The citrus fruiting season can begin as early as mid April and last until late November
Citrus prefer well-drained soil in a sunny position and protected from strong winds. Planting the tree on a built-up soil mound may be required in poorly drained soils. Trees grown in pots or containers can beplanted any time of the year, however if planted in summer, extra watering may be necessary. Containers should be at least 400mm high and 400mm wide. If fertilizer is to be added at planting stage, use only slow-release types, otherwise, commence fertilizing in March/April and again in August/September when
the tree is established and new leaf growth is evident.
If more than one tree is planted allow 2 to 3 meters minimum between trees. Allow an even greater distance if larger trees are already established. Mulch around the tree as this will help keep moisture in and keep the area close to the tree weed free. Do not allow lawn grass to grow within 1m to the new tree.
Planting in Ground
To plant a tree in the ground, dig the hole slightly larger than the root system of the plant. Remove the tree from its container and place tree in the hole making sure the bud union is at least 10cm above soil level. Fill with soil leaving no air pockets. Water well and repeat the next day, then twice weekly for 3 weeks, then weekly for first growing season.
Planting in Pots
Place a small quantity of quality potting mix in a pot or tub, remove plant from its container and place into pot, keeping the bud union at least 10cm above the soil level. Fill with soil leaving no air pockets. Water regularly, avoid water logging your potted citrus tree. Containerized citrus grow well in courtyards, patios, balconies and decks.
Fertilize twice a year, once during mid-March to Mid-April and again during mid-August to mid-
September. Use a slow-release complete fertilizer of citrus food. Spread the fertilizer within the drip line of the tree leaves. Mulch well around the tree to retain moisture, use an animal manure if you wish, it's a natural product that works well.
Continued use of some types of granular fertilizer may lower pH, making soil more acidic, which can make uptake of fertilizer difficult for the plant to grow well. pH of 6 - 6.5 is ideal. Use Dolomite or Ag Lime to remedy low pH problems.
Lightly prune to shape the tree or cut out dead or swollen branches, this is best done in July or August. Always prune any shoots/suckers that are growing around or below the bud union.
Heavy pruning is usually not required when growing citrus in the home garden.
Care for your tree by keeping the area around the tree moist without water-logging the soil, especially in spring at flowering and fruit set. Soil types will determine frequency of watering, sandy soils will require more water than clay soils.
The presence of the Leaf Miner insect is characterized by silver trails just under the surface of the leaf on new growth resulting in curled and deformed leaves. Control is more important on a young tree as leaf miner will stunt the trees growth if left unattended. Spray oils can be an effective treatment, many oil sprays are organic and quite safe. Consult your gardening centre for product advice in controlling leaf miner.
There are a number of Scale Insects; however, all have the same effect on the tree. They suck sap from the plant and the depletion of sap may cause die-back of branches. A secondary effect of feeding scale insects is the growth of sooty mould on the leaf, fruit and branches. This mould grows on the sugary secretions from the scale. Spray oils can be an effective treatment; again, many oils are organic and quite safe. Consult your gardening centre for product advice.
The presence of large swellings or bulges on the branches of the tree indicates that Gall Wasp is active. The wasp emerges from the gall from August to November. The wasp lives for 3 to 4 days and lays its eggs in the branches of the citrus tree. It is the trees 'reaction' to this egg-laying which produces the next years, gall wasp. The best and most effective control is cutting off the swollen branches and burning them to completely destroy the Gall Wasp cycle. Spraying is often ineffective.
Dwarf Citrus are citrus varieties budded onto the internationally recognized Flying Dragon Rootstock. No other rootstock will produce a Dwarf Tree. The flying dragon rootstock is root disease resistant as well as cold tolerant. The tree grown on this rootstock grows to about 1.5 - 2 meters in size which is about half the size of a normal citrus tree depending on the variety of tree. Dwarf Citrus trees grow well and are as strong as general types of citrus trees with the same quality and size of fruit. They are ideal for small gardens, courtyards, decks or balconies. Plant them in tubs, planter boxes or other large containers and they will do well for many years provided they are re-potted every 2-3 years in new good quality potting mix and selectively pruned. Dwarf Citrus can also be field planted at very high density with spacing between trees being as close as 1.5 to 2 metres. Care for this tree in the same manner as general citrus trees.
Growing a citrus tree from cuttings will not produce a dwarf tree.
We don't rename existing varieties or grow trees from cuttings. Inventing new names for currently available varieties and marketing them as a new variety is a practice that we don't believe in.
We also don't believe in the growing technique of 'cutting-grown' citrus. This technique creates a tree that in all likelihood has a short life and has poor resistance to pests and disease. Cutting-grown trees do not have the strength of a root-stock base which gives a citrus tree the strength to grow, thrive and survive.
Citrus trees grown from cuttings are a quick method to grow a tree for retail outlets. Most if not, all cutting-grown citrus are existing citrus varieties that have been renamed.
Quality citrus trees are budded/grafted to a rootstock. The ancient techniques of budding or grafting are indisputably the best way to grow a citrus tree. A tree grown this way will ensure a tree that has resistance to pests and diseases and will give fruit for many years. No other techniques are as successful.
Some rootstock names are: