Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Climatic divisions and soils
 Choice of rootstock
 Choice of scion varieties
 Planting site
 Selecting the tree
 Care of non-bearing trees
 Care of bearing trees
 Back Cover
 Historic note

Group Title: Bulletin - University of Florida Agricultural Extension Service ; 166B
Title: Citrus fruit for the dooryard
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00020526/00001
 Material Information
Title: Citrus fruit for the dooryard
Series Title: Bulletin - University of Florida Agricultural Extension Service ; 166B
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Lawrence, Fred P
Lawrence, Fred P.
Publisher: Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1962
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00020526
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltqf - AAB2786
 Related Items
Other version: Alternate version (PALMM)
PALMM Version

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page 1
    Table of Contents
        Page 2
    Climatic divisions and soils
        Page 3
    Choice of rootstock
        Page 4
    Choice of scion varieties
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
    Planting site
        Page 11
    Selecting the tree
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
    Care of non-bearing trees
        Page 16
        Page 17
    Care of bearing trees
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
    Back Cover
        Page 24
    Historic note
        Page 25
Full Text



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September 1962

Bulletin 166B



Clim atic Divisions -...........-..... ............. -- ------.. 3
Soils ...--- ----..-....... ---------- --- ...- -- .........- -..-- ----.-- -.... .. ...-- -- 3
Choice of Rootstock ................................... ...... .......... ....... .... .. 4
Choice of Scion Varieties ......-.......-................ ....---------.. -- 5
Early Maturing Varieties .............-... .... ..-~.. .........--- 6
M midseason Varieties ..... ................. ................... --- ..-- .--- 7
Late Season Varieties .-..-............................-- ....- --... -- 7
Grapefruit ---. ----- --- -- --................ ..............-. ..-...- ----- ---.......--.-- 8
A cid Fruits ......- .......... .... .......................... .... ... 8
Other Citrus ............-..-... .....-- -----...- -----. 9
Planting Site .............. .. ..............- .. ................... ......-..- 11
Selecting the Tree -.........---............ ......- 12
Planting ............................. ... -- ..... ....-...-----... -- 13
Care of Non-bearing Trees ....---... .....-------- 16
First Year .--------........... ......... ... ....-.. ...- 16
Second Y ear ......-........... ...... 17
Third Year .............-........--.... ....--. -- ------------------------- 18
Fourth Year ................ ......18
Care of Bearing Trees ...................................... -.. .. 18
Fertilization .........-.... ....... .........---.. -- 19
Cultivation .............. ......... ... .. --- .. 20
Pruning .........................- ---.......- ..- ..--- ... ... 20
Irrigation .....-- ...--.....---..........--- ....... ...----------..--. 21
Cold Protection .............- ....----..-- ....--...-.....---.. ... 21

(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida,
Florida State University and United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
M. O. Watkins, Director

Citrus Fruit for the Dooryard

Citriculturist, Agricultural Extension Service

Dooryard citrus plantings com-
plement Florida living. They pro-
duce fruits of excellent food value
which can be stored on the tree for
long periods without loss of nutri-
tional qualities, and they are beau-
tiful evergreens which enhance the
beauty of the grounds and increase
property value. Properly handled,
the plantings can be made to blend
with the overall landscape and
produce an abundance of delicious
This bulletin has been prepared
to assist the home-owner in choice
of stocks and scions for effective
plantings and to give helpful sug-
gestions on selecting a planting
site, on preparation of the soil and
on planting. For those who al-
ready have bearing trees a cultural
program is offered, designed to
keep the trees at maximum pro-

Florida may be divided into three
general climatic zones: Southern,
Central and Northern. These areas
may be fairly well defined by draw-
ing a line across the state from
Sarasota on the West Coast to Ft.
Pierce on the East Coast; the area
south of the line may be called
southern Florida. From this line
north to a second line drawn from
Brooksville through Ocala to Cres-
cent City may be described as cen-
tral Florida. From this line north

and west should be called northern
Citrus will grow well in southern
and central Florida. However,
within these districts there may be
local areas where citrus cannot be
grown satisfactorily. The entire
northern Florida area is generally
unsuited to citrus, due to low win-
ter temperatures, although there
are certain locations within this
area where the hardier stocks and
varieties will survive.

