- Growing conditions
- Soil type
1.1 Growing conditions
Being a tropical and subtropical crop, citrus can be grown in a belt between 40 °N and 40 °S, except at high elevations. Minimum temperature and its duration time are the limiting growth factors sensitivity depends on variety, rootstock, dormancy of the trees and the absolute minimum temperature and its duration.
Intensive citrus cultivationrequires the use of fertilizers, close monitoring and control of pests, diseases and weeds, effective irrigation and control of tree size. The trees begin their productive life on the third year, and peak productivity takes place when the trees are 10-30 years old, average yields under these conditions are 30-60 t/ha.
Extensive citrus cultivationrequires with the use of fertilizers, but only moderate monitoring and control of pests, diseases and weeds. They are generally rain-fed only. Their productive life starts on the fourth year, and peak productivity takes place when the trees are 8-15 years old, average yields under these conditions are 15-25 t/ha.
1.2 Soil type
Citrus can be grown on a wide variety of soils, from sand to loam and clay. Both acidic and alkaline soils are acceptable.
The genus Citrus is an evergreen tree belonging to the family Rutaceae. It has about 150 genera and 1500 species, all native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Asia and the Malay Archipelago.
The principal citrus scions are:
- Orange (C. sinensis Osbeck)
- Mandarin (C. reticulata Blanco)
- Lemon (C. limon [L.] Burm.)
- Lime (C. aurantifolia [Christ.] Swing.
- Grapefruit (C. paradisi Macf.)
- Pomelo (C. grandis [L.] Osbeck)
The most commonly used rootstocks are:
- Rangpur lime (C. limonia Osbeck)
- Rough lemon (C. jambhiri Lush.)
- Sour orange (C. aurantium L.)
- Cleopatra mandarin (C.reshni Hort.)
- Trifoliata (P. trifoliata [L.] Raf.)
Both arid and humid climates are acceptable. As citrus trees are sensitive to low temperatures, the limiting parameter for growing citrus is the minimum temperature prevailing in winter time.
Irrigation is one of the most important factors in producing a good yield of quality citrus. Irrigation scheduling, knowing how much water to put on and when, has a direct impact on tree health as well as fruit yield, size and quality. Without correct irrigation scheduling, orchard is more susceptible to nutrient deficiencies, physiological disorders, pests and disease.
Correct irrigation scheduling requires an understanding of:
- How much water can be held in the crop root zone
- How much water the crop uses each day
- How much water the irrigation system applies.
Shallow root system
Citrus have a shallow root system. It is important to aim irrigation at the effective root zone, minimizing the amount of water leaching past. For citrus, the effective root zone is usually in the top 30 to 40 cm, depending on the soil type.
How much water can the root zone hold?
The amount of water that can be held in the root zone and thus available to the tree varies with the irrigation system, soil type, depth of the effective root zone, and proportion of stone or gravel in the soil.
Examples of water holding capacity
Both trees in this example (Fig. 1) are the same size (9 m2canopy area) growing in a hedge row in a loam soil. The root-zone depth of both trees is 30 cm. One tree is irrigated with two drippers, the other with a fully overlapping micro sprinkler system. The tree irrigated with two drippers has only 34 liters of readily available water. The tree irrigated with the fully overlapping sprinkler system has a much larger volume of readily available water (189 liters). The more soil is wetted within the root zone, the greater the volume of readily available water.
Figure 1: Example of water holding capacity
To schedule irrigation, the amount of water available in the crop root zone with the tree’s daily water requirement should be compared. If the daily water requirement exceeds the amount of water that can be held in the root zone, there will be a need to irrigate more than once a day. If the soil can hold more than the daily water requirement, there is an option of irrigating when the available water is depleted (this may be every second or third day).
Rainfall during the irrigation season may reduce the irrigation requirement of trees. Not all rainfall is available to the trees; some is lost to run-off, percolation below the root zone, and interception by leaf litter or mulch.
Over-irrigation, especially surface irrigation, may wet the trunks of the trees and increase the incidence of root rot caused byPhytophthora.Lime-induced chlorosis can be aggravated by over-irrigation, and tends to be reduced by drip irrigation. Irrigation timing is considered crucial for reproductive development, fruit set and fruit enlargement. However, cropping in one season influences both root extension and top growth, often with a carry-over effect on yield in the successive year.
