Citrus trees love soil that is both free of weeds and well drained. Citrus uses shallow feeder roots to access nutrients in the topsoil, so traditional deep mulch is not the way to go with your citrus crop. Also, citrus is susceptible to root rot and damage to tree trunks and bases from excessive wetness. Therefore, when you mulch the ground under your citrus tree, you should use caution. Follow the suggestions in this guide for a successful and productive citrus mulching program.
Benefits of Citrus Tree Mulching
Proper mulching under your citrus tree can help retain soil moisture while simultaneously preventing the onset of weeds or grass. This allows the feeder roots to do their job. At the same time, eliminating weeds prevents the need to dig or hoe around citrus trees, so the surface roots are left undisturbed. This fosters a healthy tree that can get the nutrition it needs without competition from weeds or grass.
Selecting The Proper Mulch
Organic mulch that will quickly break down is ideal for citrus because it also adds nutrients to the soil. Grass clippings, leaves, and composted vegetation are fine. Commercially produced mulch from tree materials are suitable, but avoid products that have been dyed or treated with systemic pesticides, which can find their way into fruit.
Applying Citrus Tree Mulch
Spread mulch evenly at a depth no deeper than three inches. It is a good idea to mulch out to the drip edge of the citrus tree, where the furthest branches fall. Do not stack mulch up against the citrus tree base and trunk. This can cause root rot, encourage pests, and instigate certain citrus tree diseases. For this reason, be sure that the base of the trunk is free of mulch to a distance of at least one foot all the way around. Always remove any stacked materials, such as fallen leaves or fruit, from the tree base as well.
By following these simple tips, you can successfully use mulch under your citrus trees without causing root or trunk damage. Proper citrus tree mulching will retain moisture, prevent weeds, reduce weeding and hoeing, and help your citrus trees become healthy and productive.