Florida soils generally fall into
one of four broad classifications:
sands, mucks, marls, and the rocky
soils of the southern tip of the pen-
insula. By far the greatest ex-
panse of soils fall under the classi-
fication of "sands." For citrus
growing, sands may be further di-
vided into three types: (1) the
deep, drought sands found in the
central coastal dunes and also in
the sand scrubs of the interior,
(2) the rolling, well drained sands,
and (3) the poorly drained flat-
woods lands, frequently underlaid
by hardpan.
Citrus can be grown with a min-
imum of soil preparation on well-
drained lands. It can be grown also
on most other types where drain-
age and irrigation can be provided.
Where drainage is not practical,
special soil preparation, such as
bedding or mounding p r i o r to

Florida Agricultural Extension Service

planting, may be required (Fig. 1).
Mounds should be at least 12 feet
in diameter at ground level, a min-
imum of 18 inches high (36 inches
is recommended for excessively wet
locations), and eight feet in di-
ameter on top.

Citrus fruits do not always re-
produce true to type through seed.
They are best propagated by some
vegetative means, such as by cut-
tings or layering, or by grafting or
budding onto a rootstock of some
closely related species or type. In
Florida, the customary method of
propagation is by budding.
Rootstocks may be chosen to suit
the climatic conditions, the soil

type, the scion varieties, and the
For Climatic Area. The five
root stocks commonly used in Flor-
ida are, in order of their hardiness
or resistance to cold: Trifoliate
orange, sour orange, sweet orange,
Cleopatra mandarin, and r o u g h
lemon. The exceptional cold hardi-
ness of trifoliate makes it a desir-
able rootstock for most varieties in
home plantings in northern Flor-
ida. The fruit produced by varie-
ties budded onto trifoliate stocks is
of excellent quality. A hardy, cold-
resistant stock has a tendency to
render a tender scion more hardy.
For Soil Type. Trifo 1 iat e
orange is well adapted to a wide
range of soils. Sour orange or tri-

Fig. 1.-A 10-year-old tree on a 24-inch mound.

Citrus Fruit for the Dooryard

foliate is recommended for the
heavier, poorly drained soils.
Rough lemon is suited to high, dry,
sandy soils. Cleopatra and sweet
orange are best suited to the inter-
mediate soils, but Cleopatra can be
used on the heavier soils and sweet
orange on the drier ones with a fair
degree of success.
For Variety. The five stocks
under consideration are, under nor-
mal conditions, compatible with all
the more common varieties, but a
degree of choice can be expressed.
Rough lemon produces large trees
faster on well drained soils and is
a prolific bearer but the fruit is of
poorer quality than other stocks.
(It is not recommended for low,
heavy, poorly drained soils, due to
its susceptibility to foot rot; it is
also one of the least cold-resistant
stocks.) If used in a home plant-
ing, rough lemon is best suited as
a stock for Valencias. Cleopatra
is especially recommended for man-
darin type fruits; trifoliate for sat-
sumas and sour and sweet orange
stocks for other varieties.
For Landscape Design.-Unbud-
ded seedlings of sweet orange pro-
duce slender upright trees for the
first 10 or 12 years, often reaching
a height of 20 feet or more. About
the twelfth year the trees begin to
spread and, if not crowded, may
reach 40 feet or more in canopy
and height. During this time lower
limbs may be removed to form
umbrella-like shade trees. Sweet
seedlings begin to bear fruit at
seven to nine years and the yield

gradually increases until they are
approximately 30 years old.
Budded trees are low and com-
pact in growth habit. However,
they, too, will ultimately reach a
height of 20 to 30 feet, with a 30-
foot diameter, if not crowded by
adjacent trees. Most varieties
when budded on trifoliate stock
produce a semi-dwarf tree. These
are slower in growth habit, with
the result that the trees are some-
what smaller than those produced
by other commercial stocks.
Kumquats are quite decorative
and seldom exceed 15 feet in height
on any stock; the calamondin also
is a smaller tree. Where smallness
of tree is desired both of these va-
rieties should be placed on trifoli-
ata stock. Severinia buxifolia, a
citrus relative extensively used as
a hedge plant, can be used also as a
rootstock for most varieties to pro-
duce dwarf trees. This particular
plant is not used extensively as a
rootstock, due to lack of demand,
and it is difficult to obtain with
citrus varieties grafted onto it.
Otaheite orange is a true dwarf
citrus. It is grown in Northern
greenhouses as a potted plant but
is not much in demand in Florida,
possibly because of its insipid taste.
It should be grown for ornamenta-
tion only.

In Florida there are many varie-
ties of citrus, including experimen-
tal hybrids, but only a relatively
small number are used commer-
cially. This leaves a group of ex-

Florida Agricultural Extension Service

Fig. 2.-Upright growth habit of a
seedling tree. Between 10 and 20 years
of age, if not crowded, the tree fills out
and becomes a large, symmetrical and
beautiful one.

otic and delicious varieties from
which the home gardener may se-
lect to produce something unusual
in flavor. Some of these are listed
in the order of their season of
ripening, to enable the dooryard
grower to select varieties that will
produce fruit over the longest pos-
sible period.

