Planting a Citrus Tree


Citrus trees are sub-tropical to tropical trees, meaning they are not very cold tolerant. Low temperatures and freezes will damage or even kill the tree unless measures are taken to protect them. Most home gardeners who have citrus trees in their landscape are in the south, although there are many smaller varieties that grow well in containers for our friends in the north. If you live in a warm climate, try planting a citrus tree in your yard.

Step 1

Choose an area that has full sun and is on the south to southeast side of the house to protect the tree from northwestern cold fronts. The site should be 6 to 8 feet from the house or any other buildings and the citrus trees should be 12 to 16 feet from each other if you are planting more than one.

Step 2

Dig a hole that is twice the diameter of the root ball. If you soil needs to be amended for drainage, the hole should be 2 inches deeper than the root ball. If it drains well already then the hole should be the exact depth of the root ball.

Step 3

Amend the dug-out soil with a five gallon bucket of compost and mix well. If your soil does not drain well add half of a bucket full of perlite also. Mound some of the amended soil in the bottom of the planting hole.

Step 4

Remove the tree from the container you purchased it in and wash off most of the soil around the root ball. Gently spread the roots out and drape over the mound in the hole. Make sure the tree will set at the same level it was in the container or even slightly higher, keeping the graft scar above the soil line. Adjust the planting hole by adding more soil to the mound if necessary.

Step 5

Fill the hole halfway with the amended soil and water to compact the soil around the roots. Continue to fill until the soil is level with the surrounding ground and hand tamp down tightly. Water again and add more soil as the water will cause the soil to settle.

Step 6

Remove all weeds and vegetation in a three foot diameter ring around the tree. Take the remaining soil and create a raised watering ring 1 foot from the trunk. The ring should be about 6 inches high and 6 inches wide. Water inside the ring and allow the water to drain into the soil.

Step 7

Water the ring twice more during the first week and twice a week for the next three weeks. Then water when the top of the soil starts to feel dry. In about four months the watering ring should have eroded away. The tree should be established by this time.

Step 8

Fertilize with a citrus tree fertilizer once you start to see growth. Place the fertilizer on the soil one foot away from the trunk in a three-foot ring around the tree. Water immediately after placing the fertilizer to soak it into the soil. Do this once a month until October and then hold back until spring.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Perlite
  • Citrus tree fertilizer


  • Agri-Life Extension: Home Fruit Production- Citrus
  • Tree Help: Citrus Trees

Who Can Help

  • Easy to Grow Bulbs: Citrus Tree Planting Guide
Keywords: planting a citrus tree, citrus tree, growing citrus

About this Author

Dale DeVries is a retired realtor with 30 years of experience in almost every facet of the business. DeVries started writing in 1990 when she wrote advertising and training manuals for her real estate agents. Since retiring, she has spent the last two years writing well over a thousand articles online for Associated Content, Bright Hub and Demand Studios.