Florida is definitely the place to be if you want to grow citrus trees in your own back yard. Choose them well and take care of them just right, and you’ll find that you’ll be able to pick your own oranges and lemons fresh from your own garden.
Growing citrus trees is also not as difficult as you might think, especially if you’re not trying to start them from seeds. A strong nursery tree that’s been grown in a container up until now is likely to thrive in your back yard.
Choose a Sunny Spot
Citrus trees really prefer to be in full sunlight. They also need a lot of space–up to 15 feet away from trees or other buildings.
Though little miniature container trees are cute, a truly fruitful citrus tree can get pretty big, so you want to give it as much space to thrive as you possibly can.
Give it Lots of Water
New trees will be very thirsty! The University of Florida Extension suggests a very rigorous watering process for young trees.
Water is the first requirement of the young tree, and it will be used up rapidly by trees with a good head of foliage, which container-grown trees should have. If a garden hose reaches the trees easily, let it run in each basin for ten or fifteen minutes twice each week, long enough to fill the basin, for the first month. Thereafter, watering can be less frequent, but whenever new growth is observed to wilt in mid-afternoon, fill the basins again. If a hose cannot be used, supply about eight to ten gallons at each watering. Need for irrigation will be less as the trees increase their root systems each year, but some occasions for watering may be expected through the life of the tree.
Weed it Well
Don’t let your new citrus tree compete for resources. Give it lots of love by weeding it diligently.
Spreading a layer of mulch around your citrus tree can also help discourage weeds.
You should remove shoots from the base of the tree to encourage the tree to produce fruit. After all, fruit is the whole point of the exercise!
This is often the scariest part of the exercise for new citrus growers. Fortunately, the Pinellas County Extension is hosting several free citrus growing classes throughout the year. You can register online. They happen on multiple dates. They’re the perfect events for asking about how to prune your citrus tree, or for addressing any other concerns you might have.
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