Satsuma.-The satsuma is one
of the earliest ripening varieties.
Its hardiness or cold-resistance, es-
pecially when budded on trifoliata
stock, makes it an important va-
riety for the northernmost section

of the citrus belt. This combina-
tion of stock and scion does well on
a wide range of soils and will grow
in all citrus areas of the state; how-
ever, it seems to be of best quality
when grown in the more northern
sections. The fruit retains its peak
quality for only a short time. If
not picked at maturity it becomes
puffy, large, rough in appearance
and insipid in taste. There are
many strains of the satsuma; one
of the most satisfactory is the
Navel.-The navel orange is pe-
culiar in that the well-known
strains have not proved satisfac-
tory; the fruit tends to be large,
coarse, somewhat woody in texture
and will not carry long on the tree.
This is particularly true when bud-
ded on rough lemon rootstock.
There are other strains, however,
especially in the northern part of
the citrus belt, that produce large,

Fig. 3.-Young budded tree the same
age as the seedling tree shown in Fig. 2.
It, too, will grow into a large, symmetri-
cal tree.

Citrus Fruit for the Dooryard

juicy, delicious fruits. Many of
these strains are unnamed or bear
only local names. The State Bud-
wood Certification office in Winter
Haven is endeavoring to locate and
name some of these fine strains. A
check with that office would assist
in finding a desirable tree.
Orlando Tangelo.-The Orlando
is a hybrid of the Bowen grapefruit
pollinated by the Dancy tangerine.
The attractive appearance of the
foliage, which tends to roll up on
the edges to give a spoon-shaped
appearance, and the early maturity
of the fruit make it a very decora-
tive plant. When the fruit is ma-
ture the flesh is highly colored and
can be readily peeled.
Hamlin.-The Hamlin is one of
the principal varieties of e a r ly
oranges g r o w n commercially in
Florida. It produces fruit that is
nearly seedless (3 to 5 seeds) ; the
peel is thin and adheres tightly to
the pulp. The quality of this fruit
is acceptable, though lacking the
rich flavor of other varieties, es-
pecially when grown on rough
lemon stock.
Parson Brown.-This is a popu-
lar variety of early orange pro-
duced on a commercial scale. The
fruit is of excellent quality, a rich
orange color, and contains approxi-
mately 12 seeds. The rind tends to
be slightly rough. It will grow well
on all standard rootstocks.

Temple.-Grown in the proper
environment, the Temple orange is

one of the most beautiful and high-
ly-flavored citrus fruits. It is be-
lieved to be a hybrid between the
mandarin and the sweet orange.
Deep in color with a pebbled peel,
the fruit can be eaten easily from
the hand. It has given best results
when propagated on sour orange
stocks and grown on rich hammock
soils. It is also of good quality
when grown on Cleo or sweet seed-
ling stocks, but is not recommend-
ed on rough lemon stock for home
Minneola Tangelo.-The Minne-
ola is of the same parentage as the
Orlando. It is of good color and
excellent flavor and has very few
seeds. It appears to do well on
sour, sweet, or Cleo rootstocks.
Murcott Honey Orange (some-
times referred to as Smith's tan-
gerine).-The origin, as well as the
correct spelling, of this variety is
debatable, but its superior quality
is well known. The peel is not as
deeply colored as the Dancy tan-
gerine but the flesh is a very deep
gold. The flesh is firm and pos-
sesses ample rich, sweet juice. It
peels easily and can be eaten from
the hand.
Ponkan (or Chinese Honey
Orange).-The fruit resembles the
Dancy tangerine but is of larger
size, with fewer seeds, and is pri-
marily characterized by its ex-
tremely sweet pulp combined with
an agreeable flavor.
King Orange.-The King is the
latest maturing "kid glove" variety

Florida Agricultural Extension Service

grown in Florida. It is large in
size and oblate in shape. The peel
is deep orange in color, thick, rough
and loosely attached to the pulp.
Flavor and quality of the juice are
Valencia.-This is the standard
commercial late variety in Florida.
It is medium to large in size and
slightly oval. The peel is a deep
orange and the orange-colored
flesh is firm, with seldom more
than six seeds. Although it can be
eaten from the hand, it is prima-
rily a juice orange of superior
There are many other varieties,
but these listed are easily obtain-
able and are of proven quality.

