Arizona Citrus

Appropriate Watering is Key

Master gardeners in the state of Arizona explain that the biggest problem for home gardeners growing healthy citrus trees is watering. When you water your citrus trees the area on the ground that you water should be about a foot wider than the canopy of the tree. Generally this is about how far the root system extends and is where your tree is searching for the moisture and nutrients it needs.

How To Water

It is best to water slowly and deeply to help push salt build-up past your roots. Watering should be slow and long enough that the depth reaches about 2 feet into the soil around your tree. Newer trees should be watered deeper for the first 3 years after they are planted. It is important to water deeply yet allow your soil to dry before you water again.

New Tree Pruning

Newly planted trees do not produce fruit for the first number of years after you plant them. The fruit that does grow on newly planted, young trees should be removed. Suckers and dead branches should be the limit of your pruning with young fruit trees. Any shoots that are growing quickly and headed straight up are described as suckers and should be removed. They should be pruned below the bud union. This will depend on the type of rootstock you choose, and not the fruit tree variety you buy or have planted.

Citrus Tree Pruning Tips

Typically in the Phoenix Valley the best time to prune citrus trees is from about mid February until March. You just want to wait until there is zero chance that there will be a freeze.  It is best to get this done before it is warm and your tree starts to have new growth.

Provide Some Shade

Leaving enough branches and leaves to create a skirt around your tree is an important factor in growing healthy citrus trees in the Phoenix Valley. Leave enough new growth to provide shade for the trunk of your tree so it does not get sunburned. If your tree trunk gets too much sun it can affect how healthy your tree is, and how much fruit it can produce.  Even if you are watering properly too much sun will hold you back. Young trees can be covered with a shade cloth that helps block the intense afternoon sun.

Protecting The Tree

There will be branches, new growth, and parts of your trunk you will be unable to provide enough shade for with the canopy. For these areas you can cover them with a specially formulated paint which is made for trees and helps protect them from over exposure to sunlight. You can purchase this tree trunk paint at your local nursery.

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