Monday, May 28, 2012

Citrus maintenance

By no means am I an expert on gardening topics or anything for that matter but I do love my garden. It gives me great joy. Right now is a good time to be loving some of my citrus trees. The lime and all but one of the mandarin trees have given up their fruit for the year and are ready for a little pampering. A healthy dose of chicken manure to invigorate them. 

Citrus have a high nitrogen requirement so chicken manure applied around the base to the drip zone works a treat. Commercially available fertilisers most likely have it all worked out to a science but poultry manure is aplenty here and it's free. Our climate is  very cold winters and hot summers which is perhaps not ideal for citrus but the only effect it seems to have had is that they are a little slower growing and maybe the fruit is a little more sour than it would be in a more suitable area. Having said that, I am yet to have an orange off our own trees but I live in hope that they are just taking their time and it isn't a result of where they are growing. The citrus trees are the water guzzlers of the orchard and they look decidedly sad when they are thirsty with their leaves turned up. Skimping on the water isn't good for the fruit or the tree. Too much water at once after a dry spell though can cause the fruit to split.

Citrus are the only fruits we have in the orchard right now and I have to say a mandarin is just about perfect for a snack or for a school lunchbox. Quite timely too to have all of that Vitamin C packed goodness with the cold season upon us. Still to be picked are the lemons, lemonades and the Empire mandarin.


Christy said...

How wonderful to be able to grow your own citrus fruits. I just have one apple tree and all the baby apples have just fallen off, so will have to look into why.

Thank you always for your lovely comments. Yes I know it is a lot of people, but once I get my mind around it half the battle and get focused and organized it can be done. Plus needs must.


africanaussie said...

I have a little lime tree in a pot and it has suddenly started fruiting this year - I love the taste of fresh limes, and understand that in this area they will fruit for most of the year. I think a dose of pelleted chicken manure might be a good idea. (I dont have my own chickens unfortunately.