Royal.-The Royal differs from
the typical grapefruit varieties in
that the fruit is slightly smaller in
size and of a darker orange-yellow
color. The juice is sweeter than
that of most grapefruit and the
rag has less bitterness and a mild-
er odor.
Triumph.-Neither the Royal
nor the Triumph is grown as a
commercial crop in Florida. How-
ever, the quality of these fruits is
similar and recognized as excep-
tionally good. Triumph is very
juicy, heavy and slightly larger
than Royal. Both fruits have a sug-
gestion of orange flavor and could
very well be orange-grapefruit
crosses. Both varieties are seedy.
Marsh.-The Marsh is recog-
nized as one of the best commercial
varieties and is probably more ex-

tensively propagated t h a n any
other. The fruits are seedless,
white fleshed, and quite juicy. The
tree is vigorous, large and dense of
Red Grapefruit. There are
many varieties of red- and pink-
fleshed grapefruit, some with seeds
and some without. The Ruby, or
USDA Red, has the deepest red
flesh of the many varieties and
the fewest seeds.

The lime is valued primarily as a
highly-flavored acid fruit. The
fresh juice of the lime exceeds that
of the lemon in both acid and sugar
content. It is highly aromatic and
prized for various culinary pur-
poses. It makes a delightfully cool-
ing beverage. The lime tends to
be everbearing, producing fruit the
year round, with peak production
coming in May through August.
Key or Mexican Lime.-This va-
riety is grown principally in the
Florida Keys, south of Miami and
along the Gulf coast. However, it
is known to survive in protected
areas in central Florida. The va-
riety is not strongly recommended
because of its lack of cold hardi-
ness and its excessive thorniness,
plus the fact that it is very suscept-
ible to the fungus, anthracnose,
which attacks both fruit and foli-
Persian or Tahiti Lime.-This
variety is much larger than the
Key. The seedless fruit is oval,
with a smooth, dark green peel.

Citrus Fruit for the Dooryard

The pulp is pale green and yields
an abundance of acid juice of excel-
lent flavor. The Persian lime, like
the Key, is one of the less cold-
hardy varieties and its success out-
side the southern part of the state
is limited to the more protected
Florida has many varieties of
lemons but, unfortunately, nearly
all are subject to a gum disease
that seldom kills the tree outright
but reduces it to an unattractive
state. Most lemon trees will pro-
duce an abundance of fruit in
spite of the disease. It is believed
this condition will be corrected
through the budwood certification
program, but until certified and
disease-free trees are available the
dooryard grower should expect
some difficulty with practically all
true lemon varieties. Some of the
better strains are the Villafranca,
Avon, Harvey and Eureka.
Meyer Lemon.-Although this
fruit is not a true lemon, it is ap-

Fig. 4.-The Villafranca lemon grows
well in some areas of southern Florida.

parently the most disease-free and
cold-resistant of the lemon group.
It develops into an apparently
healthy, well-shaped tree t h a t
bears large golden fruit with a very
thin smooth peel. The fruit is prac-
tically seedless, with flesh so ten-
der that it is prized by most home

Other attractive and useful va-
rieties of citrus are:
Kumquats.-Possibly the most
widely used of all dooryard citrus,
the kumquat bears small orange-
like fruit 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter.
The fruit can be eaten, peel and all,
from the hand or used to make
marmalade, jellies, candies, etc.
The trees are small and can be
grown as shrubs, making excellent
ornamentals. Common varieties
are Nagami, Meiwa and Marumi.
Nagami fruit is oblong to slightly
pear-shaped; the others are round
and somewhat sweeter.
Calamondin.-This small fruit is
shaped like a tangerine and has
very acid pulp. The tree grows to
a height of 15 to 20 feet, is well-
formed with beautiful foliage, and
bears a very heavy crop of yellow-
to-orange fruit. It is used mainly
as an attractive ornamental, al-
though the fruit can be used as a
substitute for limes and lemons.
Limequat.-These hybrids re-
sulted from crossing the lime with
the kumquat. All limequats have
produced fruit resembling the lime
in appearance and character. In
general, they should be considered

Florida Agricultural Extension Service

Fig. 5.-The citrus trees in center and left foreground are growing in too much shade.

Fig. 6.-This dooryard citrus tree is growing in direct sunlight.

Citrus Fruit for the Dooryard

as substitutes for that fruit. They
are more hardy than the lime and
probably more resistant to certain
diseases. They can be recommend-
ed for cultivation only as a home
fruit for sections slightly too cold
for the lime. There are several
named varieties of the limequat,
Eustis, Lakeland and Tavares be-
ing the more common.

