We have had an inconsistent winter this year so far. Warmer than average temperatures while the rest of the country suffers through freezing, snowing conditions. Our fluctuations have confused our plants so extra care is needed. Do not let a warm week in February allow you to think that winter is over. We can and most likely will have freezing temperatures this month and possible into March. Average last frost date is March 15 and remember — That is the AVERAGE!!!
Fertilize your citrus around Valentine’s Day Special Attention Needed in February
1. Water both the day before and immediately after applying granular fertilizers.
2. Use a granular fertilizer according to the directions on the package. Size and age of the trees determine how much fertilizer you use.
3. Fertilize mature trees away the trunk, meaning the outer two thirds of the ground of the leaf canopy where the most active roots are.
4. Give the trees a deep soaking watering after applying the fertilizer.
5. Newly planted trees do not need fertilizer the first 1-2 years after planting).
6. Note: Whether you use Ammonium Sulfate, Ammonium Phosphate or Citrus Food fertilizer it's important to read instructions because the amount of fertilizer need per year will vary depending on the age, size, and type of citrus tree. For example, a medium-sized adult tree 5-6 years after planting needs 6.2 pounds of Ammonium Sulfate per year (split into three applications). Grapefruit trees 5 or more years after planting need half the amount for other citrus.
7. Continue to pick your citrus. You do not need to harvest all of the fruit just because the trees come into flower. Grapefruit and Valencia oranges will continue to sweeten while left on the trees.
(Source: Pima County Master Gardener Program)
- Image courtesy of Master isolated images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Do not be tempted to prune back frost damaged plants yet.
We need to wait until the danger of frost is over (average date March 15)
Watch for a surprise frost and cover tender annuals.
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Marylee is the founder and former owner of Tucson’s The Contained Gardener. With more than 15 years of successfully designing and growing potted gardens in the desert’s challenging and oftentimes harsh climate, Marylee has become known as the Desert’s Potted Garden Expert. Marylee is available for in-home or digital consultations and you can always email her with your questions and comments. Follow The Potted Desert on Facebook!
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