For the Love of Citrus

Tree trunks come wrapped in either burlap or cardboard to protect them from sunburn. DO NOT REMOVE! Eventually lower branches will grow down low enough to provide adequate protection; until that time keep the wrap intact. You can paint the trunks of large trees, with any white latex paint, up to 4 feet. However, trimming up lower branches is NOT recommended, because your best fruit is produced there.

Watering: Refill the well every three days for the first two weeks after planting. After that, refill well twice in one day (am and pm) every 7 – 10 days in the summer, and every 3 – 4 weeks in the winter. Excessive watering can cause: (1) moisture to collect between the trunk and the tree wrap resulting in disease, (2) root suffocation and (3) impedance to nutrient uptake. MONITOR TO MEET WEATHER CONDITIONS!

Normally citrus do not require pesticide applications; however, if insects become a problem, spray as needed in June and September, or as new growth appears. Use Cygon, Diazinon, or Malathion spray. Thrips (insects) are difficult to control and may cause the new foliage to become malformed; but they have no effect on the growth of the tree or its fruit bearing ability. DO NOT SPRAY WHEN BLOSSOMS ARE PRESENT!

If frost threatens, you can cover small trees with a bed sheet, blanket, or burlap. You can also pour a bucket of hot water into the tree well.

Keep cats, dogs, and rabbits away from tree area.

Prune trees as needed, remembering that citrus are shrubs – not trees. So please trim accordingly. Summer shading helps prevent heat stress.

After the first year, fertilize in March, June, and September with a 16-8-4 or 16-8-2 fertilizer mix. April through October, 1/2 inch layer of mulch around the tree is ok. Cultivate periodically. Read our Fertilizing Established Plants page for more information.

NOTE: All trees need 1 – 2 years to recover from transplanting. Please monitor watering and feeding schedules to meet seasonal conditions.

Information courtesy of Greenfield Citrus Nursery

For more informative answers to questions contact the University of Arizona, Maricopa County, Cooperative Extension Service at (602) 470-8086.