Information About Citrus Trees

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Are Citrus Leaves Edible – Eating Orange And Lemon Leaves

By Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

Can you eat citrus leaves? Technically, you can, although some do not like the bitter taste they may have. As long as the leaves haven’t been treated with any chemicals though, they are harmless. Click here to learn about edible ways in which orange and lemon leaves are used.

Diplodia Citrus Rot – What Is Diplodia Stem-End Rot Of Citrus Trees

By Beverly Forehand

Diplodia stem-end rot of citrus is one of the most common post-harvest diseases. It is prevalent in Florida crops and elsewhere. Citrus stem-end rot can destroy valuable crops if not prevented by good after harvest care. Learn more in this article.

What Is Citrus Canker – How To Treat Citrus Canker Symptoms

By Amy Grant

Due to issues with citrus canker, there is still a quarantine regarding shipping or taking citrus across state lines. What exactly is citrus canker? Click here to learn about citrus canker symptoms and how to treat the disease should it appear in the home garden.

Citrus Scab Control: Tips On Treating Citrus Scab Disease

By Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden

If you grow citrus fruits in the home landscape, you may be familiar with citrus scab symptoms. If not, you may ask, what is citrus scab? This fungal disease results in warty scabs on the rind and, while still edible, it does reduce marketability. Learn more here.

Citrus Tree Pruning Guide: When To Prune Citrus Trees

By Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

Gardeners often assume that pruning citrus trees is much the same as pruning regular fruit trees, but it’s actually very different for a variety of reasons. Let’s explore the basics of citrus tree pruning in this article. Click here for additional information.

What Are Papedas – Identifying And Growing Papeda Fruits

By Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

What are papedas? They are the ancestors of many of our common citrus fruits. While edible, they are bitter and nearly unpalatable. However, some types of papeda make excellent rootstocks for modern citrus trees. Learn more about these citrus grandparents here.

Citrus Rust Mite Control: Learn How To Kill Citrus Rust Mites

By Liz Baessler

Citrus rust mites are pests that affect a variety of citrus trees. While they do not do any permanent or serious damage to the tree, they do make the fruit unsightly and virtually impossible to sell commercially. Learn more about managing them in this article.

What Is Oleocellosis – What Causes Spots On Citrus Fruit

By Amy Grant

Oleocellosis of citrus is not a disease but rather a phenomenon caused by mechanical injury that can occur any time during harvest, handling or marketing. The injury causes greenish/brown areas on the fruit’s peel. Learn more about it in this article.

My Citrus Stems Are Dying – Reasons For Citrus Limb Dieback

By Darcy Larum, Landscape Designer

While growing citrus fruits at home is usually a very rewarding activity, things can sometimes go wrong. One increasingly common problem is citrus twig dieback. In this article, we will go over the common reasons why twig dieback of citrus trees may occur.

Wood Rot In Citrus: What Causes Citrus Ganoderma Rot

By Teo Spengler

Citrus heart rot is an infection that causes the trunks of citrus trees to rot. If you are wondering what causes citrus ganoderma, click here. We’ll fill you in on the causes of ganoderma rot of citrus as well as what steps to take if this happens in your orchard.

Tristeza Virus Information – What Causes Citrus Quick Decline

By Liz Baessler

Citrus quick decline is a syndrome caused by the citrus tristeza virus (CTV). It kills citrus trees quickly and has been known to devastate orchards. Learn more about what causes citrus quick decline and how to stop citrus quick decline in this article.

Cotton Root Rot On Citrus Trees: Treating Citrus With Cotton Root Rot Disease

By Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Cotton root rot on citrus is one of the more devastating. It is caused by Phymatotrichum omnivorum, a fungus which attacks over 200 types of plants. A more in-depth look at citrus cotton root rot info can help prevent and combat this serious disease. Learn more here.

Citrus Melanose Fungus: Learn How To Treat Citrus Melanose Disease

By Mary Ellen Ellis

Citrus melanose is an infection that impacts all types of citrus trees, causing damage to leaves and fruit rinds. The pulp of the fruit is not usually affected, but the disease can harm the tree and leaves the fruit looking unattractive. Learn how to minimize melanose here.

What Is Citrus Psorosis – How To Prevent Citrus Psorosis Disease

By Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

Although there are several strains of citrus psorosis, the disease will affect productivity and kill the tree sooner or later. The good news is that the disease has diminished considerably over the past few decades. Learn more about this diseases by clicking here.

