You’ve arrived home with your new tree bought from Froberg Citrus Trees and Nursery. What now? Well, first you need to put it in the ground! Here are step by step instructions on how to do so:
- Begin by mixing root stimulator with water according to the directions on the label – you want to make around two gallons. Set aside. (Although highly recommended, this step is not absolutely necessary as you can substitute water for the root stimulator.)
- Next dig a hole one to two inches wider than the pot on all sides. The hole only needs to be as deep as the pot, usually a foot or so. Make sure to keep the dirt that you took out of the hole and set it aside, it will be used. (It is okay if the dirt you take out has some clay, for clay is very high in nutrients. If the clay is difficult to work with, you can mix it with some cheap potting mix.) Pour one gallon of the root stimulator into the bottom of the hole.
- Very carefully, remove the tree or shrub from its pot and gently ruffle the roots. Set the tree in the hole and fill the space around it with the dirt that you removed from the ground. Pack all of it in tightly to avoid air pockets.
You’re done! Now here are some tips and information about the general care of your plant:
- Try to avoid planting anything in the summer, as the extreme Texas heat can be damaging to your plant. Ideal planting tree times are in the fall and spring.
- When you buy a tree, plan on putting it in the ground as soon as possible. Most trees can live in their pots for up to two years (depending on your care), but eventually will have to be planted. However, most dwarf varieties can happily live in (very large) pots forever.
- Do not plant a tree in a spot that holds water – this can easily kill it. Choose a spot in your yard that drains well and gets lots of sunlight. (Avocado trees are a little different: they must be planted on a mount about as tall as the pot, even if it is a high spot in your yard. They also cannot survive the full sun until they develop a bark, which could be two to three years. Plan an avocado in filtered sun.)
- Most people don’t know that citrus trees bear their fruit in the wintertime! This means that your lemons, oranges, limes, grapefruits, and satsumas won’t be ready to pick until late November to early January, depending on taste and variety.
- Citrus trees typically grow to be ten to twelve feet tall and ten to twelve feet wide. (Dwarf varieties may only grow to be eight to nine feet tall and wide.) Fruit trees have a much more diverse growth scale. Most will be within the fifteen to thirty foot range.
- Knowing when to water your tree can be tricky. Once it is well established, you really should not have to water it often, maybe three or four times a year. While it is young, however, it could require much more, depending on the area you planted it in. After it is in the ground, start by watering it once every week and a half or so, watering less as time goes on. It all depends on the tree and the area. Listen to your tree! If the leaves begin to turn yellow or brown on the edges, adjust your watering. You would be surprised – most trees do not need as much water as you think they do. It is always better to under water than to over water. Remember if you are still confused and need help, call us! We can even make a house call!
- If you see anything unusual on your tree – bugs, dissimilar leaves, etc. – don’t hesitate to contact us! It could be any number of things, from an insect problem to a nutrient deficiency. You can post a picture on our forum or bring a picture or a leaf in a plastic bag to us at the store.
- We recommend that you fertilize three times a year. However, some never fertilize or spray for bugs at all and just let their tree grow. This is perfectly fine! If you decide to take the no worries approach, which is especially easy to do with citrus trees, just keep an eye out for diseases and bugs.
- While fruit trees tend to grow upwards, citrus will usually grow everywhere! Do not expect the typical tree form; citrus trees grow to be more bush like.
- A note on cross pollination: Forget what you’ve heard! Most of our trees do not require a “buddy.” You can buy one citrus tree, or one fruit tree, without buying another to cross pollinate it. (With a few exceptions. For example, the Dorsett Golden Apple can produce on its own, but cannot produce to its potential without an Anna apple near it.)
- All of the fruit trees that we carry have a very low chill our requirement – only 200-300 hours – which we get in Texas very easily.
- While fruit trees need the cold, a young citrus tree can die if it gets too cold outside. If the temperature drops below freezing for an extended period of time, you should cover your tree. Before you cover your tree, we recommend that you water the leaves with a fine mist (so ice forms and insulates the tree, like an igloo.) Also, cover the bottom of your tree with dirt, up to the bud (you should see a knot on the lower part of the trunk.) You can cover your tree with a blanket or an insulated tree cover. Never cover with plastic, as it could burn your tree!
- If you have any other questions, post on our forum, come see us at the store, or give us a call! (Paul loves to talk about trees.) If you have a question, we can answer it. If you have a tree, we can grow it!