Citrus trees, oranges, lemons, mandarins, grapes need some special care to produce good fruit and stay healthy without pests or diseases. The way to care for citrus trees is the same for all varieties, in this article you will find a list of things you can do for the correct care of citrus fruits.
10 tips for caring for citrus trees
Citrus plants can withstand normal levels of light outdoors and in the greenhouse very well, but they must receive a high level of light indoors, either through windows or artificial lighting, being careful not to allow let the leaves to burn in the direct summer sun through the glass.
When there is no danger of frost, citrus fruits like to be outside during the summer months. However, they should gradually acclimate to the new light level, first moving them to a lightly shaded area outside for 2 to 3 weeks before placing them in their sunny, sheltered spot during the summer.
Similarly, when brought indoors in winter, they should be kept in the shade for 2-3 weeks before entering. This reduces the stress that the sudden change in light could cause on the leaves. Small plants should not go outside in their first season.
Citrus can tolerate temperatures up to 4ºC (even 2ºC for short periods), but should not be frozen. They also tolerate high temperatures but prefer not to be at either extreme for long.
Homeowners are often unaware of how hot their greenhouse can get on sunny days and the stress it can cause. If it is very hot and the sun is directing the fruit trees, it is advisable to keep a shaded umbrella to reduce the temperature of the place.
3. Citrus fertilize
During the growing months, citrus trees should be fed every two weeks with a fertilizer rich in nitrogen and receive an occasional dose of iron (and, if possible, trace elements) if the leaves turn yellow.
The most likely pests are aphids and spider mites. These pests can be easily controlled with a suitable spray.
Occasionally, mealybugs can be placed on citrus and, again, can be easily removed with a suitable insecticide spray or applying some methyl alcohol.
Water citrus fruits sparingly in winter without allowing the pot to dry out completely, and increase the amount of water once growth begins in spring.
If the citrus fruits are in direct soil, water every three days if the climate is temperate, in case of a lot of heat it will be good to water every other day. It is also good to put a layer of mulch to cover the soil and not allow the moisture to evaporate quickly.
In a hot greenhouse or conservatory, trees will dry out more quickly and may need to be watered up to once a day in sunny weather.
In hot weather and with central heating if they are indoors, the humidity can drop dramatically.
If the leaves show signs of stress, the humidity can be increased by a light mist of water or by placing the pots on a damp gravel tray. Increased humidity will also discourage spider mite attacks.
Citrus fruits need a slightly acidic environment. The pH should be between 6 and 6.5, (lemons have a slightly lower pH than oranges) so you must use citrus tree fertilizer.
Do not use fertilizers that contain lime, as they will have a higher pH. Most multipurpose fertilizers also contain lime and have a fairly high pH, so they should be avoided.
You can also use a homemade compost mix with additives like horticultural gravel, sand mix, or coarse gravel. This will improve drainage and prevent overwatering. Don’t be tempted to use leftover construction sand as it may contain lime.
8. Citrus Pruning
Citrus can be pruned at any time to the desired shape and size, but it is best to prune the tree immediately after fruiting and before it begins to grow.
This will encourage the tree to produce new branches within and achieve the desired size, rather than widening its width and height.
In the case of a continuous fruiting variety, this may mean the sacrifice of any flower or fruit that may be on the tree at the time. The preferred time for citrus pruning would be early winter.
There are no special instructions, but the tree will produce a branch from each node of the leaf, so this must be taken into account when trimming to get a good shape.
Trim a knot from the leaf that points in the direction you would like the new growth to take, that is, point up and not down, although it is natural for the new growth to seek out the light and grow up rather than back. under. You don’t need to be too picky.
Fruit occurs on both old and new wood, and even a fairly mature, bare branch or trunk can sprout new growth. Eliminate shoots that sprout below the graft, as you don’t want to encourage rootstock growth.
Citrus fruits are evergreen trees and every now and then an old leaf falls off. However, if there is a lot of leaf drop, the first thing to look at is if the plant is too dry, this is usually the cause.
The second most common reason is a lack of light, so moving the tree to a brighter position can solve the problem.
If the leaves do fall for any reason, don’t be immediately disheartened, as the plant will most likely have a new crop of beautiful glossy leaves again in a month or two, blooming soon after.
10. Citrus Flowers and fruits
Flowering generally occurs in mid-spring but may occur several times a year on more mature plants. Several fragrant flowers appear, but only 1% of them will set (more of this would overload the branches when the fruit reaches full size).
The fruit develops gradually and acquires color in autumn. The cold tends to act as a trigger for coloration. It will then remain on the plants for several months after ripening.