Sunscald On Citrus Trees: How To Deal With Sunburnt Citrus Plants

By Liz Baessler

Just like humans, trees can get sunburnt. But unlike humans, trees can take a very long time to recover. Sometimes they never completely do. Citrus trees can be very vulnerable to sunscald and sunburn. Learn how to prevent sunscald on citrus trees here.

What Causes Citrus Foot Rot: Controlling Citrus Gummosis In Gardens

By Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

Citrus foot rot isn’t curable but you may be able to prevent it from taking over your citrus orchards. Learn more about citrus gummosis problems and what you can do to prevent the disease from spreading in this article. Click here for additional information.

What Causes Citrus Slow Decline – How To Treat Citrus Slow Decline

By Teo Spengler

Citrus slow decline is both the name and description of a citrus tree problem. Pests called citrus nematodes infest the tree roots. If you grow citrus trees in your home orchard, you may need more information about slow decline of citrus. This article will help with that.

How To Treat Citrus Exocortis – Managing Citrus Exocortis Symptoms

By Mary Ellen Ellis

Citrus exocortis is a disease that impacts some citrus trees, particularly those of a specific rootstock known as trifoliate. If you don?t have that rootstock, your trees are most likely safe but there is still a possibility they can be infected. This article has more information.

What Causes Citrus Flyspeck – Treating Symptoms Of Flyspeck Fungus

By Mary Ellen Ellis

Growing citrus trees can be a great joy, providing a beautiful landscaping element, shade, screening and, of course, delicious homegrown fruit. And there is nothing worse than going to harvest and finding they have been damaged by the flyspeck fungus. Learn more here.

Citrus Sooty Mold Info: How To Get Rid Of Sooty Mold On Citrus Trees

By Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

Citrus sooty mold isn?t actually a plant disease but a black, powdery fungus that grows on branches, leaves and fruit. Click the following article for tips on controlling citrus sooty mold, along with the insects that create conditions ripe for fungal growth.

Phytophthora Root Rot In Citrus – What Causes Citrus Feeder Root Rot

By Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden

Citrus feeder root rot is a frustrating problem for orchard owners and those who grow citrus in the home landscape. Learning how this problem occurs and what can be done about it is your first step in its prevention and treatment. This article will help.

Stylar End Rot Information – Managing Fruit With Stylar End Rot

By Mary Ellen Ellis

Citrus fruits can be damaged by a disease called stylar end rot or black rot. The stylar end, or the navel, of the fruit may crack, become discolored, and begin to decay because of infection by a pathogen. Protect your citrus crop with information from this article.

Citrus Tree Fruiting – When Will My Citrus Tree Fruit

By Mary Ellen Ellis

The best thing about growing citrus trees is getting to harvest and eat the fruits. As you get into citrus trees, know that you won?t necessarily get fruit right away. You may have to be patient with citrus tree fruiting, but it is worth the wait. Learn more here.

Fruit Thinning In Citrus: Why Should You Thin Citrus Trees

By Teo Spengler

Thinning fruit on citrus trees is a technique intended to produce better fruit. After thinning citrus fruits, each of the fruits that remain get more water, nutrients and elbow room. If you want to know how to thin citrus tree fruit, this article will help.

ISD For Citrus Trees: Information On ISD Tags On Citrus

By Darcy Larum, Landscape Designer

Noticed a tag stating "ISD Treated" with a date and also a treatment expiration date? The tag may also say "Retreat before Expiration." So what is an ISD treatment and how to retreat your tree? This article will answer questions about ISD treatment on citrus trees.

Citrus Bud Mite Damage – Control Of Citrus Bud Mites

By Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

What are citrus bud mites? These harmful pests are tiny and somewhat difficult to spot with the naked eye, but citrus bud mite damage can be extensive and may reduce yield. For information about identification and control of citrus bud mites, click here.

Citrus Tree Companions: What To Plant Under A Citrus Tree

By Liz Baessler

Fruit trees are famously vulnerable to pests and diseases, so just taking the time to figure out which plants benefit them the most will go a long way to ensuring their success. Learn more about what to plant under a citrus tree in this article.

Citrus Fruit Picking: Help, My Fruit Won’t Come Off Tree

By Amy Grant

When you try pulling citrus off trees and you?re met with great resistance, you may wonder ?why won?t my fruit come off the tree?? So, why is citrus fruit sometimes hard to pull off? Click this article to learn more.

