In this blog post, we will go over some common fatal mistakes made when planting and caring for citrus trees.
Upon Citrus Tree Delivery:
When you receive your citrus tree, we have taken care to moisten the soil and we also have a gel system on top of the root ball to continuously feed the roots moisture and keep the roots at an even temperature. During hot months, we may add cooling packets to the box, and in the freezing mild seasons, we may have warming packs.
It is important to remove the tree from the package as soon as possible, and water the root system with 4-8 ounces of water, leaving the roots in the plastic tube. Keeping it indoors away from any extreme weather is crucial. The tree will not survive if it is subjected to over 24 hours of freezing temperatures even with warming packets, and vice versa with extreme heat.
Our micro-budded trees are uniquely packaged, and the planting methods are also specific to our trees. We highly recommend that you watch our video tutorials when you purchase the trees and prior to planting. A video on how to grow citrus trees in containers is the absolute best way to see and understand the specific technique.
- Use fresh potting soil, (not gardening soil) and fill to the brim of your container (do not pack soil).
- Use a container with holes in the bottom for proper drainage (or it should be a mesh type material which will allow for water to seep through). Please do not use a cheap plastic cup as a container, make a good investment for your tree.
- Only plant a single tree in any container.
- Use the tube to push a hole into the center of the soil.
- Gently take out the tree from the tube and use your fingers to spread open the roots, but do not strip all the soil from the roots.
- Plant the tree into the hole created and gave a gentle push at the end then push the soil around it.
By far the most common error is under watering the plants. If your tree is outdoors and in a container with proper drainage and it is starting to wilt, we would recommend more water.
There is a lot of information generally spread that overwatering is bad for citrus trees, and this is true. However, this is not as applicable when the trees are grown in a container and it has proper drainage. You do not want over water the soil and allow the roots to rot, especially in cold weather or if the tree is indoors and you are using a garden saucer.
During the first month after planting you should water at the base of the trunk so that you completely wet the roots daily for at least one month, then follow our care guide instructions.
If you are keeping your tree in an area with extreme heat, especially in the back of a car or a garage where the temperature may go above 120°, be very careful as your tree may die in less than a day.
Ice packs or ice cubes directly on the soil will be helpful in these situations. Also, make sure to aggressively water the tree during these times to prevent tree death.
At temperatures above 90°, it is nice to give your tree a bit of partial shade, although they will do well even in 100° plus weather with direct sunlight as long as you are watering sufficiently.
Your tree will die with exposure to temperatures in the 20s in less than 24 hours. Keep in mind to add in factors such as wind chill when protecting plants. During the wintertime, the trees should be brought in a garage or indoors, and do not neglect proper watering during these times.
Nearly all growers of citrus in the United States, except for those in the warmest climates, will have to bring their trees indoors or in a garage during winter. It would be very helpful, to prevent excessive shock, to provide a grow light for 12 hours a day during the winter months, this will allow your tree to continue to thrive and grow. A window with light exposure is not sufficient for citrus growth if there is not a lot of heat! Make sure to use a garden saucer with water and stones to increase the local humidity around the tree, as in the wintertime, heaters will blow very dry air.