The following recommendations are for healthy and productive orchatd. Citrus orchards that above average yield is expected, there is a need to increase the irrigated water quantity by 10% as of the bearing fruit stage (early summer).
Irrigation schedule should start according the soil moisture that can be determined by soil samples with auger ortensiometers(a moisture measurement tool). It directly measures the physical force that the root system must overcome in order to access water held in the soil (also known as matric potential).
Placement of tensiometersin the orchard, according to the irrigation method:
- Drip irrigation – 15-20 cm of the second emitter from the tree’s trunk.
- Micro-sprinkler – 0.5 m from the mini sprinkler.
- Sprinkler – 1 m from the sprinkler.
Depth placement of tensiometers:
Upper– 20-30 cm deep (most of the active root zone) and the reading from this tensiometer with determine the irrigation schedule.
Lower– 50-60 cm deep, verifies the irrigated depth.
Irrigation intervalswill be determent by the age of the citrus orchard or tree size, irrigation method, soil type and the daily water requirement (Table 1).
Table 1: Irrigating intervals (days):
Irrigation of young orchard (up to 4 years from planting):
The water quantities are per single tree and related to irrigation method to the tree size.
Table 2: Drip irrigated young citrus orchard (up to 4 years from planting)
All emitters open
Irrigation of bearing trees
Due to the variation in water consumption between different growing areas, varieties, expected yield, soil type, drainage problems and so on, it is impossible to provide irrigation schedule that will fit all citrus orchards.
It is important to use additional parameters to determine irrigation schedule:
- Soil sampling auger
- Measuring fruit size.
How to calculate the water requirement
The daily required amount of water is calculated by multiplying the seasonalirrigation factor, varies from area to area and differs according to varieties, by transpiration factor generated from a Class 'A' Pan Evaporation data. To determine the required water quantity, the daily quantity should be multiplied by number of days from the last irrigation (irrigation cycle).
Irrigation factor- is the correlation between the transpiration from the tree and the evaporation from Class 'A' Pan (Evapotranspiration) of a citrus orchard during a particular period.
Group A:Varieties no fear of too large fruit size and plots with above average yield.
Group B:Varieties with low yield and fear of oversized fruits.
Group C:Late grapefruit varieties – yield less than 60 ton/ha, Topaz variety yields less than 40 ton/ha.
Group D:As of late spring, irrigation according to fruit size.
Table 3: Irrigation factors according to different citrus groups
Irrigation according to fruit size
Example of calculation:
0.55 (irrigation factor)X7 mm (daily evaporation data from Class 'A' Pan)X 4 days irrigation interval=15.4 mm, orX 10 = 154 m3water/ha.
1.6 Planting density and expected yield
Tree spacing is affected by factors such as the species of citrus concerned, the cultivar, type of rootstock, environment, size of the orchard and the management practices the grower will be using. For example, if a grower uses machinery, he must leave enough space between the rows for the machines to pass when the trees are mature. Site quality in terms of soil characteristics and water availability should be considered. Expected lifetime of the orchard is also important and may be influenced by freeze potential, disease incidence, or non-agricultural development potential. Thus, decisions must be based on a number of situations.
Spacing of 6 - 7.5 mbetween rows and a middle width of 2 to 2.5 m provides adequate access for production and harvesting operations. Within this range, more vigorous trees, such as: grapefruit, lemons, tangelos, and other varieties with more spreading growth habits should be planted at wider spacings than oranges.
Spacing wider than 7.5 mtake longer to fill their allocated space, thus reducing early yield potential.
Spacings between rows as close as 4.5 mcan be managed with conventional production equipment with timely row middle hedging, however, fruit handling at these closer row spacings becomes a problem.
Spacing in the row of 3 to 4.5 mis considered suitable for new plantings. Tree vigor, site selection and external fruit quality requirements again are important considerations within this range. With the rapid tree growth occurring in many new plantings, trees at this spacing will grow together to form a continuous hedgerow relatively early in the life of the planting.
