Citrus are a great fruit tree for any garden. They provide shade, shelter and delicious fruit. They are highly versatile, growing well in Perth's conditions and there are varieties suitable for planting in the ground or in a pot.
Preparing the soil
Before planting, ensure the soil has been cultivated and improved. For guidelines on how to do this, see our planting guide.
The pot should be watered prior to planting to ensure the root ball is moist. Remove the plant from the pot gently and lightly tease the roots at the base of the ball. Place in the hole and back fill. Apply a seaweed tonic such as Seasol and water in.
Citrus are gross feeders, this means they require regular feeds with a good quality citrus fertiliser. Apply a slow release in spring and autumn or use liquid feeds more frequently. Spread the fertiliser evenly around the tree's dripzone and water in well.
Even with regular feeding, citrus are prone to nutrient deficiencies - particularly iron. This can be seen when leaves become pale or yellowed and should be treated with trace elements.
Citrus generally do not require a great amount of pruning. Complete to keep the tree to a manageable size, remove diseased, weak or rubbing branches. Remove any shoots coming from below the graft on grafted trees. These are called suckers and will weaken the strength of the tree. This removal promotes growth of the grafted variety only.
Pests and Diseases
There are a few common pests and disease that citrus are susceptible to.
Citrus leaf miner effects the leaves of trees by burrowing beneath the layers of tissue. It can be identified by a silvery tunneling on the leaves. Squash the small green miners when you see them, and apply a systemic pesticide to combat.
A sticky black coating on the tree is usually sooty mound and results from the presence of sap sucking insects such as scale and mealybugs. Ants on your tree can also indicate scale. Scale and mealybug can be treated with a horticultural oil or systemic pesticide.
Fruit fly can also be problematic for citrus. We have a great range of bagging, netting, traps and baits to assist in combating fruit fly.
Planting in a Pot
If planting in a pot, a half wine barrel or large is a good size to aim for. Select an appropriately sized tree, such as a dwarf or semi-dwarf. Always use a premium potting mix with all the Australian standard ticks. Regular applications of a slow release fertiliser will provide consistent nutrition. Watering need to be regular to ensure good fruit quality. Citrus are shallow rooted so avoid cultivating under the tree.
The Department of Agriculture and Food also has a helpful Garden Note on growing citrus.
Disclaimer: Whilst all care is taken in compiling these notes for Guildford Town Garden Centre, no liability or responsibility is accepted by Guildford Town Garden Centre owners and employees for the accuracy or appearance of material or the performance of any products mentioned.
Please note that this is intended as general information only. Please ask one of our qualified horticulturists for more specific advice for your situation.
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Why not try growing some Citrus trees for yourself?