Citrus thrives best in direct sun-
light. Trees planted under even
partial shade will tend to be weak
and unsatisfactory. Practically all
varieties, when budded or grafted
on the more common stocks, are
rapid-growing symmetrical trees,

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Fig. 7.-A potted tree is easily


Fig. 8.-This bare-rooted tree has had
the top "hatracked" or "buckhorned" to
balance the root system.

usually attaining an over-all height
and spread of approximately one
foot per year. In selecting a site,
keep this rate of growth in mind.
Spacing is most important. The
distance at which trees are planted
depends upon variety, soil type,
rootstock, and climatic influence.
Each of these factors has an im-
portant effect upon size of the ma-
ture tree. The usual spacing for
most orange trees is 25' x 25',
grapefruit 30' x 30' or 25' x 30'.
Most of the mandarin types and
mandarin hybrids, such as the
Temple and tangelo, can be reduced
to 20' x 20'; satsuma, kumquat,
calamondin and most lime and

Florida Agricultural Extension Service

lemon varieties can be reduced to
15' x 15'.
Caution.-Septic tanks and their
drain fields are to be avoided when
planting; the tree roots will clog
the drain and detergents, soaps, al-
kalies, borax and other chemicals
used in the home are usually in-
jurious to the tree.
Poorly-drained soils are to be
avoided if at all possible; however,
this can be overcome in part by
special soil preparation such as
bedding or mounding the planting
site prior to planting the tree.

Choose the variety and rootstock
that will best suit the site, soil and

area. Purchase trees from experi-
enced and reliable nurserymen.
Citrus trees are delivered from the
nursery in one of four methods:
(1) bare-rooted; (2) bare-rooted,
but placed in sphagnum moss, ex-
celsior or some similar material;
(3) balled and bagged (burlap
placed around a small root system
that has been lifted with the soil
still around the roots) ; and (4) as
potted trees. The latter two meth-
ods are better for the home garden-
er, as the root system is better
protected and less likely to dry
out before planting. Citrus root-
lets dry quickly when exposed, and
once dry, they cease to function.
Either one- or two- year- old

Fig. 9.-Removing undesirable and bruised roots from a good root system.

Citrus Fruit for the Dooryard

budded trees are recommended;
older trees are likely to be culls and
should be avoided. Well-grown
one-year-old citrus buds should be
1/2 to 3/% inch and two-year-old
trees % to 11/4 inches in diameter
(usually called caliper) when meas-
ured one inch above the bud union.
Larger trees may be planted, but

the transplanting requires skill and
knowledge and should be done only
by a thoroughly qualified person.
Good nursery stock (Figs. 7 and
8) will have large, thrifty leaves
and bright, clean bark. The bud
union should be smooth and at
least three inches above the ground
level. Avoid trees with a hard,
stunted appearance. The bark on
such trees is usually dark grey, the
trunk crooked with definite areas
or joints reflecting arrested growth
(Fig. 10).

The preferred time for planting
is while the tree is most dormant,
usually in late January or Febru-
ary. Normally young trees will go
through several cycles of growth

Fig. 11.-For spring or summer plant-
ing, the author trims the top of a fresh-
ly dug tree to balance the root system.

Fig. 10.-A cull tree. The large, hard
stump indicates that the rootstock has
been rebudded and is probably diseased.

Florida Agricultural Extension Service

during the year. If the planting
cannot be made in the early spring
prior to the start of these cycles,
it is well to let the current flush
mature before digging the tree for
The area where the tree is to be
planted should be spaded and all
roots, vines, sticks and foreign ma-
terial removed. The immediate
area should have all lawn sod and
grass removed prior to spading up
an area four to six feet in diam-
eter; this area should be leveled
with a steel garden rake.
Dig a hole sufficiently wide and
deep to accommodate the root sys-
tem. This can be judged by plac-
ing the tree in the hole and then
altering the hole to fit the tree.

If the tree is bare-rooted, inspect
it for broken or damaged roots.
Prune off these with an even, slop-
ing cut. If the root is larger than
1/2 inch in diameter paint the cut
with a good pruning compound.
If the tree is bagged or potted,
remove the bag or pot completely;
place the tree gently in position
and throw in a few shovels of soil.
The tree should be set in such a
way that, after the soil has settled,
the tree will be just a little higher
than it was when growing in the
nursery. Fill the hole 1/ to 1/ full
with soil and settle the soil in the
bottom of the hole by using several
gallons of water. If a garden hose
can be used turn it on with full
force (no nozzle) to wash the soil in

Fig. 12.-Using a planting board to establish correct depth of planting.

Citrus Fruit for the Dooryard

place and remove all air pockets.
Cut off the water; allow that in the
soil to settle and continue to fill the
hole with soil until it is two-thirds
filled. Repeat the application of
water; shake the tree gently and
work the watery soil tightly around
the roots. Finish filling the hole
and pack the soil firmly around the
tree. If the danger of cold weather
has not passed, bank the tree im-
mediately. (See instructions on
banking under Cold Protection.)
Watering is one of the most im-
portant steps in growing a citrus
tree. Form a watering cup by
mounding the soil 3 to 4 inches



Fig. 13.-Half set tree ready to be
watered and have soil firmed around


Fig. 14.-Properly set tree with water
ring ready for future waterings.

