When To Fertilize Citrus Trees & How?

If you are living in a subtropical or tropical region, I know you have cultivated citrus trees in your garden. Am I right? If yes, I think you should know they require some extra care and nourishment like other fruit-bearing trees.
They need heavy feeders and citrus fertilizer to make the trees grow healthy. But it is vital to know when to fertilize citrus trees to get a bumper fruit crop.
In general, you have to fertilize your citrus trees in your garden every 1-2 months during active growth in spring and summer. But in dormant periods in winter, the trees need fertilizer 2-3 months a year. When the age of the tree, you should skip the dormant season and increase the amount of fertilizing time.
In this blog post, you will learn when to fertilize citrus trees and how. Plus, what are the best fertilizers for citrus trees?
Let’s get a free estimate today with some downside facts about citrus trees!

Citrus Trees Pest And Leaf Diseases

Like all other trees, citrus trees can grow with many pests, leaf diseases, and insect damage. The disease can differ depending on the trees, but they are curable. Proper maintenance like fertilizing, watering, weeding, or removing fallen fruits can assist in controlling most diseases.
If your citrus trees are sick or affected by any disease and insects, ensure the right treatment according to the trees’ diseases. A good insect and pest control peppermint oil can strengthen your citrus trees and fight against pests and leaf diseases.

Below is a short list of citrus’s common pests and leaf diseases that help you select and treat the trees properly.

  • Aphids: It is the most common pests, and they suck out the sap from the tree’s leaves. It also attracts the sooty mood and fungal disease.
  • Brown soft scale: It is another pest that are small insects that attach to the wood and fruits and greenery the trees. To remove this issue, you can sue Monterey horticulture oil which suffocates the pests and eggs.
  • Citrus Bud Mite: Aceria Sheldoni attack and infest the citrus trees in the coastal area. They are small insects with four legs. They are at the highest risk during blooming time.
  • Greening: It is caused by psyllid insects. It causes the leaves discoloration that looks like mottling in different shades of light green to deep yellow.
  • Canker Disease: It is a bacterial infection that is responsible for the diseases of circular lesions or scabs on leaves and twigs.
  • Leprosis Disease: It is a virus transmitted that cause lesion and they are appearing on both sides of the leaves.
  • Bacterial Spot: This type of spot occurs in the nursery environment. There are three types of diseases: aggressive, moderately, and weakly. The aggressive only spread by wind-blow and others can be spread among the trees during nursery by moving workers or vehicles around the garden.
  • Melanose Diseases: An infectious fungus that is created from dead twigs or branches and a small brown spot on the leaf. This disease spot grows to show a red-brown gum and increased bumps.

When To Fertilize Citrus Trees

To keep healthy and strong, citrus trees need to save from the above diseases and require specific fertilizer to provide nutrients in perfect balance. Citrus trees need nitrogen, potassium, boron, zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium for better growing. But before applying fertilizer you must ensure the stop of grasses, so just clean the ground very well.
Only the standard fertilizer can offer those nutritious values. But for this, it is vital to know when to fertilize the citrus tree, which will help you keep your trees healthy and get more.
Let’s see when and how you should fertilize the citrus trees, even according to the region and tree age.

Fertilization According To Experts

The University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources advised regular fertilization on citrus trees. According to their recommendation, the best time for fertilization are:

  • First Application: In January or February at the of blooming.
  • Second Application: In early May and June
  • Thirdly, if the citrus trees also need more fertilizer, apply the final round about a month after the second one.

They also suggested that fertilization isn’t correct in the late season. It may affect the best quality fruits and make the peel of fruits rough.

Fertilization Depend On Tree’s Life-Stage

Fertilizing citrus trees, depending on their life stages, is essential to growing the tree’s strength and health. Let’s see which stage requires the fertilizer and when needs.

Young Citrus Trees

The young citrus trees require fertilizer from their first year of life. Fertilization at this stage helps the trees establish their roots to jerk the essential nutrients from the soil.

And the best time to fertilize the younger trees is March, and you need to apply a pound of fertilizer per tree. It should be continued until October. The young trees must also be sprayed with Southern Ag Chelated citrus nutritional spray once a month from March to October. It helps to get the perfect maturity of the citrus trees.

Fruiting Citrus Trees

Fruiting citrus trees need to fertilize before they start blooming. Generally, late February and early March is the best time to fertilize this stage of the trees. But keep in mind, fertilize after the fruits when they emerge or have grown into the right size, and it can be in mid-May to early June.

Again fertilize your trees at the end of their active period or in October. The basic formula for fertilization on a mature tree is to apply a pound of fertilizer per foot of branch spread.

Safety Tips: Don’t provide over-fertilization. It can lead your trees to burn and damage the fruits or branches.

Fertilization Depends On Region

Depending on the region, the fertilization also can vary. Let’s some common region’s time to fertilize the citrus trees.

  • Florida is an area of humid climate where fertilization is needed at the beginning of the growing season in early February when the buds start to swell. Reapply the fertilizer every 6 weeks until October.
  • Northern California: If you are growing your citrus trees in Northern California, you should fertilize your trees frequently for the best feed. Some experienced people believe it needs to fertilize the citrus trees at least once a month between April and September. Plus, always water the trees after fertilizing that needs to nutrients them fully and pass it into the soil.
  • Arizona: Fertilize your citrus trees in Arizona 3-times a year with an equal quantity of fertilizer each time. The perfect moths for fertilization are February, May, and August. If you see the trees grow very rapidly and the leaves showing dark green, reduce the quantity of fertilizer from 3 to 2 times a year.

What Is The Best Fertilizer For Citrus Trees

Citrus trees only flourish in soil with higher nitrogen content. Unluckily, there isn’t a common fertilizer for citrus trees. The fertilizer can differ depending on the soil and climate. A lot of brands offer special fertilizer to the requirements of citrus plants. So, a soil test is very important for selecting the best fertilizer for citrus trees.

The NPK (Nitrogen Phosphate Potash) ratio describes the percentage of each nutrient the soil needs. So select the best fertilizer that matches the ratio of the soil requirement and provides enough nourishment.

For instance:

  • If your trees are cultivated as potted, you must apply Jobe’s Fertilizer spikes slow release fertilizer. And use the fertilizer with a 3-5-5 NPK ratio for your citrus.
  • Dry climate recommends using 13-13-13 or 15-5-10 NPK ratio fertilizer. It also depends on your living area and the climate.
  • Citrus trees grow in acidic soil, and the Epsom salt or agricultural gypsum can perform best to keep the trees healthy and nourished.
  • And organic fertilizer is another best option with natural ingredients like compost and manure. Purely Organic Tree fertilizer plant food spikes are the best organic fertilizer for citrus trees.

Homemade/ Organic Fertilizer For Citrus Trees

Citrus requires different nutrients to grow healthy and produce many tasty fruits. Different citrus trees the similar nutrition like nitrogen, potassium, calcium, and sulfur. You can provide those nutritional values by making organic fertilizer at home. Let’s get some idea!

High Nutrients Fertilizer

To make this major high nutrient in potassium and magnesium, take some leaves in a glass jar with twig and flowers from the comfrey herb and fit it with water. Leave the jar in the sun for a whole day to ferment. In the evening, strain the herbs and use them as the high-protein fertilizer around the citrus trees. It can apply once a month.

Foliar Fertilizer

Heat one-quarter of water in a pan and let it boil, then add grind 12- eggshells with mortar and pestle. After boiling sometimes, leave it overnight. The next day, strain the mixture into a spray bottle and apply it weekly on the trees.

Minor Nutrients Fertilizer

Here also stuff a glass jar with the stinging nettle’s flowers, leaves, and twigs. Fill the jar with water and place it in the sun for a day. Then strain the herbs and apply the water around the trees as a minor fertilizer. It can be applied monthly basis.

All-purpose Tree Fertilizer

Some fertilizer manufacturer offers all-purpose tree fertilizer that combines three parts of seeds meals: dolomite lime, bone meal, and kelp meal. Mix all ingredients and make a smooth mixture. Apply 1lb around a small tree and increase the quantity of fertilizer for larger citrus trees.

How To Apply Fertilizer To Citrus Trees?

Depending on the type of fertilizer, the application method can be different. So, when choosing a fertilizer for your citrus trees, you should read the full manufacturer’s directions and follow their instructions. Before applying the fertilizer to your citrus trees, go through some practices:

  • Always follow the fertilizer manufacturer’s directions
  • If needed, consult with garden experts
  • Don’t use the fertilizer too much nearer the trunk of the citrus trees
  • Apply the fertilizer in just time
  • Wait to use the fertilizer if the citrus trees look green and holding the fruits


  • Don’t apply the fertilizer after the primary growing season
  • In the Houston area, don’t apply the fertilizer in September or October
  • Fertilize your new growing trees in late February
  • If you don’t get formulated fertilizer, you can apply azalea fertilizer.
  • Try to apply water-soluble fertilizer

Final Words!

Maintaining a regular fertilization program with citrus is very important. But when to fertilize citrus trees? We hope you have got your answer above. Yes, fertilizing the citrus trees thrice a year helps your trees to grow richly and intensely. Your plants and trees will thank you for it.

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