Citrus Tree Care
Arizona is know for their citrus trees. You can find varieties such as Navel Orange trees, Meyer Lemon trees, Mexican Lime trees, Grapefruit trees, and many more. These trees thrive in our low desert but do require a little TLC to keep them healthy and producing delicious fruit. The biggest obstacle homeowners have in their citrus tree care is maintaining regular irrigation and fertilization to their trees. The water should soak 2-3 feet deep with each water application. You can check this with a soil probe. The water should also reach out about a foot beyond the canopy of the tree because that is where the feeder roots are. How often and how much water depends on your tree. Young trees require water every 2-5 days through their first 3-6 month. Mature trees can survive with a nice, deep watering every week, depending on the season. Check out Irrigating Citrus Trees.
Citrus trees require fertilization to keep them healthy and producing. This is typically done 3 times a year: February, May, and September (Valentines Day, Memorial Day, and Labor Day). Nitrogen requirements vary based on type of tree, size, and maturity. Check out the Extensions Fertilizing Citrus Charts for specific guides for your tree.
- Fruit Split – this is a sign that the tree was stressed for moisture earlier when the fruit was developing.
- Thick Rinds – On young trees this is normal and necessary to protect the fruit from our hot, dry climate. On older trees it could mean excessive nitrogen fertilizer.
- Early Fruit Drop – May indicate insufficient soil moisture or fertilizer.
- Dry Fruit – This is common on trees that are grafted onto particular rootstock. This can be fixed through water and nutrients.
- Leaf Curl – Dull green and leaf curl from the edges inward usually means the tree is stressed for water.
- Leaf Tip Burn – This usually indicates too much salt “salt burn”. Our soil is very salty and requires deep watering to move the salt through the soil. Shallow watering caused the salt to build up around the roots of the trees.
- Pale Green or Yellow Leafs – This is usually a nitrogen deficiency and/or over watering.