Feed your fruit!

Feed your fruit

Photo, UF/IFAS

 

October is a great time to fertilize citrus trees.   In fact, citrus should be fertilized from February through October, so this signals the last application of fertilizer for this yearThe amount of fertilizer to apply varies according to the age of the tree, for details see the chart below.  An ideal fertilizer formulation for citrus would be one with an analysis of 8-8-8 with other macro and micronutrients.  The analysis is that series of numbers you see on a fertilizer bag.  They stand for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium- in that order.  The Pinellas County Fertilizer Ordinance exempts fruit trees and vegetable gardens, so don’t fret about fertilizing, but do fertilize appropriately.  A granular fertilizer should be broadcast under the entire canopy of your citrus tree and a good rule of thumb is to spread the fertilizer as many feet beyond the dripline of the canopy as the age of the tree in years (up to ten).  Do not put fertilizer near or in contact with the trunk.  Remember to always clean up any fertilizer spills from hard surfaces to make sure it doesn’t end up in the storm drain.    Be sure to follow the recommendations below for the amount of fertilizer to use and always follow the instructions on the label of your fertilizer product.  Over-fertilization can be harmful to our environment, damaging to your plants, and can lead to more pest and disease problems.  Nobody wants that!

Schedule of fertilizer applications, from “Citrus Culture in the Home Landscape

Year Since Planting

Number of fertilizer Applications per Year

Pounds Nitrogen per Tree

per Year

Pounds of Fertilizer per Tree

per Application

6-6-6

8-8-8

10-10-10

First

6

0.15 – 0.30

0.4 – 0.8

0.3 – 0.6

0.3 – 0.5

Second

5

0.30 – 0.60

1.0 – 2.0

0.8 – 1.5

0.6 – 1.2

Third

4

0.45 – 0.90

1.9 – 3.8

1.4 – 2.8

1.1 – 2.3

Fourth

3

0.80 – 1.0

4.4 – 5.6

3.3 – 4.2

2.7 – 3.3

Fifth & Higher

3

1.1 – 1.4

6.1 – 7.8

4.6 – 5.8

3.7 – 4.7

 

For additional information on home growing citrus at home: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs132