Citrus: Avoiding The ‘Danger Zone’ To Achieve Abundance

Trish & Malcolm have finally solved their citrus fruit drop problem.

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Autumn is an important season for citrus maintenance, especially if they’re growing in areas with summer rainfall.
This is because heavy rainfall leaches nutrients through the soil and citrus are really quick to show they’ve got deficiencies.

For a quick nutrient fix:
To four and a half litres (4.5L) of water add:
3 tablespoons of seaweed concentrate, 1 teaspoon of trace elements, 2 teaspoons of iron chelates
Mix it all well, and water it in around the roots.

We’ve been in touch since 2006. On 13.2.10 Gardening Australia screened one of my Citrus Care segments, and last September Trish & Malcolm emailed me to say:

“Well, I have to say that your feeding/clearing bug programme for citrus trees (Fact Sheets permanently hanging in our shed) is just coming to wonderful fruition in our tiny wind swept, salty, sandy garden. However, we are now in the very happy situation of having masses of flowers and hopefully lots of fruit. Some of the branches look too weak to hold large fruit like Seville oranges or grapefruit. Do I prune the longest, very new stems off and sacrifice some flowers? Being just in the sub-tropics at Harrington on the mid NSW North Coast, spring comes relatively early and I made the mistake last year of feeding at the wrong time and only ended up with leaf growth and very little fruit.

Following your advice during autumn, winter and now spring, we are in danger of disappearing in a jungle of 6 (supposedly semi-dwarf) citrus trees! Help! All this is because I like proper English marmalade. Thanks for the advice though, I can definitely testify to the fact that it works!”

The citrus ‘danger-zone’ 7.10.10

Dear Trish,
You are now in the ‘danger zone’, since feeding citrus too much nitrogen while they are in flower can cause excessive fruit drop. You can feed them moderately every six weeks with a blended organic fertiliser (such as Organic Extra) after flowering has finished up until the end of May.

Fruit drop is common on citrus, it helps adjust the number of fruit they can sustain to maturity. It can be discouraged by regular, even watering.

Thinning fruit by hand, removing one out of every three fruit, also helps achieve this balance. Focus on weak branches.

Success 15.8.11
Last October I wrote to you for advice after the trees developed quite immature stems with heavy fruit forming. Now I am attaching a couple of pictures to show you the success achieved after leaving the “danger zone”. I am able to distribute kilos and kilos of Seville oranges and other fruit to neighbours and a charity.
Many thanks.

Jerry Coleby-Williams
16th August 2011


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