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Citrus trees include lemons, limes, oranges, mandarines, tangelos and quite a few other varieties. They are popular trees in home gardens all over the world but they require a frost free climate.

Growing Citrus

Citrus trees should be planted in spring once the soil has warmed up. Dig in fertiliser and/or organic matter a couple of weeks before planting and don't fertilise again until your new tree has settled in. Citrus trees are frost sensitive so if your area experiences frost and you wish to grow citrus trees, you will need to find a frost free area of your garden or take steps to protect trees from frost - particularly when they are young. If you have a brick wall that faces the sun, this can be a good spot for such trees. Some citrus varieties are more tolerant of frost than others so pick carefully. Meyer lemons are commonly touted as being more frost hardy than other lemons but Eureka lemons are actually the most frost tolerant lemons. Lemons tend to be more frost tolerant than limes or oranges. The hardiness of grafted citrus trees is affected by the rootstock - your local nursery can give you advice on the best rootstock for your area.

Most citrus trees come from areas with high rainfall so make sure you water them regularly if rainfall is not sufficient. They also prefer well drained soil. Only apply solid fertiliser in spring once the soil has warmed. If you use liquid fertilisers, stop fertilising them at the end of summer. In subtropical and tropical areas, fertiliser is best applied during the wet season.

Citrus problems

Citrus trees often suffer from a range of deficiencies. If you have noticed that your citrus tree is looking unhealthy, check out this website to help you determine whether your tree is suffering from a nutrient deficiency or even nutrient toxicity.

Using Citrus fruit

Citrus fruits have many different uses. They can flavour drinks, frozen deserts, stir-fries, cakes, biscuits and alcohols. They also make good room deodorisers and natural cleaning agents.

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