Fertilizing Cycles for Citrus Trees

Fertilizing Cycles for Citrus Trees

Fertilizing Cycles for Citrus Trees

Citrus trees benefit from proper application of fertilizer to enrich the soil. Like other fruit trees, citrus trees need the right balance of nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous and trace elements like manganese, boron, copper and magnesium for vigorous growth and maximum fruit production. Before fertilizing, test the soil to see if it has unusual nutrient imbalances.

Young Trees

Citrus trees will need more fertilizer as they age. In humid tropical climates such as Florida during the first year, start applying fertilizer at the start of the growing season in February just as the buds begin to swell, and reapply every six weeks through October. Apply about 1/2 pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer per tree. In the second year, apply about 1 pound per tree every seven weeks. For the third year, apply 2 pounds per tree every nine weeks. In the fourth year apply 3 pounds per tree every 12 weeks.

Mature Trees

For mature citrus trees that are 5 years old and older in humid climates, fertilize three times a season with 5 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer per tree. Fertilize in February, May and November. For each application, apply 1 pound of fertilizer for each year of the tree’s age. For instance, a Florida tree 10 years old would get 10 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer in three separate applications for a total of 30 pounds per year.

Dry Climate Growing

For citrus grown in dry climates such as southern California or Arizona, the main fertilizing ingredient required for citrus tree vigor is nitrogen. Most soils have enough potassium and phosphorous. Generally, don’t apply nitrogen fertilizer in the first year. In the second year, apply 1/2 cup of ammonium sulfate per tree every six weeks starting in March. This fertilizer is 21 percent nitrogen. In the third year, increase to 1 cup per tree per application. In the fourth year apply 2 cups per application, increasing to 2 1/2 cups in the fifth through ninth years. In the tenth year, increase the ammonium sulfate to 4 cups per application for the remaining life of the citrus tree.

Application Method

Spread the fertilizer evenly on the ground in a band along the edge of the citrus tree’s leaf canopy. Don’t spread it near the trunk. Make the band as wide in feet as the tree has years of age. For instance, you would spread fertilizer on the ground along the canopy edge of a 5-year-old citrus tree in a band 5 feet wide. Water the trees thoroughly after each application of fertilizer. This is especially critical in dry climates. Source: homeguides