Citrus trees add ornamental value to a home. They enhance the landscape's overall appearance and give the homeowner an abundant supply of fruit. Maintaining the tree's health involves providing the citrus tree with the ideal growing requirements to meets its needs so it produces healthy foliage and fruit. Planting location, watering, fertilizing and pest control all aid in keeping the tree healthy and visually appealing. Citrus trees can suffer from diseases, pests and nutritional deficiencies if the tree is not provided with adequate care.
Deadwood Health Conditions
Keep the citrus tree healthy and free from conditions by pruning away all deadwood that occurs. A citrus tree has a proportional amount of deadwood that naturally occurs and needs to be regularly removed. The tree also suffers deadwood conditions when it is affected by frost or freezing temperatures. If the dieback is severe, a cause must be sought by the growers. Pests, citrus tristeza virus, leaf burn and blight can all cause deadwood to occur on the citrus tree, according to the University of Florida.
To maintain a citrus tree and prevent health conditions from occurring the tree must have its nutritional requirements met. When a tree suffers a nitrogen deficiency the first symptom is yellowing of its leaves. The citrus tree also requires nitrogen to blossom and set fruit. If a tree is not producing an acceptable crop of fruit, a nitrogen deficiency could be causing the health condition to manifest. Magnesium also causes the leaves to yellow. An iron deficiency causes the tree to produce weak, unhealthy white new growth. Manganese and zinc deficiencies also cause health issues in the foliage of the tree.
Citrus rust mites cause epidermal cell destruction to occur. A heavy infestation causes the tree to produce small fruit. Oil applications can help reduce the mite activity and limit the destruction to the tree's overall health. In areas with heavy rust mite infestation, consider not planting trees that show a strong susceptibility to the mite damage, such as Sunburst and Ambersweet.
When planting the citrus tree choose a site that offers well-draining soil. Waterlogged roots can cause the soil-borne fungus phytophthora to flourish. The tree's root system will begin to die away, the bark at soil level will peel, and an orange resin will appear on the soil's surface. Water citrus trees in the morning to help prevent infection with phytophthora. Maintain a weed-free zone around the base of the tree to help moisture easily evaporate.
The development of sooty mold on a citrus tree leaves indicates a pest infestation. Aphids secrete a sugary substance during their feeding that provides black mold a place to grow on foliage. Whiteflies, scales and mealybugs also cause mold to appear on the citrus tree. Mold can seriously affect the tree's overall health by preventing it from adequately utilizing photosynthesis, which will limit fruit production. Apply insecticidal oils to the tree to help loosen the mold so it can be washed away. It will also help to control insect infestations.