citrus spring into

Fol­low th­ese care tips for healthy and pro­duc­tive trees

Better Homes and Gardens (Australia) - - Outdoor Inspiration -

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.

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