Fig. 15.-Pruning roots of freshly
dug tree.

1. #.1


Florida Agricultural Extension Service

Fig. 16.-Painting pruning wounds
on larger roots.

high in a circle around the tree.
The circle should be at least 30
inches in diameter.


The young tree produces struc-
ture for future fruit bearing and
should be forced to produce as
much vegetative growth as possible
during the first three or four years.
This entails watering, fertilizing
cultivating and protecting against
cold, insects and diseases.

Water.-The young tree must be
watered thoroughly and consistent-
ly. On dry sandy soils, apply water
three times a week for the first
two weeks after planting. Heavier
soils may require only one water-
ing per week. For the first year,
the trees should be watered at least
once every week or 10 days during
periods of no rainfall.

Ira ~JL



Fig. 17.-Lower roots properly cov-
ered; upper roots spread, ready to be
covered, watered and firmed.

Fertilization. Newly-set trees
should not be fertilized until they
show visible signs of growing, usu-
ally from four to six weeks after
they are set. The first application
should be light, not more than 1/2
pound of a 6-6-6 citrus special con-
taining minor elements. Each suc-
ceeding application, at six-week in-
tervals, may be increased slightly
until the tree is receiving approxi-
mately 11/3 pounds on the last ap-
plication of the first year. In areas
where the trees are subject to se-
vere winter cold, stop fertilization
by mid-August to allow sufficient
time for all new growth to mature.
Cultivation.-Maintain weed and
grass control around the base of
the tree by hoeing a circle two to
six feet in diameter. Mulching is
not recommended for citrus be-
cause it frequently leads to fungus
attacks that seriously damage or
kill the tree. If this form of culti-

Citrus Fruit for the Dooryard

vation is used, however, never let
the mulching material come in con-
tact with the trunk of the tree;
allow a space at least 8 inches in
diameter adjacent to the tree ex-
posed to sunlight and air to reduce
the possibility of fungus attack.
Cold Protection.-When young
trees are planted in northern or
north central Florida before the
danger of freezing temperatures
has passed, bank them with soil
that is free of grass, roots and leaf
mold, to a point well above the bud
union. The bank should be 14 to
20 inches high. Remove the bank
as soon as the danger of freezing
has passed. Bank them each win-
ter (in mid-November) for the first
two or three years, until the tree
has gained some size and is better

9 *4

Fig. 18.-Painting cut surface of
straight or single-stocked tree with a
heavy water-repelling tree paint.

-.. tST a- F.- 9 :
1 --
t r* -- -- -

Fig. 19. Newly planted citrus tree
banked to protect it from cold weather.

able to withstand freezing temper-
Pruning.-Avoid pruning unnec-
essarily; removal of leaves retards
growth and increases the time re-
quired for trees to come into bear-
ing. To develop a better fruiting
structure, remove while they are
still young and succulent the
sprouts that develop on the trunk
of the tree below the scaffold limbs.
In the case of a straight-stocked
tree, remove the sprouts that ap-
pear below the area to be branched,
to form the top of the tree. Leave
the tops unpruned until the tree is
bearing or trim only as is neces-
sary to remove dead wood.

The program for the second year
will approximate that of the first,
except for watering and fertilizing.
Water second-year trees thorough-
ly, 10 to 20 gallons of water per ap-
plication, every two or three weeks
depending on weather conditions.
In very dry weather the trees tend

Florida Agricultural Extension Service

to wilt at mid-day and it will be
necessary to water; if the season is
normal very little additional water
will be needed during the second
The frequency of fertilization
and the analysis of the fertilizer
may remain the same throughout
the second year but the amount per
application should be increased.
Begin in the early spring (January
in the southern area, February 1
in the central and February 15 in
the northern area) with the same
rate used during the last applica-
tion in the preceding fall (about
11/ pounds) and gradually increase
at six-week intervals until 21/
pounds are applied during the last
application in the fall.

Normally the tree will be estab-
lished by the third year and little
or no watering will be necessary.
However, d u r i n g droughts the
trees may tend to wilt badly be-
tween noon and 2:00 p.m. and
should receive 25 to 30 gallons of
water. Sometimes additional ap-
plications will be needed at from
two- to three-week intervals if
drought is prolonged.
Most varieties will bloom in the
third year and may set a few fruit.
This fruit may or may not be left
to mature. Normally, trees of this
age mature only a few fruit of poor
quality and for this reason the
fruit are usually removed.
Fertilization will be the same as
during the second year. Apply
21/ pounds and increase the

amount each six weeks; by the last
application the amount should be
four pounds. As the fertilizer
rates are stepped up increase the
area of soil on which it is applied.
A good rule of thumb is to begin
at the base of the tree and cover
the soil evenly in a circle out to a
distance of at least two feet be-
yond the drip of the tree.

