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How to Grow Grapefruit

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How to Grow Grapefruit

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Overview

Growing grapefruit can provide an annual supply of nutritious and delicious fruit that not only is a good source of fiber but offers more than a full supply of Vitamin C with each serving. Grapefruit is a tropical citrus fruit that is best-suited for warmer climates, so be sure to understand your climate zone and that it is suitable for growing the fruit. Grapefruit are not generally suited to be grown indoors or in pots. While this is possible, they typically will not produce fruit often, if at all.

Step 1

Determine whether your area is suitable for grapefruit. If temperatures regularly fall into the mid 20s F., then outdoor citrus is not the right option for you.

Step 2

Check the soil conditions to be sure the grapefruit is in well-drained soil, such as a sandy soil. This soil should have a pH range of 6 to 6.5, which is mildly acidic. Testing can be done by purchasing a soil pH kit or by taking a sample to a local university extension office.

Step 3

Find a location that is at least 12 feet from fences or buildings so the tree has room to grow and spread naturally. Grapefruit trees prefer full sun.

Step 4

Plant the grapefruit tree slightly shallower than it was originally planted. This is important to keep the tree healthy and to make sure it gets the oxygen it needs. The hole should be approximately twice as large as the root ball.

Step 5

Replace the dirt in the hole by adding water and backfilling with the same soil. Fertilizers usually are not needed. Fill in the hole halfway, then water it so that it settles.

Step 6

Protect the grapefruit tree from cold weather by using a fan to keep the air moving or by using lights and blankets so that frost doesn't form. For young trees, build a mound of dirt around the trunk.

Step 7

Watch for Caribbean and Mediterranean fruit flies, which are the grapefruit tree's biggest pests.These flies attack fruits and make them inedible. Mediterranean fruit flies have red eyes, yellow and white striped abdomens, and clear, yellow and black-striped wings. Caribbean fruit flies have red bodies and banded wings that are black and yellowish brown. Use an insecticide, following the label's directions, if these pests are spotted.

Step 8

Inspect the trees periodically for fungal infections. A wide variety of fungi also could affect the tree. Discoloration of leaves, such as yellowing or browning, or yellowish to brown spots on the leaves often mean a fungal infection is present. Some grapefruit diseases may be fatal. Use a fungicide to the manufacturer's instructions if fungi are found.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not pick grapefruit before it ripens, as it will stop ripening once it is off the tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil acidity kit

References

  • Soil pH Lists
  • Texas A&M Horticulture
  • Purdue University

Who Can Help

  • Growing Zone Map
  • Mediterranean Fruit Fly
  • Caribbean Fruit Fly
Keywords: growing grapefruit, grapefruit diseases, harvest grapefruit

About this Author

Ken Black is a freelance writer and a staff writer for The Times Republican in Central Iowa. He has written extensively on a variety of topics, including business, politics, family life and travel.