Citrus Information

The Citrus Fruiting Season

The citrus fruiting season can begin as early as mid April and last until late November.

 

Citrus Prefer

Citrus prefer well-drained soil in a sunny position and protected from strong winds.

Planting the tree on a built up soil mound may be required in poorly drained soils.

Trees grown in Pots or Containers can be planted any time of the year, however if planted in summer extra watering may be necessary. Containers should be at least 400mm high and 400mm wide.

If fertilizer is to be added at planting stage, use only slow release types: otherwise, commence fertilizing in March/April and again in August/September when the tree is established and new leaf growth is evident.

 

Planting 

If more than one tree is planted allow 2 to 3 meters minimum between trees. 

Allow an even greater distance if larger trees are already established.

Mulch around the tree as this will help keep moisture in and keep the area close to the tree weed free. 

Do not allow lawn grass to grow within 1 metre to the new tree.

Avoid planting your citrus tree in an active vegetable garden as overwatering can occur.

 

Planting in Ground

To plant a tree in the ground, dig the hole slightly larger than the root system of the plant. Remove the tree from its container and place tree in the hole making sure the bud union is at least 10cm above soil level. Fill with soil leaving no air pockets.

Water well and repeat the next day, then twice weekly for 3 weeks then weekly for first growing season.

 

Planting in Pots 

Place a small quantity of quality potting mix in a pot or tub, remove plant from its container and place into pot, keeping the bud union at least 10cm above the soil level. Fill with soil leaving no air pockets.

Water regularly, avoid water logging your potted citrus tree.

Containerized citrus do well in courtyards, patios, balconies and decks.

                                                                                                                         

Dwarf Citrus tree in pot. Pot is 400mm wide x 400mm deep.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Fertilizing

Fertilize twice a year, once during mid March to Mid April and again during mid August to mid September.

Use a slow release complete fertilizer of citrus food. Spread the fertilizer within the drip line of the tree leaves. Mulch well around the tree to retain moisture, use an animal manure if you wish, it's a natural product that works well.

Continued use of some types of granular fertilizer may lower pH, making soil more acidic, which can make uptake of fertilizer difficult for the plant to grow well. pH of 6 - 6.5 is ideal. Use Dolomite or Ag Lime to remedy low pH problems.

 

  Light Pruning

Lightly prune to shape the tree or cut out dead or swollen branches, this is best done in July or August.

Always prune any shoots/suckers that are growing around or below the bud union.

 

Heavy Pruning 

Heavy pruning is usually not required when growing citrus in the home garden.

Always prune any shoots/suckers that are growing around or below the bud union.

 

Care

Care for your tree by keeping the area around the tree moist without water-logging the soil, especially in spring at flowering and fruit set.

Soil types will determine frequency of watering, sandy soils will require more water than clay soils.

Always prune any shoots/suckers that are growing around or below the bud union.

 

Leaf Miner

The presence of the Leaf Miner insect is characterized by silver trails just under the surface of the leaf on new growth resulting in curled and deformed leaves.

Control is more important on a young tree as leaf miner will stunt the tree's growth if left unattended.

Spray oils can be an effective treatment, many oil sprays are organic and quite safe. Consult your gardening centre for product advice in controlling leaf miner.

 

Scale Insects

There are a number of Scale Insects; however all have the same effect on the tree. They suck sap from the plant and the depletion of sap may cause dieback of branches.

A secondary effect of feeding scale insects is the growth of sooty mould on the leaf, fruit and branches. This mould grows on the sugary secretions from the scale.

Spray oils can be an effective treatment; again many oils are organic and quite safe. Consult your gardening centre for product advice.

 

Gall Wasp

The presence of large swellings or bulges on the branches of the tree indicates that Gall Wasp is active. The wasp emerges from the gall from August to November. The wasp lives for 3 to 4 days and lays its eggs in the branches of the citrus tree. It is the tree's 'reaction' to this egg-laying which produces the next years Gall Wasp.

The best and most effective control is cutting off the swollen branches and burning them to completely destroy the Gall Wasp cycle. Spraying is often ineffective.

 

Quality Citrus Trees are Budded/Grafted to a Rootstock

The ancient techniques of Budding or Grafting are indisputably the best way to grow a citrus tree. A tree grown this way will ensure a tree that has resistance to pests and diseases and will give fruit for many many years. No other techniques are as successful.

Some rootstock names are:

  • Trifoliata
  • Swingle Citrumelo
  • Cox Hybrid
  • Benton Citrange
  • Troyer Citrange
  • Flying Dragon

 

Dwarf Citrus
 

5 Yr old Dwarf Eureka Lemon Tree on Dwarf (Flying Dragon) rootstock
 

Dwarf Citrus are citrus varieties budded onto the internationally recognized Flying Dragon Rootstock. No other rootstock will produce a Dwarf Tree.

The flying dragon rootstock is root disease resistant as well as cold tolerant. The tree grown on this rootstock grows to about 1.5 - 2 meters in size which is about half the size of a normal citrus tree depending on the variety of tree. 

Dwarf Citrus trees grow well and are as strong as general types of citrus trees with the same quality and size of fruit.

They are ideal for small gardens, courtyards, decks or balconies. Plant them in tubs, planter boxes or other large containers and they will do well for many years provided they are repotted every 2-3 years in new good quality potting mix and selectively pruned.

Dwarf Citrus can also be field planted at very high density with spacing between trees being as close as 1.5 to 2metres. Care for this tree in the same manner as general citrus trees.

Growing a citrus tree from cuttings will not produce a dwarf tree.


6 year old Mandarin Tree on Dwarf (Flying Dragon) Rootstock

 

We Don't Rename Existing Varieties OR Grow Trees from Cuttings  

Inventing new names for currently available varieties and marketing them as a new variety is a practice that we don't believe in.

We also don't believe in the growing technique of 'cutting-grown' citrus. This technique creates a tree that in all likelihood has a short life and has poor resistance to pests and disease. Cutting-grown trees do not have the strength of a rootstock base which gives a citrus tree the strength to grow, thrive and survive.

Citrus trees grown from cuttings are a quick method to grow a tree for retail outlets. Most if not all cutting-grown citrus are existing citrus varieties that have been renamed.