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Lawn & Garden

Caring for Citrus Trees

With all the rain we have had here in Southern California, we are also having a bumper crop of citrus as well.  Out here on the West Coast, our citrus trees never rest.  As a result, they require constant care all year long. In the past 4-5 years, the issue has been a lack of winter rain to help promote a healthy spring bloom followed lots of fruit.


The home gardeners challenge out here on the West Coast during the later spring and following dry summers and fall, have been to provide adequate and regular watering to their orange, tangerine, lemon, grapefruit, tangelo trees etc. to maintain the growth of the fruit.  The regular watering has always been the challenge since many homeowners with citrus trees think that watering the lawn is also watering the fruit trees.


Since our growing season goes all 12 months of the year, it is also necessary to feed our citrus trees every 2 months to help maintain a healthy tree.  I like to use The Home Depot’s Vigoro Avocado Citrus fertilizer for my fruit trees.  It comes in a convenient 3.5, 20 and 40 lbs. bag, depending on the customers need. 


Along with fertilizing, regular watering is also necessary to prevent the cracking of the skin as well as fruit drop.  The tree will naturally dispel any excess fruit when it cannot provide enough water when the fruit has become over ripened .


Always make sure you have watered your fruit trees properly before adding any fertilizer to them.  It is also a good idea to aerate the drip-line area of your fruit trees periodically to ensure good ground penetration when you water.         


The soil in my area has a tendency to become compacted thus pushing water away rather than absorbing it.  As a result, the aerating process becomes a valuable tool to aid in the moisture absorption for your fruit trees.


You may be able to aerate my hand using your Garden Tiling Fork or you can rent a motorized aerator at your local Home Depot Tool Rental Center.


With an excess of 15-20 inches of rain this season in my neighborhood alone, many citrus trees have an abundance fruit them and will require some thinning of fruit and some branches.  


It is important to reduce the load of the fruit on these branches by either picking the fruit or by simply trimming some of the smaller excess branches off the tree to prevent damage to the branches thru breakage or cracking of an overloaded support branch.



Thinning the interior of your fruit tree can help to provide more light and better air circulation for your fruit tree.  Removing some of the excess fruit from the ends of the branches can also help to greatly reduce the excess weight.  The above picture could sill use a bit more thinning.


This can turn out to be a good fruit-bearing year for all fruit trees out here in California, providing they are treated well during our dry summer months.


Be sure to share your experience with your fruit trees at:


Please let us know if you have any questions.



Related Articles:

Drought Tolerant Fruit Trees and Vines

Which Fruit Trees are Self Pollinating and which Require a Cross Pollinator

Growing Banana Trees

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Posted 2017-04-07T21:58:50+0000  by Rick_HD_OC Rick_HD_OC