Citrus Trees not producing

Alyssa DeRonneFebruary 23, 2012

So I bought my house two years ago, and when I moved in we had citrus galore! The previous owner had a professional taking care of her yard work. There were also non-organic methods used. Last year we had a good turn out of citrus again, but this year we have a tangelo tree that has produced maybe five fruits and it is our biggest tree. The thing is like 20 feet tall. We also get a ton of seeds in our mandarin oranges. I have sour oranges and lemons and those produce well. I am having problems with the grapefruit, orange, tangelo, and mandarin orange.

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Well, I'll state the obvious - I would contact the professional to see what they were doing, since it was working :-) Non-organic may not mean bad, Yayanator. It may have been an integrative approach that was working very well for your property. Secondly, a citrus tree that is 20' tall is really a problem. How are you planning on picking the fruit at the top?? I would have that professional come back, and work on taking that tree down over a period of a couple of years, to bring the fruit back down to a pickable height. And, not sure what problems you're having with your grapefruit, tangelo and mandarin? If you can be more specific and provide photos, that will help the forum members be able to offer you some suggestions. Upload your photos to a photo sharing site, like Photobucket. Then, copy the HTML code (NOT the URL, or any other coding string, just the HTML code), and paste that code directly into the body of your message. When click on "Preview Message", you should then see your photos embedded right into the body of your message. That makes things much easier for forum members. And, your mandarin has seeds because it's being cross-pollinated, so no avoiding that, unless you want to plant a seedless variety.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 3:00PM
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What you said was "they were using non-organic methods"; what you DIDN'T say is what you have done in the last 2 years, especially as to fertilizer. Your citrus should be getting fertilizer 3 times per year... maybe 4, if you have sandy soil. That's 3 or 4 applications of a good quality complete fertilizer in the ratio of 5-1-3 NPK. I suspect that for the size of your trees your problem is simply a lack of food and/or minerals.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 4:19PM
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Alyssa DeRonne

So, I have fertilized, but not as much as I should I assume. I have more clay than sandy soil. I use organic rose food, which is what the nursery here told me I could use. I really wish I could afford the spikes, I think that would make things easier.

I have a fruit picker that's long, so that's how we get the high-up stuff. I can't afford the professional to come back.

I need to learn how to trim the trees I guess.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 8:24PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Hmm. I don't know what organic rose food is, Yaya. Can you post the NPK ratio? Citrus are big nitrogen lovers, so I can't imagine rose food being appropriate for citrus. Fertilizer for blooming plants is usually much lower in nitrogen (all flowering plant fertilizers have much lower N ratio, so as not to promote vegetative growth as much as blooms). For example, I use Gro Power fertilizers as they contain a large amount of humic acid, which really helps my citrus here where I live. For my blooming plants as well as for my stone fruit I use Gro-Power's Flower-n-Bloom, which has an NPK ratio of 3-12-12. Not at all suitable for citrus. Gro-Power's Citrus and Avocado Food, which is what I use for my citrus and avocados (as well as my mangos and pomegranates) NPK ratio is 8-6-8. Also, clay soil will retain water, so be sure you've got good drainage for your citrus.

It really sounds to me like your trees are in need of a more appropriate fertilizer. I would find a good citrus fertilizer that has plenty of nitrogen. You can also mulch with compost and mix in some composted chicken manure in small amounts to help boost nitrogen. Fertilizer spikes are a complete waste of money, they do not work, and may actually create more problems for you. A quality citrus fertilizer applied every 2 to 3 months in large amounts if you're going organic (which will be about 10 times more expensive for you than non-organic, which really is a misnomer, fertilizers), or if you use a non-organic fertilizer, you will be fertilizing at the same rate, but will use about 1/10 the amount. All "non-organic" fertilizers are broken down into organic compounds that can then be taken up by the plant roots, so it all ends up being "organic" in the end. And I'm all for keeping my trees down to a pickable height. Too much work to try to pick fruit from a 20' tree at my age, lol!

Patty S.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 10:07PM
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Alyssa DeRonne

These have an NPK of 5-5-5 would that work?

I am getting spikes now, if you think that's a good idea. It sounds like they last longer and might just be easier.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 2:00PM
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Forget about the spikes; get some good balanced fertilizer and apply it according to label 3 times per year at the drip line of the tree. Citrus ordinarily consume N-P-K in a ratio of 5-1-3; so look for a fertilizer that has that ratio, or close to it. Water it in well and wait for improvement.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 3:13PM
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Alyssa DeRonne

Thank you for your help.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 1:14PM
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This is a question for hoosierquilt. Where do you get your Gro Power Flower & Bloom from? Dave Wilson Nursery recommended using it but I live in the Inland Empire and can't find anyone who sells it.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 1:18AM
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