Citrus tree in pots needs extra nitrogen, so formulations with double the nitrogen compared to phosphorous and potassium should be considered. If you can’t find citrus plant food in your area, timed-released or organic fruit tree foods with micronutrients are good alternatives. Chemical substances supplied to the citrus trees to increase their productivity are called fertilizer. These are used by the farmers to increase the productivity of the citrus crop.
Essential nutrients required by the citrus plant are contained in fertilizers which include nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Inorganic fertilizers or manure are also very good when applied during and after planting; they enhance the water retention capacity of the soil and also increase its fertility.
These slow-release products will feed the plant over time. If the leaves become yellow and the watering is correct, supplement the granular fertilizers with occasional foliar sprays of fish emulsion. A new citrus tree will grow fine in an 8-inch diameter container to start. Two to three-year-old trees will need a 10 to 12-inch diameter container. Eventually, you’ll need a 16 to 20-gallon container or one-half whiskey barrel-sized container for long term growth.
While standard trees are too large for containers, those grafted onto dwarfing rootstocks, such as ‘Flying Dragon’ (Poncirus trifoliata), are small enough to grow in large containers. With warm temperatures, water, and fertilizer, you can enjoy these subtropical trees in your sunroom or a sunny south-facing window. When the top 2 inches of soil are dry, ensure to water the tree. Add water until it drains from the bottom of the container.
Don’t allow the tree to sit in water; a turkey baster can help remove excess water from the drip tray under the flowerpot. Extra humidity should be added to the air by filling the drip tray with pebbles and water, misting the leaves regularly, or adding a cool-steam vaporizer to the room.
Fertilize citrus trees when they’re actively growing with a slow-release 12-6-6 or 12-4-6 citrus fertilizer or other fertilizer formulated for acid-loving shrubs. Fertilize according to the package directions, or at least twice, in spring and midsummer, to support the tree’s growth. Check the package and make sure the fertilizer contains iron, manganese, and zinc. Add supplements if necessary to prevent deficiencies of these micronutrients. Always water thoroughly after fertilizing. The strength and characteristics of the fertilizer you choose, along with the size of the pot, the age of the tree, and several other variables affect the amount of fertilizer you should use. Follow the recommendations on the package label.
The advantage of liquid fertilizers is that your tree will receive a steady supply of fertilizer. If you use a slow-release fertilizer the amount available to the plant depends on your watering schedule. Although slow-released fertilizers last longer in the soil than granular fertilizers, the frequent watering that citrus trees need may cause it to rinse through the soil more quickly than intended.
Citrus trees need direct sunlight or bright light. You can add more light with a two-light fluorescent fixture hung a few inches above the top of the tree.
Miracle-Gro Citrus, Mango, Avocado Shake ‘n Feed Plant Food
The Miracle-Gro Citrus, Mango, Avocado Shake ‘n Feed Plant Food comes in a 4.5-pound container. It continuously offers released plant food. This means you can shake out the recommended amount once, and it feeds the plant for a long time.
This fertilizer comes in an 8-2-10 (nitrogen-phosphate-potash) formulation. Fertilizer formulas all include these three numbers most of the time, and they always indicate the percentage of those nutrients. It is common for citrus tree fertilizers to have more nitrogen and potash/potassium than phosphate because those nutrients get depleted faster
This fertilizer can be used on existing and new in-ground citrus trees, as well as mango and avocado trees. It contains more potassium, iron, magnesium, and sulfur. More of these minerals are required by citrus plants to prevent nutrient deficiency.
A single application of this product can feed your plant up to three months. The continuous release option ensures that you do not burn or overfeed your plant.
It also makes it easier to feed your plant. You measure out the right amount of food and sprinkle it around the tree. You don’t have to mix anything or guess at the right amount of fertilizer.
Types of Fertilizers
Different types of fertilizers can be applied to plants, tree crops like citrus, and other crops. The primary function of fertilizers is to increase the fertility of the soil and provide an enabling environment for plant growth
Inorganic fertilizers are chemical fertilizers that contain nutrient elements made by chemical means for the growth of crops. The inorganic fertilizers are of the following types:
#1. Nitrogen Fertilizers
Nitrogen fertilizers contain nitrogen needed for the development of crops. The main constituent of chlorophyll is nitrogen which maintains a balance in the process of photosynthesis. It is also an essential part of amino acids in plants and constitutes protein. The production and quality of agricultural products are improved by nitrogen fertilizers.
#2. Phosphorus Fertilizer
Phosphorus is the main nutrient in a phosphorus fertilizer. Effective phosphorus content, methods of fertilizing, properties of soil and crop strains determines the efficiency of fertilizer. Phosphorus found in the protoplasm of the cell plays an important role in cell growth and proliferation. The phosphorus fertilizer is beneficial for the growth of the roots of the plants.
Natural fertilizers obtained from plants and animals are called organic fertilizers. It enriches the soil with carbonic compounds essential for plant growth. Organic fertilizers increase the organic matter content of the soil, promotes the reproduction of microorganisms, and changes the physical and chemical properties of the soil. It is considered to be one of the main nutrients for green food.
Organic fertilizers can be obtained from the following products:
- Agricultural Waste
- Livestock Manure
- Industrial Waste
- Municipal Sludge
Advantages & Disadvantages of Fertilizer application on Citrus
Some advantages of fertilizers are;
- They are easy to transport, store, and apply.
- For supplying a specific nutrient we can select a specific fertilizer due to its nutrient specific nature.
- They are water-soluble and can easily dissolve in the soil. Hence, they are easily absorbed by the plants.
- They have a rapid effect on the crops.
- They increase the crop yield and provide enough food to feed the large population.
- They are predictable and reliable.
However, fertilizers have the following disadvantages:
- They are expensive
- The ingredients in the fertilizers are toxic to the skin and respiratory system.
- Excessive use of fertilizers damages the plants and reduces soil fertility.
- Leaching occurs and the fertilizers reach the rivers causing eutrophication.
- Long term use reduces the microbial activity and disturbs the pH of the soil.
Uses of Fertilizers in Citrus Tree
Fertilizers are used for various purposes. Some of the uses of fertilizers are mentioned below:
- They are used to provide additional nutrients to the plants.
- They are added to improve the yield of the crops.
- Nitrogen-rich fertilizers are used for the greening of lawns.
- Organic fertilizers improve the texture and fertility of the soil.
- Gardeners use fertilizers to address certain needs of plants such as nutritional needs.
- Fertilizers are added to potted plants to replace the lost nutrients.
It is very difficult to meet the demands of the increasing population with much fewer resources. Loss of soil fertility, pests, and lack of nutrients has resulted in a decrease in agricultural production. This has increased the importance of fertilizers in agriculture.
Importance of Fertilizers in Citrus
Fertilizers can be important to the plants in the following ways:
- Fertilizers increase plants’ tolerance towards pests. This has reduced their reliance on insecticides and herbicides, thereby, producing healthier crops. Consequently, diseases have reduced providing aesthetic value to the crops.
- Fertilizers improve the water holding capacity of the plants and increase root depth.
- The potassium content present in the fertilizers strengthens the straws and stalks of the plants.
- The phosphorus present in the fertilizers helps in the faster development of roots and the formation of seeds in the plants.
- Nitrogen in the fertilizers enhances the growth of the plants which can be characterized by the green color of the plants.
Fertilize your citrus plant with a liquid, organic fertilizer – such as liquid kelp, seaweed, or fish emulsion – or an organic granular fertilizer every two to three weeks. Do not fertilize in the winter when new growth should not be encouraged. You may also want to use a small amount of organic granular fertilizer in late March to encourage new growth at the start of the season.