Recommended practices for quality citrus production
Sprucing up your citrus trees in early spring will give them a healthy start next season
Citrus is undoubtedly one of the most popular backyard fruits grown by homeowners throughout southeast Louisiana, mainly because citrus is easy to grow and often produces well each season.
Conducting recommended practices in early spring, can benefit in helping citrus trees achieve a vigorous and healthy start for the new growing season.
Removal of ground cover beneath trees is an important practice for citrus production. All mulch, grass and weeds should be removed from beneath the tree that exposes a clean, bare soil.
This bare soil should extend all the way to the drip line of the citrus tree and should be maintained throughout the entire growing season.
Approved glyphosate herbicides such as Round Up can be used safely with citrus trees and are effective in controlling various grass and broad leaf vegetation.
The ideal time to fertilize citrus trees is in late February.
Fertilization would involve broadcasting a fertilizer that includes nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium such as an 8-8-8 underneath the tree and throughout the bare soil area.
The amount to apply would include 5 to 7 pounds for citrus trees that are 6 years or older and 1 to 2 pounds for juvenile trees that would be 5 or less years in age.
An early spring fertilization is all that would be necessary for the entire growing season.
All fruit remaining on the tree, whether good or bad, should be removed.
This would need to be accomplished by no later than mid-March.
Removal of fruit provides the benefit for plant energy and nutrients to be directed to new buds and shoot growth rather than to old remaining fruit.
Following completion of the spring blooming, spray as needed with an insecticide containing the active ingredient spinosad to control leaf miners and then monthly with a non petroleum oil such as All Season Oil to control white flies, aphids, mealy bugs and citrus scale.
Control of these insects will in turn control the black sooty mold that occurs as a result of their infestation.
When applying insecticides always spray in late afternoon or evening and be sure to always follow label directions.
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