Citrus is commonly grown throughout warm climates thanks to its easy adherence to the environment. Images of Florida-grown oranges and Hawaiian pineapples may spring to mind, but they are far from the only popular citrus products within the citrus world. While oranges account for the vast majority of citrus production within the industry, grapefruits, lemons, limes, and pomelos are right behind.
While growing citrus in warm climates may seem easy, some mistakes can upend our progress along the way.
Let’s explore a few of the common mistakes that gardeners make while tending to citrus fruits for the first time.
Overwatering Leads to Root Rot & an Unhealthy Tree
There are few things more important to the health of a citrus tree than its watering schedule. Watering correctly is of the utmost importance when it comes time to bear healthy, tasty fruit. A citrus tree that has been overwatered can lead to a damaging condition known as root rot, developed due to the Phytophthora pathogen.
Other signs of potential root rot can be found in soil that lacks proper drainage. Well-draining soils will solve many problems pertaining to fungal root issues. If you live in a region beholden to poorly-draining soil, consider hiring a green designer to help solve the problem.
Underwatering Produces an Unhealthy Root System
Another issue relating to incorrectly watering a citrus tree is insufficient or inadequate watering. When water does not penetrate deep enough to reach the roots, the corresponding citrus tree can manifest symptoms in the form of drooping, curling, and downward-facing leaves.
To ensure healthy watering habits, water to a depth between 18 and 24 inches. Enthusiasts can purchase a soil probe to analyze just how deeply water is penetrating the soil.
Lack of Water During Times of Extreme Heat
The last point we want to underscore is just how fickle citrus trees can become in a limited amount of time. A thriving citrus tree exposed to extreme heat can wither and die without proper hydration. When Phoenix hits highs of 95′, homeowners will want to make sure to accommodate for their trees by offering extra hydration.
Improperly Fertilizing the Soil of a Citrus Tree
Citrus trees are enormously heavy feeders and that means they need nutrition available at once. If your soil does not naturally provide the nutrients required for your citrus tree to thrive, you will need to provide support by way of additional fertilization.
Before adding fertilizer to your citrus tree, take stock of the state of the tree itself. Certain symptoms can tell us exactly what your tree is lacking. Let’s look at a few signs that your tree may be lacking in nutrition.
- Leaf Discoloration — Signs of leaf discoloration can often be attributed to a lack of nutrition, typically Iron and Magnesium.
- Pale Leaves — When your leaves lose their green hue in return for a pale and almost yellow appearance, nutritional deficiencies may be a cause. Typical reasons for pale or yellowing leaves can be traced back to a lack of iron and nitrogen.
Supplying additional nutrition through artificial or organic fertilizer is the easiest way to solve this problem. Research the NPK ratios required for your citrus tree to thrive and look for a fertilizer to match!
When Should I Fertilize a Citrus Tree?
While incorporating additional fertilizer is important, be sure to fertilize on a proper schedule. For individuals in the lower deserts of Arizona, consider application dates revolving around Memorial Day, Labor Day, and back around to Valentine’s Day.
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