Spacings less than 3 min the row have been tried experimentally and in a few commercial plantings. However, trees planted too closely may compete with each other for space at such an early age (before significant production) that the advantage of the higher density does not justify the additional cost of trees. Spacing trees at regular intervals in the row is preferable to grouping trees. For example, regular 3 m spacing is more desirable than grouping two trees 1.5 m apart and then skipping 4.5 m, even though the tree density per an area is the same.
Tree densitiesrange from 286 trees per hectare for the 4.5 X 6.5 m spacing, to 540 trees per hectare for the 3 x 6 m arrangement. Small acreages of densities of up to 865 trees per hectare might be considered on a trial basis.
Tree vigor is of fundamental importance in determining the tree spacing, density, topping, and hedging in new citrus orchards. Citrus tree are flexible and adapt to arrangement of space allocations. Adaptability is limited, however, and maximum economic returns are generated only when tees perform well within their allocated space.
Need more information about growing citrus? You can always return to thecitrus tree fertilizer& citruscrop guidetable of contents
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Citrus trees need well-draining soil. If they sit in too much water, the roots can rot. If the soil is not well-drained, plant the trees on a slight mound to prevent waterlogging. Citrus trees prefer slightly acidic soil, so consider testing the pH of your planting site and amending accordingly.Do you need 2 citrus trees to produce fruit? ›
There is always a lot of confusion about fruit trees, and how exactly to make sure they carry fruit. Some, like apples, need another variety to pollinate them, but citrus do not. Just one tree will produce a big crop, with no need for a second one of a different variety.How many times a year do citrus trees produce fruit? ›
Orange trees are evergreen but, unlike many limes and lemons, do not produce fruit continually throughout the year. Each tree produces one crop of fruit per year, with the fruiting cycle taking up to 10 months for some varieties.How many times a year do you fertilize citrus trees? ›
The best citrus tree fertilizer to use is a slow release, low nitrogen fertilizer. Fertilize your citrus tree every 2 months during its first growing season. After that, you'll want a citrus tree fertilizer with a 2-1-1 ratio and we recommend that you fertilize 3 times a year—preferably in February, May and October.What is the best growing medium for citrus trees? ›
The best type of soil for container grown citrus is a potting mix with a combination of compost, coconut coir or peat moss, and vermiculite or perlite. Learn more about this soil combination here.Can you plant different citrus trees next to each other? ›
If maintained and pruned well, citrus trees make excellent companions with other citrus trees, regardless of variety, when planted 2 to 5 feet apart as evergreen espaliers, hedges, or living fences, or when planted intensively with up to four trees planted in a single hole and grown as a single tree.Do lemon and lime trees cross pollinate? ›
Since lemon trees are self-pollinating, or self-fruitful, they don't need pollen from another tree's flowers to produce fruit.Do you water citrus trees everyday? ›
With ground-planted citrus trees, watering should happen about once a week, whether from rainfall or manually. Be sure the area has excellent drainage and that you soak the ground deeply at each watering. If the drainage is poor, the tree will get too much water.What is the lifespan of citrus? ›
For most citrus trees, the average lifespan of a growing tree is 50 years. This applies to lemon, orange, and even dwarf citrus trees. Fruit production generally begins between ages 2 and 5. Most trees will produce throughout their entire life once they reach maturity.What do you put around citrus trees? ›
Hardwood or Pinebark Mulch from Richgro, will work best for citrus trees and help you reduce the household's water consumption. Note that mulch shouldn't touch the trunk of the tree. Citrus plants are very adaptable and can thrive even in 'poor' soil.
