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How to Plant Citrus Trees in Arizona

lemon tree image by Dennis Carrigan from

Citrus trees make popular landscape trees and are well adapted to Arizona's subtropical climate. Whether you're interested in growing lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit or tangerine, you can find a suitable citrus tree for your area. Citrus trees perfume the landscape with their fragrant blossoms, then provide plenty of fruit. A young sapling should begin bearing fruit within two years, on average.

Select a variety of citrus that performs well in your region of Arizona in September, the recommended time to plant citrus in Arizona. This allows the trees maximum time to adjust to being planted before hot summer temperatures. Gardeners in areas that receive frost should choose a cold-hardy citrus like the kumquat or tangerine. The University of Arizona maintains a list of citrus varieties that perform well in Arizona (see Resources).

Find a full sun location for your citrus tree that allows the tree plenty of room to mature. The citrus sapling's identification tag should notify you how large the mature tree can grow.

Dig a hole that's twice as wide as the citrus sapling's root ball and equally deep. Roughen up the bottom of the hole by jabbing your shovel into the dirt. Remove any rocks, twigs or weeds from the hole so your tree's roots won't have to compete.

Pull your citrus sapling from its container and break apart the root ball with your fingers. Unwind any tangled roots before planting. Wash the tree's roots under water to remove any of the potting medium.

Set the citrus tree in its hole at the same depth as it was planted in the container. Spread the roots out with your fingers. Check to make sure the tree is planted straight and not at an angle. When you are satisfied with the placement of the tree, backfill the hole with soil.

Raise the soil at ground level into a ring or moat around the base of the newly planted citrus. Make this ring 5 to 6 inches tall. Fill the ring with water to water your newly planted citrus.

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