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.