Are you excited about planting your citrus tree?
We are certainly eager to help you! In this guide, you will find everything you need to grow a healthy citrus tree. Or, in other words, lemon trees, orange trees, mandarin trees, and so on. So let’s get down to the basics!
How to Plant a Citrus Tree?
Here are the basic steps to plant a citrus tree-
- Choose a suitable location
- Prepare the soil
- Dig a hole in the ground
- Put your plant or seed in the hole
- Water well
Now let’s discuss the considerations for each step.
Citrus grows well in sunny weather. But it is a bit vulnerable to frost.
- Choose a sunny location
- Plant near a house or wall to shield wind and frost
- Don’t plant near a fence or other trees
Citrus trees can grow on any soil as long as it’s well-drained. They grow best on sandy loam soils. You should aim for a pH of 6 to7.5.
- Use a rake and loosen the soil of the planting site (thrice the diameter of the pot)
- Dig a hole as deep as the roots
You can enrich the soil by adding (1 bucket per tree):
- Any organic material (well-rotted horse, sheep, or cow manure)
- Top-soils available in stores
- Tree planting fertilizers
Planting Your Citrus Tree
Make sure the root ball has enough moisture. Soak it with some water if it’s dry.
Tip: Don’t let commercial fertilizers come in direct contact with tender roots.
Plant Your Citrus Tree
If you have a seed, put it in the hole and cover with soil.
If you have a potted plant-
- Check if the root ball is dry or wet (soak it in water if it’s dry)
- Water the planting ground
- Wait till the water is drained
- Put your plant (don’t put too much soil on the root ball)
- Cover with soil
- Put some pressure using foot or hands
Watering Your Citrus Tree
You need to water citrus trees regularly for the first year. Go for deep watering (slow soaking) once or twice a week (for hot weather).
Once the tree takes roots, water it once every two or three weeks (more in hotter conditions).
Tip: You can plant your tree in spring, summer, and autumn. Avoid winter months if you experience freezing temperatures.
How to Fertilize Citrus Plants?
You can fertilize your tree according to the following schedule-
During Active Growth
- Once every one or two months (summer and spring months)
- Once every two to three months (during the dormant season in winter)
After Initial Growth
You should decrease fertilization in the dormant season once your citrus plant is big and strong. Try to fertilize your tree once every two or three months.
Best Time to Fertilize
Citrus trees need more nutrients between blooming and growing fruits. So ensure you fertilize your plant adequately during that time.
How to Fertilize
Try to follow the instructions if you use commercial fertilizer. You would either need to-
- Spray the fertilizer on leaves directly
- Spread the fertilizer around the base covering the diameter of the canopy
Tip: Don’t put fertilizers near the trunk.
Fertilizers for citrus trees should essentially contain nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous. You can also purchase fertilizers with added micronutrients like-
You can also use commercial balanced NPK fertilizers.
What is the Best Time to Trim Citrus Trees in Your Yard?
Citrus trees don’t need regular pruning. So the best time to prune depends on your objectives-
Dead branch removal: You can remove dead, dying, and diseased branches all throughout the year.
Canopy thinning: You can thin down the canopy to promote air circulation and proper growth of branches. The best time to thin the canopy is in mid to late spring before the tree bears flowers.
Height control: You can trim your tree to make it short during spring or late summer. Time the trimming before flowering or after harvest.
How to Trim a Citrus Tree?
The trimming technique depends on your needs-
Dead branch removal: You should remove the entire dead or diseased branch from the trunk.
Canopy thinning: You can trim only those branches that rub against one another. Else, you don’t need to trim the canopy.
Height control: Cut off the top branches if you want to control the height. It will make reaching for the fruits easier for you.
Shaping: You can shape and trim your tree as per your desires.
Tip: You don’t need to prune citrus trees to keep them healthy. Also, the more leaves you have, the better it is for the tree.
How to Replace a Citrus Tree?
We recommend you use a professional service to replace a citrus tree. It’s difficult to dig out a tree without harming the roots with regular gardening equipment. So professional help is the best way to save your tree.
Edward Flanagan is the founder of Edward’s Enterprises, a handyman service & licensed general contractor that has been improving homes and providing facilities maintenance in Southern California since 1996. Their landscaping services include yard work and landscape lighting improvements. Edward currently divides his time between Camarillo and Venice Beach, CA, and loves the 405.