All About Citrus Trees – Part II

Citrus Trees in a Grove, in the Indian River Citrus growing region located in Florida.

Citrus Trees in a Grove, in the Indian River Citrus growing region located in Florida.

The cultivation of citrus trees is partly an art and partly a science.

Citrus trees are generally pretty hardy plants but most of them do require very specific growing conditions in order to produce fruit. The one thing that will damage a citrus tree more than anything else is repeated exposure to the cold, so citrus trees cannot be grown outdoors in any areas that have sub zero temperatures during the winter or a lot of very cold or snowy weather.

Because different varieties of citrus trees have different tolerance levels it is possible to grow some types of citrus trees in areas which receive some cold weather but not repeated freezes or sustained periods of cold weather. If you live in states like Mississippi, Alabama, or Texas you may not be able to grow all types of citrus trees but there are some hybrid breeds that do very well in those states despite occasional exposure to cold weather. Citrus trees flourish in states like California and Arizona, Florida, and Georgia.

If you’re worried that your outdoor citrus trees might be adversely affected by the cold, or if the local weather is calling for a cold snap the best way to protect your citrus tree is to bank it with potting soil or regular soil.

Soil is a great insulator and will protect most breeds of citrus trees from an occasional cold front. If the weather is going to be very cold you can throw old blankets or towels over the trees to protect them from the inclement weather. Heaters are not recommended for citrus trees unless they are low power. High power heaters could produce too much heat and burn the leaves of the tree.

Choosing the right fertilizer for citrus trees can be tricky because citrus trees do have some unique nutritional needs. Most commercial fertilizers contain Nitrogen, Phosperous and Potassium which all citrus needs need, but most citrus trees also need Magnesium, Boron, Copper and Zinc in micronutrient amounts. If you are going to try growing your own citrus trees it’s essential that you choose a fertilizer that contains Magnesium, Boron, Copper and Zinc because without those nutrients the tree won’t produce any fruit.

If a real deep freeze is on the way and you are determined to try and save your citrus trees spray them with water and let the water freeze. The ice will give the root system and leaves of the tree some protection although some branches of the tree will probably break.

Citrus trees also need the Mycorrhizal fungi, which helps open up the root system of the tree to make sure that nutrients from the soil are evenly distributed to the leaves and branches of the tree. Citrus trees planted outside usually develop the Mycorrhizal fungi on their own from elements in the natural environment. But if you’re growing citrus trees in pots or indoors you will need to add Mycorrhizal fungi to the tree’s environment in order to make sure that the tree is healthy. You can add Mycorrhizal fungi by purchasing Mycorrhizal fungi tablets at a nursery or garden center and adding them to the soil when the seeds of the tree are started.

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