Useful fruit and citrus articles for gardeners of all abilities.
Fruit & Citrus
Every garden deserves a citrus tree. In all but the coldest districts, citrus trees feature in backyards. They’re incredible survivors, but will perform better and bear wonderful crops if they’re well cared for.
Projects to get you started growing fruit and citrus plants in the home garden.
Handy advice on growing specific fruit and citrus plant varieties.
Where to grow
Plenty of Sun
Citrus trees need to be in full sun. If you’re short of sunny spots in the garden, grow citrus in pots that can be moved to take advantage of changing patterns of sunlight. Although citrus are traditionally grown in terracotta, these pots can be heavy (and expensive!). Yates have the perfect solution: their Tuscan pots are lightweight, surprisingly inexpensive and have that wonderful Mediterranean look that goes so well with citrus. Tuscan pots come in a range of sizes. The large 50 cm size is big enough to grow almost any type of citrus tree happily for many years.
In the garden citrus must have good drainage. This is particularly important for the popular, long-bearing lemon variety called ‘Eureka’ because it’s more susceptible to the problems caused by water-retaining soils. In heavy clay soils it’s best to put some extra effort into preparation. Before planting, raise the level of the bed as much as possible, dig in some gypsum and plenty of old organic matter (compost, aged manure or commercial soil improver).
Mix some Dynamic Lifter organic pellets into the soil before planting. Dynamic Lifter’s gentle organic nature means that it won’t cause root burn, even if it accidentally contacts some of the roots.
Feed with Thrive Granular Citrus Food at least twice a year. Citrus are very greedy plants and, because of the extra demands imposed by their heavy crop, it’s always best to use a specifically formulated food. Occasionally switch to Dynamic Lifter organic pellets to improve the levels of microbial activity in the soil.
To reduce the risk of root burn, citrus in pots should be fertilised with a slow release plant food. Here again, Dynamic Lifter is suitable, or choose controlled release Nutricote pellets.
Pests & Diseases
- Symptom: Lumps on fruit and leaves that can easily be scratched off.
- Remedy: Spray with Yates PestOil, or a horticultural white oil.
- Symptom: Grubs inside fruit
- Remedy: Use Yates Nature’s Way Fruit Fly Control, carefully following directions (there’s no need to spray the fruit). Pick up and bin grub-infested fruit.
- Symptom: Lumps in branches
- Remedy: Cut off and destroy before end of August
- Symptom: Curled-up leaves. Reddish-brown patches on back of leaf
- Remedy: Move potted citrus to warmer position
Citrus leaf miner
- Symptom: Trails and twists in newer leaves
- Remedy: Spray with PestOil or clip off affected leaves.