citrus spring into
Follow these care tips for healthy and productive trees
Did you know that orange and lemon trees can live over a century and bear fruit for 50 years?
Now spring has sprung, it’s time to look after your citrus. While these trees aren’t high maintenance, if you give them TLC at the right time, they’ll reward you for years to come.
Trim lightly While citrus don’t need an annual prune to fruit, it’s a good idea to give them a trim to remove dead or diseased branches, low-hanging stems and any branches growing inward. This will open the canopy, let sunlight in and improve air movement, which is better for fruit production. And remove any branches growing below the graft union – you don’t want the rootstock taking over. As with any pruning, ensure you use sharp secateurs for a nice, clean cut. Feed lots Citrus are gross feeders, meaning they’re always hungry and need nutrients all year! Feed your tree with a well-balanced fertiliser such as Richgro Black Marvel Premium Fruit & Citrus Food.
It’s full of the essential elements citrus needs. Water well before and after feeding and apply every season for best results.
Mulch right After feeding, water well and apply a thick layer of mulch. This helps control weeds, retain soil moisture and keep soil cool. Remove any weeds and spread an organic mulch – like sugarcane or pea straw – around the tree base. This will break down over time and add organic matter to the soil. Spray well You’re not the only one who loves citrus. Pests such as the bronze orange bug (aka ‘stink bug’) find the fruit, stems and tree irresistible. Spray these pests – and any other sap-sucking insects like scale or mealy bugs – with horticultural or white oil, and try to get both sides of the leaves. Wear protective eyewear and long sleeves when spraying bronze orange bugs, as they can squirt a caustic fluid which can be painful or irritating to skin and eyes.