protect its soil moisture and reduce the potential of weed invasion. Use organic mulch, as recommended by the University of Florida IFAS Extension. Keep the layer between 3 and 6 inches thick.

Step 3

Prune your citrus tree in the early spring before blooming begins. Use sharp, sterile pruning shears. Remove any dead, dying or damaged branches and stems. Cut back water sprouts as they appear. Remove the sprout by making a flush cut at the point of origin, as explained by the Arizona Cooperative Extension.

Step 4

Irrigate your citrus tree deeply and frequently but avoid overwatering. Provide the citrus with about 1.5 to 2 inches of water each week throughout the growing season, as recommended by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Adjust the irrigation levels for periods of drought and rainfall.

Step 5

Feed your citrus tree approximately every 45 to 60 days throughout the growing season, from early spring through late fall. Use a well-balanced, slow release fertilizer such as a 10-10-10 or 8-8-8 combination. Select a fertilizer that also includes micronutrients. Follow the instructions carefully and never apply more fertilizer than instructed.

Step 6

Harvest your citrus tree thoroughly as the fruit becomes ripe. Remove all of the fruit from the entire tree to reduce the potential of overwintering diseases.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch
  • Pruning shears
  • Water

References

  • Arizona Cooperative Extension: Pruning Citrus
  • Texas A&M AgriLife Extension: Home Fruit Production - Citrus
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Your Florida Dooryard Citrus Guide - Young Tree Care
Keywords: citrus tree care, caring for citrus, growing 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.