Mycorrhiza In Citrus: What Causes Uneven Growth Of Citrus Fruit

By Liz Baessler

Because of the positive mycorrhizal fungi effects on citrus, a lack or uneven spread of fungus can lead to unhealthy or lackluster trees and fruit. Learn more about mycorrhiza in citrus and mycorrhizal fungi fertilizer in this article.

Salt Resistant Citrus – Are Citrus Trees Salt Tolerant

By Amy Grant

If you are a seaside resident and wish to experience the joys of freshly plucked citrus from your very own tree, you may be wondering "are citrus trees salt tolerant?" You can learn more about this in the article that follows.

Citrus Fruit Brown Rot: Tips For Brown Rot Control On Citrus

By Kristi Waterworth

Citrus fruits are fun and easy to grow, until disaster strikes. If brown rot is plaguing your oranges, lemons and limes, you'll be ready to fight back after reading this article. Click here for more information on brown rot of citrus fruit.

Citrus Fruit Flies: Protecting Citrus From Fruit Fly Pests

By Amy Grant

As gardeners, we all know that our fruits and veggies may be susceptible to a variety of pests. Citrus trees are no exception and have a plethora of damaging pests which may infest the fruit. Amongst these are citrus fruit flies. Learn more here.

Citrus Tree Houseplant Care: How To Grow Citrus Indoors

By Amy Grant

Not everyone has space enough or the right climate for growing a citrus tree. So is it possible to grow indoor citrus trees? Yes, it is. You can find more information for indoor grown citrus in this article.

Thrips On Citrus Tree: Control Of Citrus Thrips

By Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Home growers know citrus trees that bear delicious fruits are often prey to pest problems. Citrus thrips are one of the most common. Read this article to find out how to control these pests.

Citrus Mites: Learn How To Kill Mites On Citrus Trees

By Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist

Gardeners with citrus trees should both be aware of and ask, "What are citrus mites?". It is a common pest of citrus crops and their feeding habits cause diminished health and production. Learn more here.

Citrus Blooming Season – When Do Citrus Trees Bloom

By Jackie Rhoades

When do citrus trees bloom? Well, that depends on the type of citrus. Use the information in this article to learn more about citrus tree blooming. Knowing this will help in planning your harvest.

Why Citrus Fruit Get Thick Peels And Little Pulp

By Heather Rhoades

For a citrus grower, nothing can be more frustrating than waiting all season for citrus fruit to ripen only to discover a thick peel and little juice. This article can help with that. Click here for more info.

Learn What Causes Leaves Falling Off A Citrus Tree

By Kathee Mierzejewski

Citrus trees love warm weather and usually do quite well in warmer states. However, the warmer the weather, the more issues will be had - namely citrus leaf drop. This article will explain more.

Identifying And Treating Greasy Spot Fungus

By Kathee Mierzejewski

Citrus fruit can suffer from fungal problems just like other fruits. The most common form of citrus tree fungus is greasy spot fungus. Find out what to do when your fruit is affected using the information in the following article.

Tips On Water Requirements For Citrus Trees

By Heather Rhoades

For citrus owners in warm, humid climates, citrus tree watering is not something they often need to think about. But in cooler or drier climates, watering can be tricky. Learn more in this article.


SERIES 16 | Episode 26

Citrus trees are common in backyards all over Australia, but the challenge is that they suffer from many pests and diseases. It's important to know what signs to look for, how to treat them and how best to feed citrus for a healthy tree and great fruit crops.

A lemon tree that has lost many leaves and has dead wood might well be sick. Prune any dead wood off to encourage new growth. Problems can also be caused by a severe lack of water. Citrus trees need lots of water. In Adelaide apply about 3 to 4 centimetres of the equivalent of rain each week from spring until autumn. The way to see whether you're doing this correctly is simply to use a cup, turn on a sprinkler and see how long it takes to get 3 to 4 centimetres of water in the cup. Elsewhere around Australia use commonsense. Feel the leaves. If they feel cool and thick, the tree is fine, but in hot weather, if they feel dry and leathery, the citrus probably needs a drink.

A hole in a citrus tree indicates a more serious problem. It's caused by a borer. Borers are the schoolyard bullies of the plant kingdom. They attack the weakest plants and those under stress. It does not mean they will spread to other trees. For recent holes take a piece of wire, and jam it down the hole to skewer the borer. But for a tree riddled with borers and other problems it might be better to remove the tree and plant a healthy, new one. Plant it a little away from the old tree and in a couple of years you'll have a great crop of lemons.

