Florida Landscaping Blog
Citrus Tree Care
Edible landscaping is becoming more important in our Florida landscapes.
Citrus trees are both useful as ornamental trees and can provide an abundance of delicious fruit for the homeowner. Citrus requires regular maintenance in the landscape. Irrigation, fertilization, weed, pest
and disease control are all important considerations when planning and implementing an edible land scape. They are many different types of cultivars of citrus such as oranges, grapefruit and limes.
There will usually not be a choice of root stocks available to the homeowner purchasing a small number of trees. Citrus tree should be purchased from a reputable source that has produced a budded/grafted tree on an appropriate rootstock for your cultivar and geographic location.
Citrus trees can be grown on most soil types if proper preparation and care is provided. Well drained sands need little preparation other than removal of weeds and grass from the plan ting site prior to planting.
Poorly drained soils will need to have drainage provided or the tree should be planted on large mounds approximately 12 feet in diameter and at least 18 to 24 inches high.
Regular application of fertilizer is essential to proper growth and develop ment of the young tree in the production of large crops of good-quality fruit in the mature tree.
Over fertilization may produce rampant growth at the expense of fruit production and can injure or kill trees. Two fertilization schedules are recommended; frequent light fertilization for young, non-bearing trees to maximize growth. As a general rule of thumb, bearing tree should be fertilized 3 × per year with the same 8:8:8 or similar fertilizer recommended for young trees. The amount applied is graduall y increased about 1 pound per year up to a maximum of 8 pounds. This would mean that a fully grown tree would be receiving approximately 24 pounds of fertilizer in 3 separate 8 pound applications. Tree condition should be used as a guide to rates of applied material with noticeably deficient trees receiving more material and luxurious, vegetative trees receiving less. The recommended applications can be made in January to February, May to June and October to November, although timing is not especially critical.
A foliar or nutritional spray can be used to apply trace elements. Nutritional deficiency symptoms may develop in alkaline soils. Zinc, manganese, boron and copper are important trace elements. Iron deficiencies may occur; elemental sulfur and iron chelates can be applied.
Broadleaf and grassy weeds should be removed from under the tree canopy. Mulches are not recommended around citrus trees; however, if weed activity is becoming a problem, I would recommend mulching at least 1 foot away from the tree trunk of the citrus tree. Pruning is only necessary when shaping is required or when water sprouts or suckers need to be removed.