Plant your citrus trees in May

The cool autumn mornings have arrived, but the soil temperature in our gardens continues to hold its warmth throughout the day. This is the ideal time to get outdoors and plant a few citrus trees. Citrus trees are among the most rewarding trees to grow. They have thick glossy leaves, perfumed white flowers each spring and are laden with fruit in winter. ASQ Garden & Landscape has plenty of citrus varieties available for those looking to add something more than just the humble lemon tree to their space. 

Citrus trees have plenty of surface roots and are very hungry for nutrients. Before planting, build up your soil with heaps of manure, compost and gypsum. It's best not to add fertiliser initially. Wait until the early spring and summer before adding fertiliser to give them the best start and a prolific growth period for the first year. 

Feeding citrus early can cause them to push out new growth, which will get burnt off by the frost. It is best to wait till later in the year to feed your citrus. 

If you are in a heavy frosty area such as parts of Castlemaine, citrus can be grown in pots quite happily, protecting them from the cold and keeping them happy over winter. For renters and those in smaller spaces, plant dwarf varieties in a half wine barrel. Half wine barrels are very durable, made of thick oak wood planks with metal rings around them for stability. Half and full wine barrels are available at all ASQ Garden & Landscape locations. 

Over winter, you can expect some yellowing in the foliage due to the cold. 

You'll see a massive range of citrus at ASQ Garden & Landscape with plenty to choose from, including some of our favourites such as Lisbourne Lemon, Lemonade Lemons, Cara Cara Oranges, Finger Lime' Rainforest Pearl' and Tahitian Lime. 

Over summer, black and yellow caterpillars are often found on citrus trees. These caterpillars may eat a few leaves but don't stress if you see them as they become Swallowtail butterflies. 


What are the most common types of lemon trees? - Jen, Eaglehawk

The main lemon tree varieties that are grown in Australia are Eureka, Lisbon and Meyer. Another great variety is Lemonade Lemon, the fruit is sweeter than a typical lemon and is perfect for drinks and desserts.  


Can you pick lemons before they turn yellow and let them ripen off the tree or should you leave them on the tree until they change colour? – Megan, Taradale.

I say best to wait until they are full sized (5-7cm), firm but not hard and yellow to yellow-green in colour. Lemons don't like to ripen off the tree fully.


When do I fertilise my tree? - Courtney, Bendigo East

Citrus are hard-working plants that are hungry for nutrients. After they are established, you can fertilise with a citrus specific product such as PowerFeed for Flowers, Fruit & Citrus every 2 to 3 months from late winter through to autumn. If your tree is freshly planted, it is best to wait till later in the year to feed your citrus.


Should I mulch my citrus trees? - Olivia, Castlemaine 

Yes, but keep the mulch about a hand span from the base. 

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