• How to Plant Citrus
    Thursday, February 12, 2009 at

  • 1) Selecting

    Research the citrus varieties that would grow best in your area. Stop by local nurseries, especially those that grow their own trees, to see the types of citrus they offer. Most often, nurseries only carry trees that will thrive in their area.

    A healthy tree will have deep green leaves and a straight trunk that's able to support itself. Try to choose a tree with very little, or no, fruit. Don't expect a newly-planted tree to produce a fruit crop right away. It will need to conserve its energy to adapt to the stress of a new environment.

    2) Planting

    The climate in your area dictates the ideal time to plant a young citrus tree. In most areas, fall planting will give the trees enough time to establish themselves before higher summer temperatures put stress on their growth. How deep you plant your tree is important. You don't want plant too low or the trunk will remain wet and can become susceptible to bark diseases. Plant the tree too high and the roots could dry out, keeping moisture from getting to the tree.

    Note: It will take your tree one to two years to fully recover from the transplant. During this time, be sure to closely monitor the feeding and watering schedules.

    3) Water and Fertilizer

    Many factors go into how often to water. These include the drainage, soil composition, time of year and the amount of rainfall. A good guide for summer watering (April through September) is to water every seven to 10 days. During the winter months (November to February), scale back watering to once every three to four weeks. Over watering can be just as damaging as under watering. A tree that lacks moisture will look wilted, but a tree with too much moisture can develop root decay or fungus, and also looking wilted. Don't be afraid to use an ample layer of ES2 or aged landscape wood mulch under the drip line of the tree to retain moisture and save on your watering bill. Be careful and avoid contact between the trunk of the tree and the mulch.

    Fertilizing annually is essential to growing citrus successfully. To get the most benefit out of your fertilizer, make 10 to 12 holes about six inches deep near the tree and put equal amounts of fertilizer into each hole and cover with soil.

    4) Diseases and Insects

    Insects can occasionally scar the surface of fruit. Rarely, however, will these pests cause enough damage to make the fruit inedible. The most serious type of citrus plant disease is phytophthora. Phytophthora affects the root system and the trunk of the tree. It is a fungus that is most active when soil surrounding the tree is not allowed to dry out between waterings.

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