If your orange tree has yellow leaves, with darker, green veins, this indicates an iron deficiency commonly known as chlorosis. It's particularly common in alkaline soils like those around South Australia. Treat this with iron chelates. (Mix it according to the packet instructions). Put in a sprayer and spray the foliage. In the warmer weather you should see a difference in about three to four days. For a large tree apply with a watering can and water around the tree's root zone. Always remove ground covers, such as ivy, from around the roots of the tree before applying the iron chelates.

Another problem to watch for is sooty mould. It's a fungal problem but it doesn't need to be treated with fungicide. Sooty mould actually indicates there is an insect pest, such as white fly. These are sap sucking insects, often found on the undersides of leaves, especially during the cooler weather. These suck sap from the leaves and secrete a sweet honeydew which drips onto the foliage and the sooty mould grows in the secretion. To treat white fly use an oil based spray. Commercial products are available but Peter Cundall's recipe works well. Use about a cup of ordinary cooking oil, a half a cup of water and a tiny amount of ordinary washing-up detergent. This is known as white oil. Put it in water, so it's about 40 parts water to one of this mixture. Stir it up and spray it on.

Remember to get good coverage of the leaves so that you get the white fly. It smothers them and they die. For a smaller white fly problem, try a commercially available yellow white fly sticky trap. White fly are attracted to yellow and they stick onto the trap. To make your own use a yellow ice cream container and smear it with Vaseline or cooking oil.

Another common problem on citrus is wiggly lines. It is caused by the citrus leaf miner, a tiny moth that lays its larvae into young leaves and causes distortion of the leaves. Simply control by using a routine oil spray similar to what was used for the white fly.

Weird looking, twisted, deformed fruit with almost finger like growth is the result of citrus bud mite. It's a microscopic sap sucking insect that affects the leaves, flowers and fruit. If you've got trees with deformed fruit don't worry it will not hurt the tree. Routine oil sprays will keep the mite population under control.

Keep citrus trees happy and healthy by using organic based fertilisers. These products do more than feed the plants - they also feed the soil and encourage earthworm and soil microbial activity. Add about a handful of fertiliser per square metre once a season and cover with mulch. Follow these basic principles for happy, healthy citrus, which produce loads of fruit.

My Citrus Tree - Care Information

The follow information if from is a website to provide homeowners with valuable “trade secrets from the industry” that aid in growing citrus trees in containers, and in the backyard, to their fullest potential. The core mission of this site is to educate home owners and gardeners about the importance of plant nutrition and care, with an emphasis on battling citrus tree diseases like citrus greening and citrus canker.

Planting a Citrus Tree

For Planting In Containers

Containerized citrus trees can be planted throughout the year because you are transferring the tree and there is minimal shock involved. When replanting you will want to select a well draining soil as citrus trees do not like to have drowning roots for an extended amount of time. Wet roots can create issues of disease and leaf yellowing. Furthermore, container citrus trees can benefit from adding rocks or styrofoam peanuts in the bottom of the pot so that there is room for the water to retain to, and eventually leave the pot so that the roots stay dry. Always select a pot with holes and a caster that sits underneath the pot.

For Planting In Ground

Pick a spot with 50% or more sun on well drained soil or soil mix. Preferably where it will have protection in winter from cold north and west winds. Avoid septic tanks and drain lines. Clear away any weeds and grass because you don’t want competition for the fertilizer and nutrients that you may apply.

Have water available and dig a hole larger than the container the citrus tree is in. Remove your tree from the container and shave away fiber roots from the side of the root ball (Important). You are most concerned with the roots that are growing in a circular direction around the edge of the root ball where the pot was. By loosening and trimming these roots you are allowing for roots to grow out into the new soil environment that you are placing the tree.

Place your citrus tree in the hole that you have keeping the top of the root ball at the same level as the existing ground level, no deeper (Important). Planting trees to low in the new hole will cause issues where the tree may not survive. Once the tree is placed in the hole and the crown of the root ball is at ground level go ahead and fill the hole 1/2 full with water. This will remove any air pockets and help the tree settle in where in wants to be.