The primary concern for the first
three years is to establish a tree
with a good vegetative growth. At
the beginning of the fourth year,
however, certain changes are due;
the fertilization schedule should be
reduced to only three or four appli-
cations of four pounds each for the
entire year. If dry weather pre-
vails, water the trees thoroughly a
day or two before the application
and again a day or two after the
fertilizer has been applied.
During the fourth year, also,
allow the tree to mature whatever
fruit it sets. This will not be top
quality fruit but will be acceptable
and the practice will tend to re-
duce vegetative growth and pro-
mote fruitfulness in future years.
By the fifth year the tree should
be producing good fruit-in quan-

Cultural requirements for suc-
cessful fruit production include
fertilization, cultivation, pruning,
irrigation, cold protection, control
of pests and diseases and harvest-

Citrus Fruit for the Dooryard

Citrus will grow under a wide
range of nutritional levels and it
is impossible to outline any one
program of fertilization which is
better than all others for all condi-
tions. It must also be emphasized
that the size and quality of the
fruit of any one crop in any given
year are not determined solely by
the ratio or poundage of any single
fertilizer application or even of a
single year's fertilization. It is de-
termined rather by the condition of
the trees, which reflects past prac-
tices for a period of several years.
Not only fertilization but also in-
sect and disease control, irrigation,
soil conditions, weather and other
factors exert an influence on fruit
Ordinary lawn and shrubbery
fertilizers seldom contain any but
the three primary plant food ele-
ments of nitrogen, phosphorus and
potassium. Citrus requires, in ad-
dition to these, magnesium, man-
ganese, zinc, copper and sometimes
boron, iron and molybdenum for
best growth and fruiting.
For average soil conditions in
Florida the following fertilizer an-
alysis will be generally satisfac-
tory for citrus trees in dooryards:
N P K Mg Mn Cu
6 6 6 4 0.75 0.25
This mixture can be used for all
applications throughout the year.
Make three applications per year at
about the following periods: Janu-
ary or February, May or June and
October or November. Apply fer-

tilizer to the entire rooting area,
which usually extends well beyond
the drip of the tree.
The amount of the application is
an important factor. Over-fertil-
ization tends to make the tree ex-
cessively vegetative, with a re-
sultant reduction in quality and
quantity of fruit. On the other
hand, yellowing or lightness of
color (other than that of immature
growth) is a sign of hunger in the
tree. To maintain foliage of a
good dark green color a fairly safe
rate in each application is 2/3 pound
of the 6% nitrogen mixture, per
year of age of the tree, up to 10
years. After 10 years, 1 pound
of the 6% mixture for each year
of the tree's age should be suffi-
cient at each application. A total
of 90 pounds per year will suffice
for trees 30 years old or older.
This recommendation is made
for trees without lawn grasses
growing under them. If the tree
is growing in a sod, 25 to 50% ad-
ditional fertilizer will have to be
applied to allow for the amount
the grass will absorb. Do not ap-
ply fertilizer to dry lawn grass.
Wet the grass, apply the fertilizer
and then wash all fertilizer into the
soil to avoid burning the lawn.
Trees growing on alkaline soils
will require at least one nutritional
spray per year. For best results
apply a dormant spray in the early
spring, just before growth starts.
Most garden supply houses carry
nutritional elements already mix-
ed; however, if they are not readily
available in prepared form the fol-
lowing mixture is recommended.

Florida Agricultural Extension Service

W ater............................... 3 Gals.
Basic copper sulphate
or neutral copper
compounds................... 3 Tablespoons
Zinc sulphate.................. 2 Tablespoons
Manganese sulphate..... 31/ Tablespoons
Hydrated lime................. 6/2 Tablespoons

It is recommended that the soil
pH around citrus trees be main-
tained between 5.5 and 6.2. This is
accomplished more easily on sandy
soils than on alkaline. On the acid
sandy soils apply sufficient liming
material, such as dolomite or agri-
cultural lime, each year to prevent
the pH from dropping below 5.5.
This requirement can be deter-
mined by drawing soil samples
from beneath the drip of the
branches and having them ana-
lyzed by your county agent or other
competent authority.

