Ask Garden Eats, Grow It!, Kath's Gardening Notebook
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Citrus Trees

Whether you’re growing citrus trees in pots or in the ground, we all want those gorgeous blossoms to turn into shiny fruit. But what if those flowers never give us the fruit we’re looking forward to? One of our clients in Venice beach wrote concerned about her non-fruiting citrus. Let’s talk about a few things that could be causing this.

SUN SUN SUN

Citrus trees need a full day of bright sun. If your tree is in an east location in your yard, it will be shaded in the afternoon and won’t get enough sun. That will prevent fruit bearing so a hot south location is ideal.

Soil

Citrus trees won’t thrive in clay and heavily compacted soil. Their roots don’t stand a chance and water will sit around the tree and rot. Grown in containers or in the ground, it’s going to do best in rich, organic loose soil.

Water Please

Water deep when you see the top soil is beginning to dry out. This keeps the roots strong and helps the fruits form. Yellow dropping leaves is a sure sign of over watering. A new tree can’t go days without water and then get too much water. It’s too much stress on the roots.

Feed Me

Your citrus trees need regular feedings three times a year, late winter, late spring and late summer. Nitrogen and phosphorus are important as are other micro nutrients. Most garden centers sells citrus fertilizers so you won’t have to guess what or when to feed your trees. If you can’t find an organic fertilizer at your store, you can purchase organic aged cow manure and work it into the top three inches of soil. It doesn’t smell, I promise.

Age

Citrus trees usually won’t produce fruit until three or four years. Don’t be discouraged if you have a tree for a couple of years and it hasn’t given you fruit yet. If the tree looks healthy, just be patient.

Pruning

I talk to so many gardeners who are afraid to prune, worried that they might “chop off” part of the tree that might be beneficial. No worry here. Clipping off only dead or dry brown areas is the key. Fruit develops on the ends of branches so never go around clipping just to make the tree look good or well-rounded, especially a new tree.

Pollination

Unlike apple trees that need two trees to pollinate to produce fruit, citrus trees are self-fertile, which means they will make fruit with a little help from bees and flowers.

Keeping your citrus trees healthy will prevent most common problems. Proper light, water and fertilizing will keep your tree happy. Occasionally check the under sides of the leaves for pests and pick off any offending bugs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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