Frequently Asked Questions About Growing Citrus
Where should I plant my citrus in the yard? And, what about the soil?
Good drainage is the key. You can check the drainage by digging a 30” deep hole and filling it with water. The next day refill the hole and watch how it drains. If it drops 2” in two hours, the drainage is OK. In areas with poor drainage, a raised bed or a container is recommended.
What about planting in a container?
Use a light, well-drained soil mix. Be sure your container has plenty of drainage holes. Upper roots may be exposed (this is OK). Water thoroughly, then fertilize after a week or two. Water as needed to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Containers in hot areas may need daily watering.
I get frost in my area, is there anything special I should do?
The age, location, variety and condition of the tree, degree and duration of cold determine frost damage. Healthy, well-fertilized trees can tolerate brief dips into the upper twenties. Anti-transpirent sprays give a few degrees of protection. Christmas lights or drop cloths will add warmth for unusually cold nights.
How often should I fertilize my new tree and what should I use?
Citrus are HEAVY feeders. You should fertilize your citrus tree once a month during the growing season with a citrus fertilizer (February to October). It is best to use a balanced fertilizer which contains nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. You may need to supplement Iron, Zinc and Manganese. Ironite is a good source for those nutrients. Follow the directions on the container for correct application.
Should I prune my citrus tree?
Although pruning is not a necessity for citrus you may want to prune it occasionally to keep it attractive. Trees may be pruned to any shape. Selective pruning is best. Don’t hedge. Clean out interiors and any crossing branches. Pinching back tips of new growth will help trees to round out. Light pruning every year should keep it shapely and the size you desire. Prune after harvest, avoid pruning during the winter as this may cause new growth which is more susceptible to cold damage.
I just purchased a citrus tree and the tag says it is a semi-dwarf. How big will this tree grow?
The following are general guidelines for the growth habits of these different types. Please note that the final tree size of any tree is not always predictable. Growing conditions, variety vigor and climate, greatly effect how big a tree will grow.