|What is the best way to care for and plant citrus trees near the beach? We have sandy soil and high salt content in the air. We have one lime tree that we planted last year that has yet to bear fruit. Something is eating the leaves/buds. how can we treat? Thanks!|
|Citrus trees can be planted any time of the year in Florida but we usually recommend planting in the fall or spring. Trees planted in the fall have time to establish a root system before the spring growth flush, but they also face the prospect of winter freezes. Trees planted in the spring (after the threat of cold weather has passed) have nine to ten months to grow and harden off before the next winter. But these trees require attention to watering during dry spring and hot summer months.
Dig the planting hole wide and deep enough to accommodate the root system. Spread the roots out in the hole and set the plant slightly higher than it grew in the container. Keep the bud union above soil level to avoid infection. Place a long board, rake or hoe over the center of the hole with each end extending over undisturbed soil. This helps determine proper planting depth by showing exactly where the soil line should be. Since the soil and tree are likely to settle, set the soil line of the young tree several inches higher than the bottom of the board or hoe handle
Next, backfill around the plant to half-fill the hole and press the soil down to remove air pockets. Water the hole thoroughly and allow the soil to settle. Backfill again, if necessary to fill near the top of the hole, firm the soil around the tree and form a water basin that will hold 7 to 10 gallons of water. Water once a week during the spring and fall, twice a week during the summer months.
Your lime tree might take another year or two to settle in and become mature enough to produce fruit. Without knowing what might be chomping on the leaves, I can't offer any treatment options. Try to catch the critter and have it identified. Once you know who's feasting, you'll be better prepared to choose a control strategy.