Citrus are usually fertilized three times a year - For oranges, tangerines, and grapefruit, use 1/3 the recommended annual amount in Jan/Feb, 1/3 in Mar/Apr and 1/3 in May/June. For lemons and limes, use 1/3 the recommended annual amount in Jan/Feb, 1/3 in Mar/Apr and 1/3 in Aug/Sept..Are coffee grounds good for citrus trees? ›
Coffee grounds make a great add-on to the citrus tree care routine. They are loaded with nutrients that the citrus trees need to thrive, including nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, boron, copper, iron, and zinc. The most important nutrient is nitrogen, which is only two percent of the weightage.When should you not fertilize citrus trees? ›
Begin fertilizing potted citrus trees in early spring and stop in midsummer to allow your tree to prepare for winter. You can either use a slow-release fertilizer once a year in early spring or a liquid fertilizer every other week.What is 5-1-1 mix for citrus? ›
We recommend using a commercially available citrus potting mix like our Primo Potting Mix or making our 5-1-1 mix. This mix consists of 5 parts fine bark(aim for 1/2" pieces), 1 part perlite, and one part potting soil. This mix will break down very slowly, allow for adequate drainage, promote healthy root growth.What makes citrus trees grow faster? ›
Fertilize the lemon tree each month from spring to summer for the first year with a fertilizer containing nitrogen. In subsequent years, space the fertilizing every four to six weeks. Apply the fertilizer evenly over the ground above the roots.How do you increase citrus yield? ›
Applying the nitrogen in late winter (prior to bloom) and early spring will help the trees produce flowers and quality fruit. Apply the fertilizer in the root zone beneath the canopy. Avoid fertilizing during summer and fall as it may delay fruit coloring and affect fruit quality.What is the best spacing for citrus trees? ›
Spacing– standard-sized citrus trees should be spaced 12-25 feet apart while dwarf citrus trees should be set 6-10 feet apart. The exact distance however depends on the variety.Can you plant a lime and lemon tree together? ›
Also known as a cocktail tree, the lemon lime tree is an incredible plant: it grows both lemons and limes! Through grafting or planting two trees in the same pot, the Meyer lemon and the classic key lime combine into one tree, and one single delicious fruit.Can I plant an orange tree next to a lemon tree? ›
Q: Will growing a lemon or grapefruit tree next to my orange tree make the oranges sour if they cross-pollinate? A: No, cross-pollination, if it occurs, will only affect the seed inside the fruit that resulted from the cross-pollination. The fruit itself will be true to type. This is true for many other crops, too.Do hummingbirds pollinate citrus trees? ›
Do Hummingbirds Pollinate Fruit Trees? One of the most common questions people ask about hummingbirds is whether or not they pollinate fruit trees. The answer is yes; hummingbirds do pollinate fruit trees!
Limes are picked when they are fully grown, but still green and unripe. If Limes are allowed to fully ripen on the tree, they actually turn from green to yellow. Because of this, some people believe (erroneously) that Limes are just unripe Lemons. Whereas, truth to tell, even the Lemons that we buy are unripe Lemons.How long does it take for a lemon or lime tree to produce fruit? ›
Most citrus varieties are self-fertile, so only one tree is typically needed for fruit production. On average, fruit bearing begins when the trees are between 3 and 6 years old.How do you winterize citrus trees? ›
Move the trees to a south-facing window or a bright room where they will receive maximum light. A temperature range between 55 and 68 degrees F is ideal. Keep them away from heating vents or drafty areas. Citrus trees require humidity, so you should provide a supplemental form of humidity.What does overwatered citrus look like? ›
A tree with yellow or cupped leaves, or leaves that don't look perky AFTER watering can indicate excessive watering and soggy roots. Give your tree water less often. Citrus prefer infrequent, deep watering to frequent, shallow sprinklings.At what temperature does citrus stop growing? ›
Citrus grow best between 55°F and 85°F. They can tolerate warmer or cooler temperatures (down to about freezing or below depending on the variety) for very short periods of time but avoid abrupt temperature shifts.Are citrus trees high maintenance? ›
Citrus trees are typically considered to be medium to low maintenance trees, but now is time to provide some of that care. Check your citrus trees for scales now.What temperature can citrus survive? ›
Most citrus trees can handle a light frost, but any temperature below 32°F can be detrimental to its health. Keep your tree inside until you are sure the last spring frost in your area has passed, and the average nightly temperature is above 40°F before preparing to move your citrus tree outside.Can I use Miracle Gro All Purpose on citrus trees? ›
Miracle-Gro Citrus Tree Fertilizer
Since it contains essential nutrients, you can use it on citrus, mango, and avocado trees.
