As the citrus harvest season begins, keep your trees protected and promote the best quality fruit with our top autumn citrus care tips.
Choose a sunny spot with well drained soil. Enrich the soil with Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser. If the soil is clay based, improve soil structure by adding gypsum and forking in well. In poorly drained areas, citrus can also be planted in a raised mound of free-draining soil.
Citrus trees will often produce a second flush of new foliage in late summer and early autumn. New growth needs to be protected from citrus leaf miner attack by spraying the leaves with Yates Nature’s Way Citrus & Ornamental Spray. It deters the citrus leaf miner moth from laying her eggs on the foliage, thus preventing the damage caused by the tunnelling larvae. To protect citrus from leaf miner, spray leaves every 5-14 days from when the new foliage is around 4 cm long. Yates Nature’s Way Citrus & Ornamental Spray will also control aphids, which are attracted to tender new citrus leaves. Aphids are small sap sucking insects that can be green, brown or black and can cause leaves to curl under and twist. Like citrus leaf miner, the damage caused on new leaves by aphids is permanent. It’s easy to control aphids on citrus by spraying the foliage with Yates Nature’s Way Citrus & Ornamental Spray, including on the undersides of leaves where aphids often hide, every 5–14 days. It’s based on natural pyrethrin and vegetable oil and is approved for use in organic gardening, so is ideal for gardeners wanting to use organic methods of insect pest control.
Feeding citrus regularly is the key to promoting bucketfuls of juicy fruit. Citrus are very hungry plants and lack of nutrients can lead to a decline in fruit quality. Yates Thrive Citrus Liquid Plant Food is a complete plant food that has been specially formulated to provide citrus with the nutrients they need. Apply Yates Thrive Citrus Liquid Plant Food around the root zone of in-ground and potted citrus trees every 1-2 weeks during autumn, while citrus trees are busy maturing their fruit.
In fruit fly prone areas, citrus fruit can be vulnerable to attack by fruit flies, even from when the fruit are still small and green. To control the adult fruit flies before they get a chance to lay eggs, which turn into destructive maggots, apply Yates Nature’s Way Fruit Fly Control as a band or spot spray onto the trunk or lower foliage of trees. There is no need to spray the actual fruit. It’s important to re-spray the plants each week (or sooner if there has been rain) to maintain effective protection.
In addition to nutrients, having access to sufficient moisture is important for fruit quality. Citrus trees have a shallow root system and can dry out rapidly. Keep the soil or potting mix moist with regular, thorough watering. Applying Yates Waterwise Soil Wetter around the root zone of in-ground and potted citrus will help water penetrate evenly and effectively down into the roots and spreading a layer of mulch around the root zone will help retain moisture.