Finally, fill the rest of the hole with the remaining soil to ground level, pack soil to remove air pockets. You can water again if you wish. This will help in removing any other air pockets that may have happened when finishing the soil fill in.

Watering a Citrus Tree

Watering citrus trees can sometimes be tricky. However, keeping a feel for the moisture level in the soil is one of the best ways you can gauge whether or not to water. Scratch just under the surface of the soil… If it is moist you should be good to go. What happens in many cases is that too much water is surrounding the trees for an extended amount of time and the roots become weak. Water effects in either direction, too much or too little, are never seen right away. What you will see is an after effect that creates chlorotic leaves and many times leaf drop. Keeping a consistent watering schedule is best if you can.

Symptoms of water needs are curling leaves. Muted color and leaf drop. Think of the leaf drop as a way for the tree to sustain itself through drought. If it drops leaves there is nothing to care for and it can put its hydration to where it is needed… Staying alive and holding out for the next watering

Too much water means muddy soil and citrus trees hate wet feet. They desire the moist/damp setting. That is why it is always recommended to use a well draining soil in citrus containers with holes in the bottom.

Help With Flowering and Fruit Set

Flowering and fruit set is why we grow our beloved citrus trees. Either or the sweet aroma of citrus blossom or that great taste of fresh citrus that is hard to beat. When it comes to flowering and fruit set a healthy citrus tree is going to produce more. Optimization if the tree is done via fertilizing and care. Here are a few tips that may aid in ultimate results of flowering and fruit set.

Citrus trees flower and produce fruit in response to environmental stresses. Generally stress is considered bad, but in this case stress is natural and good. What is meant here is that a tree coming out of dormancy in the Spring is a good stress as the tree is doing what Mother Nature intended… Getting ready for a new year of growth and fruit production. Outside trees will be easy to produce flowering and fruit set as they are working in conjunction with the weather and seasons. Indoor citrus trees may need a little help and that is why it is always suggested to keep container citrus in a bright sunny place. The days and warmth are a good indicator to the citrus trees on what they should be doing.

Fertilizing right in the spring is always recommended as the tree is coming out of dormancy and going right into the growth and production stage. If your tree doesn’t have the food needed it will likely have a hard time producing. Another thing to consider for increasing bloom (which in the long run is fruit set) is added nutritional elements that citrus trees crave. Nutritional treatments right before bud set such as Calcium and Boron can aid the tree in getting what it needs at just the right time. Different micro-elements are needed by the tree for different things. Calcium and Boron are elements proven to aid the tree is flowering and fruit set.

Fertilizing a Citrus Tree

Use a fertilizer specifically for citrus plants, fruit or nut producing plants. These fertilizers have elements required for fruit production. It is also recommended to use foliar applied micronutrient nutritionals that citrus trees crave—they provide additional “vitamins” your trees will love. GrowScripts has a great nutritional that is based on what has been proven in the citrus industry. You can find more information about GrowScripts products for homeowners by visiting

Newly Transferred and Mature Citrus Trees

For the first three years of newly planted trees it is recommended to fertilize from late February thru the first of October about every 6 weeks to establish a larger, fuller canopy on your citrus tree. (Note: slow release fertilizers will be less often, follow label directions.) Spread fertilizers evenly under canopy. Granular fertilizers can burn tree roots and cause issues if used to heavily. It is recommended to use a slow release fertilizer high in nitrogen and potassium as that is what newly transplanted and established trees look for most. Citrus trees are heavy feeders and can benefit from 3-4 slow release feedings throughout the suggested fertilizing months above. Along with fertilizing with a product such as an 18-5-10 Control Release consider additional applications of Essential Micronutrient Nutritionals as their label directions suggest.

Balanced nutrition of plants should be a high priority management objective for every citrus grower. Plants require a balanced nutrition program formulated to provide specific needs for maintenance and for expected production performance. Properly nourished fruit trees or plants grow stronger, produce more consistently, have better disease resistance, and are more tolerant to stresses. Source: Plant Nutrients for Citrus Trees an IFAS published document #SL 200. First printed: January 2003. Reviewed February 2009.

Fertilizing a Citrus Tree

It is always suggested to keep citrus trees at a height for easy harvesting. Overall size is up to you. Container trees are going to be smaller and pruning is done to shape and keep the tree in a visually presentable form.