Because Epsom salt is a form of magnesium, it is an effective and convenient soil amendment for treating magnesium deficiency in lemon trees. It is important that your lemon tree has enough magnesium in order to thrive and produce fruit for years to come.Why do farmers cover citrus trees? ›
Cross pollination by bees in citrus crops causes seeds in easy peel oranges. California has been netting oranges to protect against cross pollination by bees for 6 years, since 2008. Seedless oranges are achieved by using a fine mesh polyethylene net to entirely cover rows of oranges.
Composted manure is organic citrus fertilizer that can be added to the soil around the base of the tree or used as mulch. It is an excellent source of organic matter and other nutrients for citrus trees.When not to prune citrus? ›
Citrus trees are best pruned just before bloom in early spring or just after fruit set in late spring. I would avoid pruning in late summer or early fall. Late pruning can encourage tender growth to appear, and this new growth is susceptible to frost damage since it has not hardened off.Are eggshells good for citrus trees? ›
Yes! They're packed with calcium, which both plants and worms love. You can add them as they are, but it's best to crush them first for the best results. You can also use them to create a slow-release calcium mixture - great for citrus.Is baking soda good for citrus trees? ›
Baking soda on plants causes no apparent harm and may help prevent the bloom of fungal spores in some cases. It is most effective on fruits and vegetables off the vine or stem, but regular applications during the spring can minimize diseases such as powdery mildew and other foliar diseases.Do citrus trees need a lot of water? ›
General Guidelines. When grown in a container, citrus plants prefer a deep watering over frequent, light watering. Deep watering promotes deeper root growth and strengthens your tree. It's fine to allow the top of the soil to dry out, but the roots like to be moist.Can you over fertilize citrus trees? ›
Over-fertilization can manifest in several symptoms in fruit trees. Adding too much nitrogen, for example, can cause an explosion of leafy growth with no fruit. However, overloading the tree with other nutrients can create even more issues.Can you over water citrus trees? ›
Citrus trees often lose their leaves or turn yellow when they get overwatered. Let's talk about why, and what options you have for remedy. Overwatering can cause leaves to yellow due to lack of oxygen in the soil.Can you use all purpose fertilizer on citrus trees? ›
Many people use an all-purpose fertilizer to feed their citrus, which is absolutely fine. You can also purchase fertilizers that are formulated for the specific needs of citrus or fruiting trees. Whichever you use, pay attention to the amount of nitrogen you're applying.Is 20-20-20 fertilizer good for lemon trees? ›
A fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 20-20-20 has double the concentration of nutrients compared to a fertilizer with a 10-10-10 ratio. When it comes to fertilizing lemon trees, a ratio where each number is no higher than eight is sufficient.What is the best rooting hormone for citrus? ›
What's the best rooting hormone for citrus cuttings? To have high success rates with your citrus cuttings, you'll need to use a rooting hormone. Ryan recommends (and used) a dilution of Dip n' Grow rooting hormone.
