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How to get the most out of your citrus plants

Graham Ross shows you how.
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Versatile fruits, evergreen foliage and scented flowers; citrus is a staple in the garden. But no matter if they’re sweet or sour – without the right care, they can be problematic. Graham will show you how to get the best from your plants this weekend, giving you great performing citrus all year round.

What’s a backyard without a lemon tree? Or a courtyard, balcony or front entrance without a potted lime, mandarin or cumquat tree. Be rewarded with an abundance fruit in your garden with our top tips for growing citrus.

1. Hedge

Man hedging citrus plant with electric trimmer
(Credit: Brent Wilson)

Calamondi (Citrus mitis) is a cross between a tangerine and a cumquat and is great for sweet-smelling hedges, providing pretty blossoms, fruit and privacy. Use shears or an electric trimmer to shape, and turn the fruit into marmalade.

2. Feed

Graham Ross with citrus plant
(Credit: Brent Wilson)

Citrus trees are hungry, so feed with citrus-specific fertiliser around the tree’s drip line – half a bucket for mature trees and a couple of handfuls for young ones.

3. Dispose of fallen fruit

Rotten citrus fruit
(Credit: Brent Wilson)

If left on the ground, the fruit will quickly rot and attract fruit flies and disease. Discard, but don’t put diseased fruit in your compost. If you have a bucket-load, there may be too much acid in the peel for your compost to cope with all at once.

4. Grafts

Where to graft a citrus plant
(Credit: Brent Wilson)

The trees you buy are grafted so they are stronger and more pest- and disease-resistant. The rootstock is selected for its vigour and resistance to disease. The top section, the scion, produces healthier foliage, flowers and fruit. 

5. Prune

Pruning citrus tree
(Credit: Brent Wilson)

Citrus trees produce lots of fruit, so branches can get heavy and be damaged by winter winds. Remove a third of the immature fruit to lighten the load and divert energy into producing bigger, healthier fruit down the track. If the tree is in its first year, remove two-thirds of the fruit. You’ll be rewarded later as your tree grows its strong bones.

WATCH: Graham’s at Engall’s Nursery lending a hand and sharing his top citrus tips

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