For Container Citrus Trees

Pruning tree branches from container trees is a visual approach. Tree branches sometimes have a mind of their own and can run wild if you don’t help guide them where you might want them to be. A suggestion is to prune in a fashion that keeps the canopy of the tree in a consistent shape. Don’t worry if larger branches have to be removed… Just remove one and let growth fill in before removing another. Over the course of time you will be able to shape your tree just like you want.

Remove sprouts at the base of the tree. Sprouts, sprigs or suckers should generally be removed from the trunk of the tree. These generally happen below the union where a specific variety of citrus is placed on a rootstock at the nursery. Removing these sprigs assures that your tree stays the variety it was budded to be. In addition there is no need to grow something you don’t want. Most suckers are of a sour variety and not desirable. In some cases though, rooted cuttings are of the same variety and sprouts from the base are desirable when it comes to bushing citrus plants.

For Large Dooryard Trees

You can trim and prune trees any time of the year. Heavy cutting back is best done in February right before the spring flush and bloom. When you do heavy trimming this time of year look to remove damaged and broken branches as they will not be able to hold fruit over the extended amount of time for ripening. You are better off to remove the branch and help the tree focus on sizing fruit that will hold and ripen on the tree.

Another thing to look for are crossing branches on the inside of the canopy. These crossing branches can be removed to allow for fruiting limbs to get the amount of ventilation and light needed for vigorous growth. Sparingly is the suggestion if you are concerned with removing to many branches. One here and there is the best bet.
Diseased branches should be removed as disease can spread to other parts of the tree if not removed. A good way to look at removing diseased branches is that you are taking a preventative approach to helping your tree live healthy.

Skirting a tree is common. What this means is that you are trimming the bottom branches to create a specific height from the ground. It also removes branches that may break due to weakness under heavy load, and keeps your fruit off the ground and away from critters.

Citrus & Cold Weather

When the cold season is among us we want to be ready for frost and freezing. Have frost covers and blankets ready just in case and be sure to keep an eye on the weather. NPK Feeding is complete for the year as we do not want to encourage any new growth as it is the most sensitive to cold. Watering will be your primary focus as you want to make sure the soil doesn’t dry out.

In case of frost or freeze warnings

• Plants can be covered with winter frost blanket, found at your local garden center, or regular blankets.
• Soil can be banked up to bottom limbs prior to winter in December and removed March 1st.
• Plants in containers should be brought indoors.

Plants effected by a freeze

• Some leaf drop can be expected. This should be temporary.
• Never prune trees until new growth starts back in late spring (April). At that time all cuts should be made at least 1/2″ below damaged wood.

If a grafted Plant

• Any sprouts below the graft are rootstock sprouts and should be removed. Severely cut back plants will produce following the next bloom cycle.

Plants on their own root

• Even if plants are frozen back to soil level, any growth at all will be the same variety and produce after the next bloom cycle.

Citrus Tree Leaf Drop (I moved my citrus tree)

Citrus tree leaf drop can be caused by many things. In container citrus there is a common theme that runs through what we hear… There are many variables that can come into play with this statement, but things can be ruled out when yo become a detective. What is commonly heard is:

1. The leaves on my citrus tree are falling off
2. My lemon trees leaves are curling and dropping
3. My orange tree leaves are yellowing and falling off.

Answering these questions can be a hard thing to do right out of the gate.

Generally the above statements in the timeframe of when we hear them allows conclusions to be made. Most generally this time of year (COLD WEATHER) is when we hear about leaf drop the most and that is what this writing is focused on for the most part. Citrus trees are a little temperamental so relocating them can sometimes be a trigger for leaves to be falling off the tree. They “shed” in a sense because they are comfortable in a happy environment where the temperature was consistent. By moving the tree, the environment has changed and the tree is unsure of what to do thus a defense mechanism is enacted and the tree starts shedding…

What should you do when your citrus tree is moved and the leaves start falling?

First off try to transition the tree from an outdoor space of full sun into a shade spot for a few days or weeks. Then transition the tree to the indoor space where you have lots of sunlight for the tree to get.
Secondly, make sure to water differently that what you did while your little friend was outside. Remember the environment has changed and that could effect how often the tree needs/or doesn’t need watered. Just be sure to keep the soil moist to the touch which is the way citrus trees like it.
Third. Hang in there as citrus trees are resilient little buggers. If you have green branches, the chances are that things will come back to normal in the new environment. Knowing this you can view the tree loosing its leaves just like a common cold in humans and know that your citrus tree will pull through with a little TLC.

