Ideas & Inspiration

How to Fertilize Citrus Trees

Young Citrus Trees

In Florida and humid climates, begin fertilizing new trees at the beginning of the growing season in February, just as the buds begin to swell.

Year one, apply about 1/2 pound of citrus-specific fertilizer, or a 10-10-10 fertilizer per tree, and reapply every 6 weeks through October.

In the second year, begin feeding at the start of the growing season 1 pound of fertilizer per tree, every 7 weeks through October.

In the third year, begin feeding at the start of the growing season 2 pounds of fertilizer per tree, every 9 weeks through October.

Mature Trees

After they have been in the ground for three years, fertilize only 3 times a year in February, May and October. Feed at a rate of 1 pound of fertilizer for each year of the tree’s age. For instance, a citrus tree that is 7 years old would get 7 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer in 3 separate applications for a total of 21 pounds per year.

How to Apply Fertilizer to the Landscape

1.  Spread fertilizer evenly over the ground in a band along the edge of the tree’s leaf canopy. Don’t spread it near the trunk.

2.  Water trees thoroughly after each application of fertilizer. This is especially critical in dry climates.

Feeding Citrus Trees in Containers

Begin fertilizing potted citrus trees in early spring and stop in midsummer to allow your tree to prepare for winter. You can either use a slow-release fertilizer once a year in early spring or a liquid fertilizer every other week.

Look for a fertilizer labeled specifically for citrus, but if it isn’t available, use a fertilizer with twice as much nitrogen as phosphorous, such as 12-6-6.