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Q:  Why isn’t my ruby red grapefruit blooming?

Q: Why isn’t my ruby red grapefruit blooming? It gets some sun in the afternoon and I have used stake fertilizers each year.  I am watering it twice a week just like my lawn grass.   It looks healthy, and is growing, but still no fruit.

A:  Some grapefruit varieties are notorious for taking 7-12 years before they are mature enough to produce fruit – so be patient.  However, you might consider moving it to a site that gets full sun, 6-8 hours is best.  Any plant (lawn grass, trees or shrubs) will generally need less water and fertilizer when they are in shaded areas.  The University of Florida recommends watering lawn grass in full sun once every 5-7 days in the summer and once every 10-14 days in the winter.  You are probably over watering the plants in your landscape and could reduce it.  However, you should measure your irrigation systems output. Consider placing empty tuna fish cans around your irrigation zones and run the system for 20 minutes then use a ruler to measure the amount of water in each can.  Your goal is to have ¾ – 1 inch of water each time you water for your lawn grass.  Adjust your system so it matches the maximum output of 1 inch. Citrus also has a tendency to develop root rots so it is important their roots do not stay wet.  Do not put mulch over the root area and keep lawn grass as far away from the roots as possible.  Be sure to use citrus fertilizer on your citrus and granular fertilizers are preferred over stakes.  The stakes are convenient but they do not reach all the roots.  Broadcast the granular fertilizer all over the root area (avoid the trunk of the tree).  Be sure to follow the directions on the label and look for slow release fertilizer whenever possible.