29 May Tips for Growing Citrus
Citrus tress are well suited to home growing and with minimal care will reward you for years with juicy, delicious fruit. One of the most widely grown fruit trees in the home garden is citrus. Lemons, limes, oranges, and mandarins are really easy to grow, and they produce large quantities of delicious, juicy fruit packed with flavour and vitamin C.
Autumn is a great time of year to plant your citrus tree. The trick like with any other crop is to choose the right position and the right soil.
• Sunshine – Citrus trees require a full sun position and require plenty of room to grow in all directions. Ideally they should have a 2-3m gap around them. Planting too close to other trees where they are shaded by other trees will prevent them from growing well and will not crop well. Aim for a minimum of 6 hours direct sun per day for maximum fruiting.
• Water – Citrus trees love water, but it must drain away quickly and not pool in the root zone. To check drainage of your chosen site – dig a hole in your potential planting spot and fill with water. If it takes more than 30 minutes to drain, the drainage is inadequate. Mound the soil or choose another spot to plant your tree.
For citrus to grow well and produce an abundance of juicy fruit they need a rich, well drained soil. To give your plants the best start, dig your hole at least 2 times the size of the pot they were growing in and dig through some well-rotted manure, compost or Searles Fruit, Citrus and Rose Specialty Mix. Planting your tree on a mound slightly raised above ground level is usually best to help avoid disease and drainage. Don’t plant citrus too deep, especially in heavy, clay soils. Lawn and citrus trees don’t mix, so keep the turf well back from the drip line of your tree.
After planting, mulch all around your citrus tree, but not right up to the trunk of the tree as this can encourage collar rot, so keep the mulch about 10cm away from the trunk. Mulching saves water, adds nutrients to the soil and keeps the root system cool which promotes healthy root growth. Lucerne, sugar cane or Ti Tree mulches are ideal for citrus.
When watering, make sure you water deeply and less often, rather than frequent, light watering. A deep water once per week should be plenty, especially when the trees start to bear fruit.
Prune trees after fruiting. The aim is to allow maximum sunlight into the tree, so prune off any crossing over branches or long stretched limbs.
Feed citrus tress in late winter or early spring by applying a complete citrus fertiliser, like Searles Fruit and Citrus Plant Food, or use a mixture of Blood and Bone, manure, potash and lime. Apply the fertiliser to the drip line of the tree and thoroughly water.
The best citrus trees are those which are watered and fed regularly. While its exciting to watch your citrus tree flower and start to bear their first fruit, it is recommended to remove this early crop before it is able to develop to allow the tree to instead establish a healthy root system. This will help the young tree to anchor itself into the garden and protect it from drought and wind damage. Allow your tree to reach a healthy size before it bears its first crop of fruit.
Two common pests to look out for in citrus are Citrus Leafminer and Queensland Fruit Fly.
Leafminer can be controlled with Searles Ecofend Fruit & Garden spray, which is 100% organic.
Use a Fruit Fly Trap to monitor the presence of fruit fly which will sting and spoil the fruit. Find out more about controlling fruit flies at Searles Gardening.
Searles Fruit & Citrus Food is a blend of organic and inorganic fertilisers plus essential trace elements, which combine to aid healthy root and leaf growth and to provide nutrients to help achieve large juicy fruit.
🍋Blend of organic and inorganic fertilisers.
🍑Promotes strong healthy plant growth.
🍏Promotes healthy fruit.
🍊Ideal for citrus trees such as lemons, orange, mandarins, grapefruit, limes, cumquats.
🍓Ideal for fruits and berries such as apples, pear, apricots, strawberries, etc.
If you don’t have the space the put a tree in the garden, there are plenty dwarf varieties available that can be grown in a large pot. Be sure to use a good quality potting mix and don’t let them dry out.