Cultivation is not an absolute es-
sential for successful citrus grow-
ing, but a certain amount of shal-
low tillage appears to stimulate
growth. Cultivation of dooryard
trees with large tools is usually un-
desirable and impractical; how-
ever, the soil can be well aerated
and tilled by the use of such simple
hand tools as the hoe and rake.
Keep soil free of weeds and lawn
grasses from the trunk of the tree
out to the drip. This practice af-
fords ample cultivation, allows for
satisfactory fertilization and pre-
sents an attractive landscape pat-
Pruning of citrus trees that are
grown for fruit production should

Fig. 20.-Citrus trees make better growth when grass is not permitted to grow too
close to them. The grass takes up much of the plant food.

Citrus Fruit for the Dooryard

be confined almost entirely to the
removal of dead or broken limbs.
The removal of healthy, well-de-
veloped leaves reduces the ability
of the tree to bear fruit and should
be avoided as much as possible. In
older trees the periodic removal
of dead wood is important. Also,
for the sake of appearance and to
facilitate care, r e m o ve sprouts
from the tree trunk. Prune out only
enough growth of the center of
the tree to facilitate fruit picking
and the control of insects and dis-
eases. Most citrus trees at times
will produce long, vigorous sprouts
called suckers. If these suckers
or water sprouts are left alone they
tend to fill the inside and top of
the tree with a tangle of growth
that is susceptible to attack by dis-
ease and insects.
In pruning, make all cuts smooth
leaving no stub or ragged edges.
Remove all twigs or branches at
a fork or branch, if possible; if
not, dress the wound down until
the cut area is flush with an area of
surrounding bark. Treat and seal
all cuts over 1/2 inch in diameter
with a heavy water-repellent paint.
Tree surgical paints with an as-
phalt base are preferable. A tree
wound cannot be coated with or-
dinary house paints, as they are
likely to contain mineral spirits,
solvents or other substances that
will further injure the bark and
prevent healing.
In removing dead twigs, limbs
and decayed areas always make the
final cut into live healthy wood.

Waterproof the wound and it will
usually callus over.
Citrus trees in some sections oc-
casionally suffer serious injury
from cold. It is impossible to de-
termine the full extent of a severe
injury at once, as mature trees may
continue to deteriorate for several
months following a freeze. If only
slight damage is caused by cold,
pruning may be done as soon as
new growth indicates the extent
of the injury. However, since
pruning stimulates growth, it is
advisable to withhold all pruning
until danger of cold has passed
completely. Where trees have been
killed back to large limbs, no prun-
ing should be attempted for at
least six months to allow the tree
to recover from the shock and to
ascertain which limbs should be re-
Watering of bearing dooryard
citrus trees seldom becomes neces-
sary under Florida conditions. If
the trees are growing in the lawn
or in an area where lawn sprinklers
are operated, there is a possibility
of damaging the tree by too-fre-
quent applications. Arrange the
sprinkler system so that areas con-
taining citrus trees are not watered
more than every other day on well-
drained soils. On poorly-drained
soils waterings should be less fre-

In spite of Florida's mild, sunny
winters, there are times when cold
air comes rolling in to send the

Florida Agricultural Extension Service

Fig. 21.-Another young tree banked for
protection against winter cold.

temperatures tumbling. At such
t i m e s trees in colder locations
should receive some frost protec-
tion. Young trees, under four
years of age, should be banked

with clean soil to a height of 14 to
20 inches.
In areas that are likely to have
damaging temperatures, curtail
spraying, fertilizing and cultiva-
tion by early September to allow
the tree to "harden-off" for the
The final resort is the commer-
cial grove heater. The stack re-
turn-type heater is most satisfac-
tory for the dooryard in that it
eliminates most of the smoke and
soot and there is no exposed flame.
No heating directions will be ap-
propriate for all conditions. Gen-
erally, Florida cold comes out of
the north and northwest; if there
are no buildings or heavy wind-
breaks on that side of the citrus
to be protected a minimum of two
heaters for the individual tree will
be required, one on the north, the
other on the west. Where several
trees are grouped fewer heaters
will be necessary.

For information on control of insects and diseases of door-
yard citrus trees see Agricultural Extension Service Circulars
137 and 139A. They are available from the offices of county or
home demonstration agents, or from the Bulletin Room, Rolfs
Hall, University of Florida, Gainesville.

Citrus Fruit for the Dooryard

We are deeply grateful to those at the University of Florida,
the Citrus Experiment Station in Lake Alfred and the USDA
Horticultural Station in Orlando whose respective ideas and sug-
gestions have been of great value in the composition of this Bul-
letin. We also acknowledge with thanks the specimen plants
supplied for photographs by the Grand Island Citrus Nursery Co.
and Hall's Nursery of Eustis, Florida.


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