NOTE: We do not sell citrus trees but we do have just about everything else in fruit trees for your home. We grow citrus trees on our property and enjoy harvesting the fruit for friends and family. Citrus growing can be quite challenging and this information is here to help you.
Planting Citrus Trees?
Floridians absolutely love their Citrus Trees. We are providing some information here to help you plant and grow healthier citrus trees. This information is from our personal experience. We grow citrus trees because we enjoy eating and sharing the fruit with friends and family just like you.
All citrus trees require deep well drained soil. Your planting site should have good runoff to prevent water standing around the tree. To check and determine the soil is suitable do the following before planting your tree. Using a posthole digger, dig to a depth of 3 to 4 feet and fill the hole with water. All water should drain from the hole within 24 to 36 hours.
Soils requiring more than 36 hours to drain completely should be avoided unless raised planting beds are used. Most citrus grows well in a soil pH range from 6 to 8.
How to plant your Citrus Tree
Clear out weeds and grass approximately 3 feet around the diameter of your planting site. After planting your tree you should always keep the site free of weeds and grass. Mulch is not recommended because it can keep soil to moist! Ideally you want good air circulation at the trees base to avoid any fungal diseases caused by excess moisture etc.
Planting your tree:
When planting from containers, dig a planting hole in a well drained area of your property. Choose a sunny spot. Your hole should be 4 - 6 inches wider than the root ball and approximately 4 inches deeper. Fill the hole half full of water. Take your tree and roll the container gently on the ground and squeeze the root ball out of the container. Keep the root ball in tact. Don't allow the root ball to fall apart. Position the tree in the center of the planting hole. Gently spread out any circling roots with your hands. Now, add more soil and water the soil and continue backfilling soil to remove any air pockets. The base of your tree should be about 1 inch above the ground. With your hands pack down the soil slightly. Now make a circular basin around the tree trunk to keep the water from running away as you water. This basin can be about 8 - 10 inches away from the trunk.
Planting your tree from a Citus Pot: (see photo on right)
Here you will follow all the above instructions with only a few exceptions as descibed here. In this situation you cut away the container with a razor or sharp knife. Do not roll the long citrus pot on the ground as doing so will most likely damage the roots. Place the tree in the hole while gently shaking loose soil into the hole as you move the tree up and down and gently spread out the roots by pulling them loose with your hand. You should have some loose roots and the tap root. The long tap root should go straight to the bottom of the hole.
Young trees need water at least three times per week for the first two weeks. Water twice a week after the third week and keep in mind that during our rainy season you may not need to water at all.
Good Nutriton Keeps Your Tree Healthy!
This is the one thing you don't want to ignore. We recommend you fertilize your tree about one month after it has been planted. Be sure to use a citrus fertilizer with minor elements. Spread a small handful around the drip line of the tree at least once a month in spring and summer. Fertilizing around the drip line will encourage the roots to grow out to seek the nutrients. Over feeding is worse than under feeding. Never, ever, ever, ever, use fertilizer spikes! Vigoro 6-4-6 is a good all purpose granular fertilizer for container and landscape grown fruit trees. Read the label prior to application! You can choose to use only organic fertilizers and minerals if you are more experienced in organic methods. Growing citrus is challenging and not for people that are too busy to care for the tree.
When to fertilize
All your trees need as a minimum items 1, 2 & 3.
1. Vigoro 6-4-6 or similar citrus granuals monthly during spring and summer.
2. Citrus nutritional sprays once per month during fall and winter.
3. For young trees less than three years of age use a foliar spray applications of 20-20-20 water soluble fertilizer every six weeks, spring and summer. Three year old trees and older can be provided with all the above but switch to a 10-15-10 foliar to decrease nitrogen and increase flowering and fruit production. Container grown trees need to be rinsed at least twice a year to flush out salt residues. As you gain experience you can alter the formula as you see fit. Pay attention to your tree and it will reward you with delicious fruit.
Fertilizer should be applied beginning in late February-early March and ends in late September
Tip: Mature trees need a good soaking, rain or irrigation, every two weeks and time to dry out between waterings. Remember: Citrus are prone to root rot if the soil is too wet! Do not use mulch!
About Rootstocks: For many years the citrus industry relied on sour orange as the universal rootstock. Sour orange offers many benefits. The rootstock has excellent cold tolerance and adapts to a wide range of soils. Also it provides excellent yields and is reasonably tolerant of wet soil conditions. The one major problem it has however, is its susceptibility to the Citrus tristeza virus. (CTV) is spread by aphids and has in recent years, caused significant loss of trees previously grafted on to it. Today modern rootstocks are here and are used for different regions of the State.
Insect & Disease Control for citrus growing:
We are going to discuss two major pests and how to control them and even help eradicate them.
Our first villain is enemy #1 The Asian Citrus Psyllid
This trouble maker feeds on your trees new growth flush (emerging new leaves). Evidence of this pests damage is indicated by the curling and distortion of the young leaves. This pest injects toxins during feeding on plant fluids. These psyllids can spread a disease called citrus greening and it's a big headache for all of us in Florida who love enjoying our very own citrus fruit.
The next pain in the neck bug is the Citus Leaf miner:
This tiny moth like insect whose populations soar rapidly and develop on the spring and Summer flushes of your citrus trees. As summer approaches and the mercury rises, leaf miner populations increase dramatically causing severe damage to your trees overall growth and health. Leaves are scarred with silver tunnel like trails that spiral inside the leaves.
To add insult to injury our summer rains make conditions for citrus canker (bacteria) to spread just perfect! The damaged leaves are extremely susceptible to canker and other diseases. Using copper and other approved fungicides will help keep the canker under control.
Okay now, if you are freaking out at this point may I suggest you relax. With the information you have here you are better informed about growing citrus in Florida than the average person. You can grow healthy citrus trees. You can even do it organically if you choose. Well now that you know, it's up to you!
Stop by and say hello so we can share more information and suggest some solutions and products that can help you grow better fruit trees.
One product that is often recommended is Sevin. It's not organic and some say it's the only way to stop the blue green root eating beetle. So far I have been fortunate and not had a problem with them. Looks like Neem and other organic products we offer work quite well.
Note: Bayer Advanced is to be used on non bearing trees. Read all labels!