Growing and Planting Citrus Trees

Varieties Grown:

Navel oranges
Sweet oranges
Valencia oranges
Pigmented/Burgundy oranges
Grapefruit White/Pink
Grapefruit Pummelo Hybrids

Soil: Citrus trees do best on well drained loam or sandy loam soils.

Planting Time: Trees can be planted any time after the danger of frost has passed.

Planting: Holes for planting the trees need be only deep enough to accommodate the ball of soil surrounding the root system and wide enough to permit easy filling. If the holes are unnecessarily deep, there will be excessive settling after planting. Be careful not to drop or break the ball of soil surrounding the root system. Trees set too deep are likely to be killed by brown rot gummosis, which frequently develops where the soil comes into contact with the bark.

Irrigation: The most important point in caring for young trees is to see that they get sufficient water without being over-irrigated. For newly planted trees, throw up a small basin around the newly planted tree and irrigate it thoroughly. Under most conditions, water every week or ten days during the first year and about every 2 weeks for the next two or three years. If drip irrigation is used, water is generally applied in smaller amounts but much more frequently.

Sun protection: Citrus tree bark is paper thin and is susceptible to sunburn. To protect the trees from sunburn during the first year, wrap the trunks in several thickness of newspaper and tie loosely. Mature trees can be protected by covering the trunk with a white latex paint.
Fertilization: Fertilizers can be more safely applied to the surface of the soil after trees have been planted. Apply fertilizer about three times a year, January/February, April/ May, and August/September.

Cross Pollination: With the exception of Clementine mandarin, Minneola tangelo, and Orlando tangelo, citrus trees do not need cross pollination and can be grown as single trees.

Pruning: Avoid pruning young trees as much as possible. Pruning of citrus trees for fruit production should be confined almost entirely to removing dead and broken limbs. All shoot growth may be removed from the tree trunk up to the first scaffold branches. Do not remove low hanging branches; they bear fruits which are within reach and shade the trunk and the ground so weeds do not grow under trees.

Scaly bark
Stubborn disease
Quick decline
Fruit drop

Scale insects
Citrus thrips
Asian citrus psyllid

Frost: Prune frost injury only after you know the extent of injury. Citrus trees in many sections of California occasionally suffer serious injury from cold. It is impossible to determine the full extent of the injury for several months. In cases of sever injury to large trees, the dying back may continue during an entire season following the freeze. During this period little can be done, and treatment should be postponed.

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