The Q&A Archives: Citrus Tree

Question: I bought 5 gal navel orange tree 6 weeks ago. It said to water as needed. The temp is now up to 110 daily. All the leaves have dropped off. I give it 10 gallons of water every Sat. morning.

Answer: You didn't say whether you transplanted it in the ground or if it's still in the pot. If in the pot, the roots are probably cooking in the hot soil with water only once per week. You will need to water more frequently, perhaps even daily in summer. If in the ground, how often to water depends on your soil characteristics, rainfall and weather but every 5 to 7 days is typical for newly transplanted citrus in the summer and fall months; gradually extending to 14 days from Nov-Jan and 10 days from Feb-Apr as temperatures again warm. Citrus trees thrive on consistent moisture, so apply enough water slowly and deeply to thoroughly soak the rootball.

Use a soil probe to help determine how often to apply water (such as a pointed stick or metal rod) and poke it into the soil. It will move easily through moist soil and stop at dry soil. As trees mature, be sure to water out to their canopy or drip line, where new roots are growing. To keep water from evaporating too quickly, mulch over the root area. I hope this info helps.

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