Citrus trees, like almost all plants, need special nutrients to thrive. The best way to ensure they get essential nutrients is to fertilize them on a regular schedule. That schedule, however, varies depending on the time of year and when your trees begin to bud. Liquid fertilizer can be applied through the leaves, but most gardeners find this method more difficult than simply spreading dry fertilizer around the base. This article, therefore, focuses on the dry fertilizer method.
Buy a fertilizer specifically designed for citrus trees. These fertilizers are available at all nurseries and most nursery departments in home improvement centers. Citrus tree fertilizer will be high in nitrogen with a good dose of phosphorous as well. Citrus tree fertilizers also are slightly acidic, which citrus trees love.
Wait until your tree is just starting to put on flower buds. As the buds appear use your fertilizer spreader to spread approximately 1 pound of dry citrus tree fertilizer around your tree, from the trunk to the edge of the canopy. Use approximately 1/2 pound of fertilizer if your tree is fewer than 4 years old.
Water your tree well, watering the fertilizer into the ground. Put at least 2 inches of water into the soil. Water frequently during the fruit-setting period, keeping the soil damp but not soggy. If the weather is exceptionally warm or if there are dry winds, water every other day until the fruit has completely set.
Apply a second dose of fertilizer 30 days after the first. Be sure to water it in well. Apply citrus tree fertilizer a third time 60 days after the first fertilizing and then fertilize every 60 days until the end of the growing season.
Fertilize your tree(s) every 60 to 90 days during their dormant winter period.