How to Plant a Citrus Tree


By nature, citrus trees are subtropical to tropical and prefer warmer climates. They do not tolerate frost and will grow well in desert regions. Citrus trees include the lemon, grapefruit, orange, tangerine, tangelo, kumquat and lime. They need deep soil that provides good surface drainage and substantial internal drainage, enabling the water to percolate downward. When obtaining a container citrus tree from a local nursery, the tree can typically be planted year-round, yet the ideal planting time can vary by region.

Step 1

Remove lawn or foliage growing on the site where you intend to plant the citrus tree. There should be a bare circle over the site, approximately 5 feet in diameter.

Step 2

Dig a hole using a perennial spade or shovel. Make the hole wider by half than the tree's root ball. The depth should be the same as the depth of the root ball, but if planting in a lawn area, it should be 1 inch less.

Step 3

Remove the citrus tree from its container and gently rinse off about an inch of the growing medium from the entire root ball.

Step 4

Place the tree in the hole and backfill until half full.

Step 5

Water the hole thoroughly and allow the water to settle.

Step 6

Fill in the rest of the hole, gently tapping down the soil.

Step 7

Form a water ring around the tree using excess soil from the hole or soil from another location in the garden. It should be about 6 inches high and 7 inches thick, and wider than the original hole.

Step 8

Fill the water ring with water. Add more soil to the hole after the water drains and soil settles, if necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • Perennial spade or shovel


  • "Vegetables and Fruits"; James Crockett; 1972
  • Home Fruit Production -- Citrus
  • Planting Citrus
Keywords: planting citrus trees, growing citrus trees, citrus tree

About this Author

Ann Johnson was the editor of a community magazine in Southern California for more than 10 years and was an active real estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelors of Art degree in communications from California State University of Fullerton. Today she is a freelance writer and photographer, and part owner of an Arizona real estate company.