Citrus Tree Problems

I live in Houston Tx and have planted citrus trees (Lime, Lemon and Grapefruit). They do not appear to be doing well at all and have deteriorated since being planted in the ground. What are some tips in getting them established?

Thanks, Campbell

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    January 21, 2009 at 5:51 am

    You do not say how long they have been planted, what conditions surround them, or what specifically is going on with the trees, so I will just outline what a citrus tree needs in general.

    Citrus trees require a soil with good drainage in an area where water will not stand around the root system. If you are uncertain about drainage in your area, dig a hole with a posthole digger about 3 to 4 feet deep, and fill with water. All water should drain completely within 24 to 36 hours. You might want to also check the soil pH so that it is within the 6 to 8 range. Citrus trees are also not very fond of excessively salty soils either, so you might want to check soil content, as well.

    Planting location is important. In a residential setting make sure the trees are not planted near a septic tank, to avoid roots clogging the system. Make sure the trees are in an area protected from cold and potential frost. Planting near the home will help offer some added protection. Plant also where the trees receive full sun for optimum growth.

    For newly planted young trees, be sure to water two to three times a week at first, then one to two times a week, depending on weather conditions for the first four to six months. Once the tree has begun to produce new growth, apply fertilizer monthly thru October. Consult your local extension office for the exact formula mix that is best for your location. It appears nitrogen is the only recommended element for Texas, but other elements will not do harm in moderate amounts. Follow all directions for distribution and watering-in.

    If you have freezing conditions in your area, you should provide some protection. One source recommends creating a soil bank around the trunks, put up around the end of November and removed by the first of March. There are several resources online with specific instructions on this protection. Just remember: all citrus trees require protection against cold, especially sustained periods of freezing temperatures.

    There are a few pests and diseases that can affect citrus trees, as well–pests such as aphids, spider mites, scale, and black and white flies. Disease can include, for the plant, melanose fungus, sooty mold, or greasy spot fungus; and on the fruit you could see citrus rust mites, scale or mealy bugs.

    I hope some of these tips will help, and best of luck bringing your trees back to good health.

  • Reply
    February 8, 2009 at 8:16 am

    Thank You for the valuable info,

    Campbell-I just bought two citrus plants a Meyer Lemon, and a Satsuma Orange, when I read up on these plants everything is saying to plant these trees after the last week of possible frost, or in our case maybe mid March. This allows us to avoid night temperatures below 30 degrees. I’ve had to bring my little plants in the garage once already for that reason, but it seems if you cover your citrus when it gets very cold you should be alright.

  • Leave a Comment