Fertilizers are generally labeled with numeric ratios such as 3-1-1. Those numbers reflect the ratio of nitrogen (N) to phosphorus (P) to potassium (K), or N-P-K. Because citrus likes a lot of nitrogen, you want to purchase a fertilizer with at least a 2-1-1 ratio, or twice as much nitrogen as phosphorus and potassium.How do I make my citrus tree sweeter? ›
Overall, there is little you can do to increase the sweetness of the fruit. Fertilize the tree in early February using a general-purpose fertilizer or citrus tree fertilizer following label directions, but it will likely have little effect on the sugar content of the fruit. (Sugar is manufactured in the leaves.)What is the best citrus fertilizer? ›
Most citrus growers in our area will use 13-13-13 fertilizer the first 3 years. The first 3 years the tree is to develop the root system. If fruit develops it is necessary to pick it off to allow for the root development. Trees 4 years and older can use 13-13-13 but 15-5-10 is the preferred fertilizer.How much Epsom salts for citrus trees? ›
There are a number of reasons why your lemon tree leaves could be turning yellow. The most common cause it a lack of magnesium in the soil. Epsom Salts helps correct magnesium deficiency, mix 30g of Epsom Salts per litre of water (approximately 2 tablespoons), per tree.When and how often to fertilize citrus trees? ›
The best citrus tree fertilizer to use is a slow release, low nitrogen fertilizer. Fertilize your citrus tree every 2 months during its first growing season. After that, you'll want a citrus tree fertilizer with a 2-1-1 ratio and we recommend that you fertilize 3 times a year—preferably in February, May and October.How many citrus trees can you plant per acre? ›
For the orange trees, an average of 20 X 20 feet (6 X 6 meters) distance is often used. Under this scheme, we will have about 109 trees per acre, or 270 trees per hectare. In some countries, a common planting pattern is 25 x 20 feet (7,5 X 6m), which results in 87 trees per acre, or 215 trees per hectare.Will a single lemon tree produce fruit? ›
Lemon trees are self-pollinating, so you don't require an additional tree for the production of fruit. Don't worry if you notice your tree loaded with blooms that don't produce fruit and instead fall from the branches. It's normal for some of the blooms to be sterile and drop from the tree.What citrus is self-pollinating? ›
Meyer lemons are “self-pollinating,” which means you don't need a second tree to get fruit. The pollen on the tree will cling to the stigmas in other flowers, which creates the little lemons. Outside, wind and insects will do the pollinating for you, but inside it may need assistance.Do you need 2 grapefruit trees to produce fruit? ›
Grapefruit flowers are self-pollinating. The pollen from the tree's flowers pollinates the other flowers: there is no need for a second tree. The grapefruit tree depends on bees and other insects to spread the pollen from blossom to blossom.Are Meyer lemon trees self-pollinating? ›
Pollination Tips for Indoor Lemon Trees
Meyer Lemon Trees are self fertile which means you only need one plant to get fruit. When you grow fruiting plants inside you can have a reduction of pollination because you tend to have stagnant air and a lack of insects.
When grown outdoors in warm climates, regular lemon trees grow 20 feet tall and take up to six years to bear fruit.How big is a 2 year old lemon tree? ›
2-3 Year Old (Approx. 2-3 Ft) Meyer Lemon Tree.Can one tree grow both lemons and limes? ›
The lemon lime tree, also referred to as the “cocktail tree,” is a remarkable plant that can produce both lemons and limes from a single tree.Can you cross pollinate a lemon and an orange? ›
Citrus plants easily cross-pollinate, but most do not require cross-pollination to produce fruit. Seeds resulting from cross-pollinating between lemon and orange trees, however, may produce a plant that bears fruit that cross between lemon and orange.Do ants pollinate citrus? ›
Some ants are attracted to the nectar in citrus blossoms, thus acting as pollinators.What 2 fruits are crossed to make the grapefruit? ›
Most botanists agree that the grapefruit is a cross between a pummelo and a sweet orange . Grapefruit, like all citrus fruit, is a Hesperidum, or a large modified berry with a thick rind.How many years does it take for a grapefruit tree to bear fruit? ›
Q: How long does it take for a grapefruit tree to bear fruit? A: On average, a grapefruit tree will take at least three years to produce quality fruit for consumption. Before this, growers should remove any budded fruit so that the tree's energy can be utilized for growth instead.What is the lifespan of a grapefruit tree? ›
Grapefruit trees can live to be 50 years under ideal conditions but insects, diseases, and user errors often take their toll and shorten life spans.Are coffee grounds good for Meyer lemon trees? ›
Are coffee grounds good for lemon trees? You can use coffee grounds to feed lemon trees and improve soil tilth but only after the coffee grounds have been fully decomposed. Composted coffee grounds contain high doses of nitrogen that speed up the growth and development of the lemon tree.How many times a year does a Meyer lemon tree produce fruit? ›
Meyer lemon trees will fruit either indoors or outdoors once or twice a year, with especially abundant harvests in fall and winter. If your Meyer lemon tree is located outdoors, pollination should take care of itself.
The good news is, you can tell the difference between Meyer lemons and regular lemons just by looking at them. Regular lemons are much larger in size and brighter in color when compared to Meyer Lemons. Meyer lemons have deep yellow skin and dark yellow pulp. Their skin is smoother than that of a regular lemon.