Water. Keep soil moist to the touch. Spoon water your citrus a little every day or every other day. Your environment will help you determine the real way to water and keep the soil moist. Sometimes a soaking of the roots will help get water back into soil that has dried out severely…

Fertilize. Yep, you heard right. Fertilizing the tree may help as well. Knowing that your tree is protected and indoors we could say that feeding the tree can provide new growth and deliver leaves that replace the that have fallen off. A good fertilizer such as the GrowScripts “Green” fertilizer which lasts 6-8 months is the way to go when fertilizing. Slow release is what we want to focus on though. So get a good slow release fertilizer on the base of the tree.

Micronutrients. Vitamins for the tree are the best way to explain this. Commercial growers use foliar micronutrients as a part of the growing regimen every day. We want you to do the same thing and apply a good foliar feeding of micronutrients to the leaves of the tree. You can do this on a weekly basis, monthly basis, or as needed… But in the case of no leaves, or a few leaves on the tree you can spray the trunk, branches and even the soil to get some good stuff to the tree for an aid in rebounding. Be sure to get micronutrients that can be diluted in water and applied with a hand sprayer or pump bottle which you can find at many retailers without question.


General Information: Incorporated into the landscape, citrus trees and shrubs offer year-round attraction with their glossy deep green foliage, fragrant flowers and decorative fruit in season. They require full sun to perform best and may perform even better if you locate them in areas that collect heat and light, such as near stucco walls or in bright corners. They also make excellent container plants if you select appropriately sized containers.

Planting: Since citrus trees prefer well-drained soils, it is important to locate them in fast-draining locations, and to amend the soil when planting. To plant, dig a hole at least 2 times the diameter and the exact depth of the nursery container (See also our Care Guide on Planting Trees and Shrubs). Amend the native soil with one-third Gold Rush or Bumper Crop . Add Master Nursery Master Start to the bottom of the hole and mix in well. Remove the plant from its container and place in the hole with the graft facing North or East (so it is not hit by the hot sun). The next step is to backfill with remaining soil mixture, ensuring that the graft union remains 4-6 inches above the soil line. To facilitate watering: build an irrigation berm 4-6 inches high and about one foot beyond the drip line with the remaining soil mixture. To prevent water from sitting against the trunk, slope the soil away from the trunk of the tree and toward the berm. Remember that the berm will need to be extended as the tree matures. After the tree is planted, paint the trunk up past the lowest limbs with interior white latex paint diluted 50% with water. Do not plant within four feet of any concrete foundation as lime leaches from the concrete and produces an alkaline soil. There should be no plants (grass, shrubs, annuals, etc.) within the drip line of the tree. Mulching within the dripline is advisable, but not closer than 2 inches from the trunk.

Watering : During the peak of summer heat, newly planted trees should be watered approximately twice a week, and established trees should be watered every other week. To water, fill the basin completely and add water until it stops bubbling. For mature trees, this may necessitate leaving the hose on for several hours. During fruit production, consistent watering (e.g. 1 time per week or once every two weeks, etc.) will reduce the chances of the skin splitting as the fruit develops. Damage from over-watering is greatest in clay soils. Since soil conditions vary, space watering intervals so that the top 4-6 inches of the soil dries between irrigations. Do not let lawn sprinklers water the trunks of citrus trees. Consider the amount of water irrigating the tree from the lawn sprinklers to be zero. If the tree is planted in clay soil, start irrigation in mid-May.

Fertilizing: Master Nursery Citrus Food or Gardner & Bloome Citrus & Fruit Tree Fertilizer is specially formulated for citrus, containing the macronutrients (nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium) along with key micronutrients such as iron, sulfur and calcium. If foliage is chlorotic (yellow-green) supplement with Iron Sulfate about Valentine’s Day. In October, mulch trees with GreenAll Chicken Manure , which will provide nitrogen, insulate the roots during winter, and increase soil friability as it breaks down. Apply the fertilizer from about one foot away from the trunk to just beyond the drip line. Water thoroughly after spreading the chicken manure.

