fruit trees - Knowledgebase Question

Mesa, Ar
Question by staceydavid
February 21, 2010
I just recently started taking over the yard duties. I have three fruit trees in the back. They are mature, but not producing good fruit. I have an orange, grapefruit, and lemon. What are some basic care I should know to keep them producing good fruit and to maintain healthy trees.

Answer from NGA
February 21, 2010


Citrus is a heavy feeder and needs regular fertilizer applications. It's recommended to apply the total annual amount of nitrogen required in 3 applications: in Jan/Feb; Apr/May; and Aug-Sept. Requirements vary according to the age of the tree. The late summer application in August helps fruit sizing and ripening. Citrus trees thrive on consistent moisture. Apply enough water slowly and deeply to thoroughly soak the root mass. Don't sprinkle lightly, which allows salts to accumulate and burn the roots. How often to water depends on your soil characteristics, rainfall and weather, but a rule of thumb is about once every 3-4 weeks in winter and once every 10-14 days in summer. 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. This will also help suppress weeds. Finally, some years the conditions are right to just produce more fruit than other years. Good luck with your citrus!

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