Summer Citrus Care
The hottest period of the year is perhaps the most critical time for looking after citrus trees in order to ensure a good crop. The potential for plants to dry out is obviously greatest at this time; so ensure that plants are kept free of weeds or lawn to the drip line of the tree. Summer finds citrus trees developing and bearing fruit, so it’s an important time for citrus tree maintenance. Learn tips for summer citrus tree care with an eye towards improving fruit quality, retention, and yield.
In the heat of summer it is important that you do keep up with the watering. If your tree is outside and there is a breeze or the weather is warm they can dry out quickly. As always, water heavily from the top of the pot and let the excess water drain away. Don't let your citrus tree stand in water for long and ideally don't water again until the top of the soil is dry.
Consider moving your trees outside for the summer as Citrus do love a summer holiday. This is particularly important if you are having trouble getting your citrus to flower or fruit and if you are suffering with any pests.
3. Summer Feed
Citrus benefit from a balanced summer and winter citrus feed. This is in addition to the free plant tonic we include when your tree is delivered. The Summer feed has more Nitrogen for leaf growth and the winter feed has proportionately more Phosphorous to help develop fruits. In the summer months it's particularly important to use a balanced Citrus Feed and don’t forget to do it every other watering to keep your tree at it’s best. Potassium (K) increases fruit size, especially if applied in summer. Later summer applications can be performed in a wetter-than-normal summer.
4. Watch for Leaf Drop
Citrus trees are not deciduous. Losing one or two leaves is not too much of a concern, but any more than this, and it’s a sign that your tree is unhappy. At this time of year the most common cause of leaf dropping is letting your plant get too thirsty, remember they do need quite a bit of water when in a pot in the Summer.
5. Treat early for Pests
Outdoors, birds and other insects plus the cooler nighttime temperatures will keep most pests at bay, which is another good reason to keep plants outside in the summer months. Nevertheless, it's a good idea to check your plants regularly, aphids, caterpillars and even slugs can occasionally be a problem in the summer and should be treated as soon as possible. A soapy washing up liquid solution is normally good enough if the infestation hasn't got too advanced. Spray on to the leaves morning or evening a few times a week until it's cleared.
Before moving plants indoors in the autumn, always have a good check for pests. Round brown circles, white sticky fluff, webbing, holes in the leaves or stickiness are all signs of pest attack and should be treated as soon as possible.
6. After the May-June drop, nutritional requirements for fruit development decrease compared with spring. As a rule of thumb, any time there is growth in the tree, nutrient supply should be higher, so there are enough nutrients available.”
7. Traditionally, for juice-producing varieties such as Hamlin oranges, light maintenance pruning through hedging can be conducted throughout the summer with no effects on fruit yield. Severe pruning should be avoided as loss of canopy can result in significant fruit drop. Additionally, oranges or late-harvested grapefruit, hedging may be problematic due to overlapping canopies. In this case, hedging should be performed in late spring, after the old crop has been harvested and the new crop is already set.