The following is a general guide for fertilizing your citrus. Apply fertilizer at 2 month intervals from mid-March through September. Use the following amounts:

Pruning : All citrus trees have been budded or grafted on an understock. Standard trees can reach 20-30 feet tall and wide, and dwarf trees can reach 5-12 feet tall and wide. Citrus plants bloom and produce fruit on new growth. On young trees, tip-pruning will strengthen the branches, so that the weight of mature fruit is less likely to cause damage. Lightly thinning the interior of the tree will help light to enter and increase air circulation, which will also help minimize insect problems. Citrus can also be pruned to keep it to size. Check trees periodically for suckers (branches that arise below the graft line) and remove them before they compete with or overwhelm the desired variety. Remove water sprouts the thick, vigorous, thorny shoots that grow from within the crown. Prune trees for shaping in spring or early summer so that new growth matures before the onset of cold weather.

Hardiness: While various citrus trees differ in temperature hardiness, most will be susceptible to damage during heavy frosts. A mature tree’s fruit production may be compromised for a year or so, but the tree will generally rebound given proper general care. Precautions to protect citrus during winter include covering trees with burlap, or a 50/50 sheet of a breathable plastic material such as Easy Gardener’s Plant Protecting Blanket or N-Sulate . Be sure to cover the protecting material above the tree’s foliage in order to avoid frost damage to plant parts that may touch it. Cloud Cover is effective to about 28°F or 29°F, so citrus will need additional protection if temperatures dip below 28°F or 29°F. If a severe frost is predicted, a 100 watt lamp (designed for outdoor use) placed in the interior of the small tree under the blanket, will emit enough heat to reduce frost damage. Frost Covers should be removed during daylight hours.

Insect Problems: The most common insect pest of citrus is scale, which clusters on fruit stems and wood, new growth and/or the undersides of leaves. Note that several types of scale may infest citrus. Ants traveling up and down the stem of a citrus plant indicate the presence of scale or other sucking insects such as aphids or mealy bugs. Ants will also herd these insects, milk them for honeydew and interfere with predation by natural predators. If insect problems occur, use Master Nursery Pest Fighter Year-Round Spray Oil or Malathion . They are safe to use all year, but oil should not be used more than 4 to 5 times during a 12 month period. Do not spray with oil if your tree is in full bloom or if temperatures are above 85°F or below 40°F. Doing so may damage the blossoms or leaves and hinder fruit production. If you experience snail or slug problems, band trees with copper strips or spread Sluggo or Deadline under your tree. Be advised though that Deadline contains Metaldehyde which is toxic to all animals.

The Citrus Leaf Miners, (Phyllocnistis citrilla) has become common in the Bay Area. The larvae, (maggot) feeds on the soft growth between the upper and lower layers of leaves on new growth. As it feeds, it leaves a tunnel (Mine) filled with fecal material, visible when the leaf is held up to strong light. This feeding may cause the leaf to curl and fall off. Only very young trees may experience a reduction in growth. Mature leaves are too tough for the leaf miner to penetrate.

Cutting off the infected leaves and biweekly spraying with Spinosad is beneficial on small trees. The University of California recommends leaving the affected leaves alone and letting the natural enemies of leaf miners feed on and parasitize the maggots inside the mines. Most insecticides are not effective and leave residues which kill natural enemies.

Citrus in Containers: Many citrus plants will grow and produce fruit in containers. The container should be about the size of half a wine barrel. Fill the container with Master Nursery Gardener’s Gold Potting Soil . Water whenever the top 3 to 4 inches of soil is dry and until water runs out the bottom of the container. Fertilize MONTHLY from Valentine’s Day until Halloween with Master Nursery Citrus Food or Gardner & Bloome Citrus & Fruit Tree Fertilizer . Measure the diameter of the container in inches and divide that number by six. Use that many level tablespoons of fertilizer for that container (e.g. 18”diameter divided by 6 equal 3 tbs). Suitable plants would be Meyer Lemon, Bearss Lime, Dwarf Mandarin oranges or a Kumquat. Lemons and Limes can be picked any time the color pleases you. Oranges and others should be kept on the tree until 2 or 3 fruits have fallen.

Urban Legends Defused : If your citrus tree does not produce sweet fruit, there is no additive (zinc, magnesium, coffee grounds, chicken manure, etc.) which can be used to sweeten the fruit. Sweetness of citrus fruit is a function of genetics and summer heat. We, in the Bay Area, are in a border-line area for growing citrus. Basically, sweetness is a function of summer heat. Cool summers result in acid (sour) fruit while hot summers produce sweet fruit. Leave fruit on the tree until it starts to fall off.

Watch the video: Growing Citrus Trees in Containers! . Garden Answer

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