Compost for Citrus Trees

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Compost for Citrus Trees
Citrus (lemon tree and lemons image by Sid Viswakumar from Fotolia.com)

When compost is utilised properly, essential nutrients as well as oxygen and water are better able to reach the roots of citrus tree plants. Additionally, compost improves almost any soil, whether it is loose and sandy, or heavy, dense clay. Consider planning ahead of time to include compost when planting your citrus trees. Next, incorporate this organic matter as part of your plant care regime to promote the continued health of the trees.

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Benefits

The needed nutrients found in the compost create an environment for germination. Seeds grow into seedlings when this organic matter is added to the citrus trees' soil bed. Used as a fertiliser, it promotes healthy tree growth, year-round. When compost is used as mulch, it helps thwart the growth of weeds, keeps soil temperature moderate and works to conserve the water around the tree.

Application

Like most plants, citrus trees should be planted in early spring, after frost has subsided and before humid weather arrives. To begin, space each dwarf tree at least 8 feet apart, and larger trees at least 12 feet apart. Next, measure a 5-by-5 foot space around each tree and till in a layer of 1 to 2 inches of compost prior to planting each tree.

Considerations

Since compost is organic matter, it can be used as mulch and in place of other types of natural materials. Try replacing or limiting the use of wood chips and straw and increasing the quantity of compost. Citrus trees have shallow roots. Measure out about 5 inches away from the truck and then spread about 5 inches of compost around the tree area to the edge of the drip line (the horizontal spread of the branches).

Maintenance

Fertilise in March, May and June, but read planting and watering directions for your specific citrus tree first. At minimum, keep citrus trees healthy by applying a layer of compost to them annually, around late summer, sometime in August.

Warning

To lessen the chance of water-stressed citrus trees, provide adequate drainage. Create a low mound around the tree before adding the compost when planting.

The roots of the tree must come in contact with the compost and soil mixture. Therefore, if during the initial planting of the citrus tree, you apply it as a top layer without tilling it in, the benefits may not be as effective.

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