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Description

Citrus have been in cultivation for centuries and are widely planted throughout mild and warm climate regions of the world. Both flowers and fruit are valued in landscapes and gardens; flowers provide a sweet spring-time fragrance and fruit are valued for eating and in juice production. Their long history of cultivation has led to many variations in fruit types for both agricultural and garden plantings.

Citrus for our gardens are available from most garden centers and nurseries across the Inland Empire. Some varieties are available as dwarf, compact or standard sizes that fit different sizes of spaces. All grow best with good sun exposure, loam type soils and with regular moisture throughout the year. Flowering produces a lot of sweet fragrance and occurs from mid-winter to early spring. Citrus develop shallow root systems that benefit from a surface mulch cover; avoid soil compaction and understory planting around citrus. Citrus are seen as increasing the benefits and productivity of plants in our gardens and an appropriate use of water.

Several popular varieties of citrus for landscape and garden use and edible fruit are: Orange 'Valencia' is a vigorously growing full size tree to 25 ft. tall and as wide. It has a sweet thin-skinned fruit that is excellent for juicing; Lemon 'Eureka' is a full size tree, 15-20 ft. tall with thorns. Its fruit has a thick skin, is deep yellow in color and is a top commercial variety; Grapefruit 'Oroblanco' is a full size tree, 15-25 ft. tall. Fruit is thick skinned and considered the best tasting white-fleshed grapefruit that is sweet and seedless; Kumquat 'Nagami' is a small tree to 15 ft. tall. Fruit has a sweet skin, sour flesh and many seeds. It is often grown as a container plant. Again, there are many choices to explore and variations in sizes and productivity.

Water Needs

Citrus are best adapted to climate zones that have mild frost-free winters and long warm summers. They prefer loam soils with regular moisture from winter through the end of summer as fruit mature. Roots of citrus are typically shallow and fibrous, growing near the surface throughout the canopy area of the tree. It is important to protect roots from drying heat and sun exposure as well as excavation or compaction; mulching and watering should cover the entire root zone area. The foliage is comprised of thick dark green leaves that produce dense shade, protecting trunks from sunburn.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Moderate Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 4

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 2x to 3x 2x to 3x 3x to 4x 3x to 4x 3x to 4x 2x to 3x 2x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
 
Inches per Month 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 2" to 3" 2" to 3" 3" to 4" 3" to 4" 3" to 4" 2" to 3" 2" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3"

Range of supplemental summer water: 17"-24"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-15"

 
0"-3"
0"-3"
0"-3"
2"-3"
2"-3"
3"-4"
3"-4"
3"-4"
2"-3"
2"-3"
0"-3"
0"-3"
  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Tree
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Upright, Low-branching, Dense
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 8 ft. - 25 ft.
Width: 6 ft. - 25 ft.
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Foliage Color: Medium green, Dark green
Flower Color: White
Flower Season: Summer, Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Loam
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, All day sun
Function: Specimen, Screening, Residential spaces, Raised planters, Espalier, Culinary use, Container plant, Background plant, Attracts bees, Fragrant flowers, Courtyard and patio tree

Maintenance

Significant pruning is generally not necessary on healthy plants. If the space accommodates, plants are easiest to grow, and most productive if the canopy is allowed to grow low, but not all the way down to the ground.

Be sure to immediately prune out any "suckers," or vigorous shoots growing from the base of the plant slightly above the soil line. These vigorous shoots will not produce good fruit, will be bad for the form of the plant, and will compete with the main part of the tree. Depending on the rootstock used by the nursery, sucker leaves may look different from the main branches, and stems may be extra thorny.

Water sprouts, which are vigorous vertical shoots growing from branches should also be removed when young. Watch out for scale, white fly, and other insect pests, and take care of issues before they get worse. Start by spraying pests off with a hose and high pressure nozzle. If they return, see the link below for approaches that avoid the use of pesticides:

For more extensive information on growing Citrus click here.

References

Associations

Plant Lists