Caring for citrus trees

Having a lemon tree in the backyard was once the great Australian dream. Now it’s a citrus tree orchard with limes, blood oranges and mandarins rivalling the humble lemon for space and pride of place.

Citrus trees are evergreen trees that can be grown in pots or in the ground but will need need year-round care.

Luckily, citrus trees are dead-easy to grow and produce an abundant harvest in only a couple of years from planting. To reap the rewards year after year, follow this simple citrus regime.

  • Watering
  • Fertilising
  • Pest and disease prevention
  • Pruning



Caring for your citrus trees

Whether you’re growing a lemon, lime, mandarin, orange, grapefruit or tangelo, caring for your citrus tree has never been easier. Follow these four simple tips to keep your trees healthy and happy.



Watering citrus trees


Water citrus trees deeply twice a week during establishment.

The frequency of watering can be cut back when citrus trees are established, so you're only watering during dry periods and when fruits are developing.

It’s important to maintain soil moisture from fruit set to harvest to prevent citrus trees becoming stressed, which could result in a significant part of the crop dropping before it's ripe.


Fertilising citrus trees


Fertilise citrus trees at the start of every season. Apply a generous amount of organic fertiliser such as S, blood and bone or composted manure to the soil around your tree.

Here’s how:

  1. Clear any mulch from the area immediately beneath the tree canopy.
  2. Apply the fertiliser or manure over the soil surface, in a band around the dripline (immediately below the external perimeter of the foliage).
  3. Water well.
  4. Replenish the mulch.

TIP: Alternate between different organic fertilisers each time you apply them, to provide a range of nutrients throughout the year. For example Scotts Performance Naturals™ Citrus & Fruit Organic Based Fertiliser in Spring, and blood and bone in Autumn.

NOTE: The application of controlled release fertilisers in addition to the organics will help to ensure a range of nutrients is available to your citrus trees when they need it most.

For more information on fertilising citrus trees, visit our page fertilising fruit and citrus trees.


Keeping pests and diseases away


Problems with pests and diseases can be largely avoided by ensuring your citrus trees are healthy.

To give your citrus trees the best possible start:

Of course, no matter what you do, pests and diseases can attack your citrus trees. Look out for:

  • Scale, leaf miners and aphids. These are common citrus pests but rarely cause major damage. Treat with an environment-friendly oil spray.
  • Stink bugs can cause damage to your tree and harvest. Remove by hand immediately (make sure you are wearing gloves and eye protection).
  • Yellow leaves are a common complaint with citrus trees but if you have prepared the soil well and replenish it each season, your citrus will survive. Look for fertilisers with boosted magnesium and iron to assist in the prevention of yellowing.


Pruning citrus trees


When it comes to pruning, citrus trees are quite different to the majority of fruit trees because they are evergreen. Forget all those fancy pruning techniques and simply:

  • Remove old or dead wood.
  • Remove any unwanted growth or branches touching the soil.
  • Reduce overall height and maintain a neat shape (if you want).

That’s all there is to it - caring for your citrus trees couldn’t be easier!


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