Citrus trees are a great addition any garden, but in order for them to thrive, they need the perfect soil conditions. For healthy and productive lemon, orange, lime, and grapefruit trees, you’ll need soil with good drainage, adequate aeration, and the right pH level. Whether you want to get the most out of your current citrus trees or you want to add them to your next landscaping project, here’s a few things to keep in mind.
All types of citrus trees should be grown in full sun with shelter from cold winds. If full sun isn’t an option, try to select a spot that receives sun for at least six to eight hours per day.
- Citrus can be planted throughout the year, but the best planting times are typically autumn to spring – avoid planting in very hot or very cold conditions.
- Most citrus trees grow just as well whether they are in garden beds or pots, as long as their needs are met – this includes soil that drains well, and soil with a pH level of between 6 and 7.
- Heavy or clay soil will benefit from the addition of organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure to improve drainage.
- Mulching around the base of the tree will help to retain moisture and regulate the soil temperature.
Water your citrus trees deeply and infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Avoid over-watering, as this can lead to root rot which can have a severe impact on citrus trees, as it affects the health and function of their root system.
Citrus trees are heavy feeders, so it’s vital to fertilise them regularly with a balanced citrus-specific fertiliser. Apply fertiliser in early spring and again in late summer or early autumn, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the application rate and frequency.
Pruning and Maintenance
Pruning your citrus trees will help to maintain their shape, and it will also help to remove dead or diseased branches and improve air circulation. Pruning is best done in late winter or early spring before the growing season begins.
Protection from the Cold
Citrus trees are generally sensitive to cold temperatures. If you live in an area with frost, cover your trees with mesh netting, or if they are in pots, bring them indoors during cold snaps. In cold-winter zones, grow citrus trees against a warm, north-facing wall with shelter from cold southerly winds.
Pest and Disease Control
Many pests are naturally attracted to citrus trees, so it’s important to be on the lookout for common pests such as aphids, scales, and citrus leaf miners. These can all promote the growth of mould on leaves, weaken the tree and make it more susceptible to other pests and diseases. They can also lead to stunted growth and reduced fruit production. Early detection is key in preventing infestations from becoming severe and causing significant damage.
Looking for the Best Soil for Citrus?
Start by conducting a soil test to determine the pH level of your soil and adjust it if necessary. If the pH is too high (alkaline), you can lower it by adding elemental Sulphur or acidifying fertilisers. Ensure your soil is enriched with organic matter, and look for a soil with a loamy texture, which means it contains a balanced mixture of sand, silt, and clay. Loamy soil retains moisture without becoming waterlogged and provides good drainage while allowing for root development.
It’s important to remember that different citrus varieties may have specific soil preferences. For instance, some citrus trees are more tolerant of slightly alkaline soils, while others prefer more acidic conditions. For expert advice, consult your local nursery or garden centre.
Mornington Garden Supplies
Bittern Garden Supplies is here to help with all your soil needs. We create and deliver unique soil which contain different combinations of vitamins and nutrients to ensure your garden thrives, no matter what you are growing. Visit us today or get in touch with our team by calling 5983 9779 now.
For high-quality and affordable landscape supplies, Mornington has relied on us for over 25 years!