Don’t Forget to Feed Your Citrus Trees!

gillnurseryTimely Tips, Veggies, Fruits, and Herbs8 Comments

We’re lucky in South Texas to be able to add citrus trees to our gardens with great success. Lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, kumquats, and more thrive here and produce lots of fruit with the right care – if you feed them, they feed you! Now’s the time. Here’s our recommended method.

We love organic CitrusTone by Espoma. It contains all the essential nutrients plus beneficial microbes that colonize in the root system and create stronger roots and a healthier plant overall. Sort of like eating healthy AND taking vitamins. 

Citrus Feeding Schedule

  • Late Winter January/February:  Pre-bloom application will enhance flowering.
  • Late Spring May/June:  Post-bloom application will encourage better fruit set.
  • Fall September/October:  This will ensure overall nutrient needs are met.

How Much?

Citrus trees are heavy feeders – they need quite a bit of food to produce fruit.

Citrus Tree HeightAmount of CitrusTone (using 4lb bag)
Up to 3 ft2 lbs. (1/2 bag)
3-6 ft.4 lbs. (1 bag)
7-9 ft.6 lbs. (1.5 bags)
9+ ft.8 lbs. (2 bags)

Pro Tips

Spread fertilizer at the drip line. ‘Drip line’ means the outer edge of the branches where water drips off when it rains. Don’t use fertilizer within 6” of the trunk. Spread evenly at the drip line, then water it in thoroughly. 

Remove blooms for the first 2 years. Young citrus trees need to put their energy into growing roots and branches instead of producing fruit. This means once you start seeing blooms, be sure to pluck them off. This will prevent fruiting. Do this for the first 2 seasons, then your tree will be ready to sustain the weight of the fruit and the energy required to produce it. 

For citrus trees in pots, use 1 teaspoon per 4″ of pot diameter. Double for pots over 12″. Feed about every 60 days late Winter to Fall.

8 Comments on “Don’t Forget to Feed Your Citrus Trees!”

  1. I have large mature citrus trees and live in southern Bee co. How do I take care of the citrus trees that went through the 17 degree weather we experienced? I wrapped the lower trunks of the grapefruit, lemons and lime trees.

    1. My lemon tree is still showing green, but I think that wood has just not died yet. I am waiting until I see new sprouts to tell me where to prune. Assuming I have healthy sprouts anywhere above the graft, i will cut out dead wood and follow a more strict watering and fertilizing schedule. Fertilize February, May, and September, water every two weeks in spring and every week in summer, then slow watering way down in October to slow tree metabolism for increased winter cold hardiness. The rootstock will try to sprout and grow, keep those sprouts wiped off while still matchstick size or smaller. If you have no growth above the graft, start over by grafting or by planting a new tree.

    2. If you successfully bring your trees through this freeze, or plant new trees, I recommend you buy pipe heating cables to wrap the trunk and lower branching during the next freeze, with trunk or entire tree covered to hold in that heat.

  2. Hello. My lemon tree/bush was fairly well protected by the landscaper’s fabric I bought from you the day before the big freeze hit. But it still has lost every leaf and bud. Many of the branches still look very green and good though, some have brown tips. I fed it the week before the storm. Should I feed it more or just leave it alone for now? Should those tips be pruned? Thank you somuch.

    1. You should not need to feed again til May. My lemon tree is still showing green, but I think that wood has just not died yet. I am waiting until I see new sprouts to tell me where to prune.

  3. If you successfully bring your trees through this freeze, or plant new trees, I recommend you buy pipe heating cables to wrap the trunk and lower branching during the next freeze, with trunk or entire tree covered to hold in that heat.

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