Growing Citrus Yourself

How to Select Citrus Trees to Grow at Home

Before you just go out and buy any citrus tree to plant/grow at home, you might want to ask yourself the following questions:

 

  • What citrus do I use and like the most?

  • To what temperature extremes will the tree(s) be exposed?

  • How much space do I really have for a tree(s)?

  • What time of the year do I have a hard time finding the quality of citrus I like in my local market?

 

Citrus trees grow into three basic
“wing-span” sizes:

 

  • Potted citrus trees – grow to 6’-7’ tall with a 4’-6’ limb diameter and can produce 80-160 pieces of fruit per year when mature.

  • Dwarf citrus trees – grow to 8’-9’ tall with a 7’-8’ limb diameter and can produce 500-600 pieces of fruit.

  • Full size citrus trees – grow to 20’-30’ tall with a limb diameter of the same 20’-30’ and can produce an 800 pieces of fruit.

 

Be careful in selecting a large enough back-yard setting based on the tree(s) sizes above. Plan for the future and take into consideration neighbors, fences, power lines, and other plants and trees. Select a spot that will allow the maximum sunlight to reach all parts of the tree.

 

Don't forget all the fruit you'll be harvesting!

 

After deciding on the trees...

what needs to be done next and when?

 

  • Planting in the ground during spring is best, between March to May before the weather is to hot but starting to warm.

  • Water immediately after planting and water frequently, but be careful NOT to over water-as the tree matures, water less frequently while increasing the amount.

  • A mature “full-size” citrus tree in the Central Valley of California will need about 75-100 gallons per day during the hottest days of summer.

  • Fertilizer is important but be careful not to over-fertilize. Young trees only require some compost while mature regular size trees will use about one pound of nitrogen per-tree, per-year.

  • Of course, we recommend organic fertilizer that you can make yourself by composting your own trimmings and vegetable plus fruit “leftovers”.

  • For pest control, if needed, usually a spray of hand dish soap, diluted in water (one ounce/gallon) will take care of any bad pest whilst preserving good insects.

  • Harvest when the flavor suits your taste buds and enjoy.

  • Citrus trees can be pruned anytime, but I recommend no cutting from October to February. This eliminates any potential damage due to a late freeze.

"A farmer is more like a veterinarian than a doctor. He must carefully observe the ‘patients’ he nourishes for signs of weakness, illness, and disease.  He must calculate when and for what to test even if sees no symptoms."

—Anonymous

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All That Fruit!

In citrus groves grown for commercial production, depending on all the factors and all the variables, trees produce 300-800 pieces of fruit. For the individual, a plan needs to be in place to fully utilize all the fruit grown. Check out our blog for ideas to help you enjoy the fruit of your labor.