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How to Care for Citrus Trees in AZ

By Jennifer Loucks ; Updated September 21, 2017

The high temperatures in Arizona create a sweet citrus fruit in the summer, while the cool temperatures create a tart fruit. This makes Arizona a popular citrus fruit production state with many residential landscapes adding citrus trees to their gardens. Citrus trees in Arizona prefer to be planted in late September once the temperatures begin to cool. Arizona citrus trees are easy to maintain, have few problems with pests and will begin producing fruit approximately two years after planting.

Plant the citrus tree in a location that offers good drainage. Choose to plant a rootstock that was grown in Arizona soil for best results. Work organic compost into the planting hole and remove soil to increase the nutrient value and moisture retention.

Water the citrus tree each week with a heavy soaking to penetrate through the root ball. The tree should be watered once the top 2 to 3 inches of soil have dried. Water the tree less frequently during the cooler winter months.

Fertilize the tree with a slow-release fruit and nut tree fertilizer in February, May and early October. Do not apply fertilizer after October as it will stimulate new growth that becomes susceptible to frost damage. Water the soil well after applying to push the fertilizer into the root zone.

Prune the citrus tree only to remove dead or damaged branches. Citrus trees in Arizona are susceptible to sunburn and should not be pruned unless necessary.

Paint the trunk of the tree with white protective tree trunk paint or whitewash. This will protect the tree from sunburn during the hot summer months.

Cover citrus tree branches with a light fabric sheet when there is a risk of freezing temperatures. Place light bulbs under the covering to add additional heat when the freeze is extreme.


Things You Will Need

  • Arizona hardy citrus rootstock
  • Organic compost
  • Water
  • Slow-release fruit and nut fertilizer
  • Pruning clipper
  • Tree trunk paint
  • Light fabric sheet
  • Light bulbs


  • Citrus trees in Arizona that produce yellow leaves are most likely being watered too frequently. The tree will respond better if the top 2 to 3 inches of soil are allowed to dry out before watering again.

About the Author


Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.