Gardeners living in areas prone to frosts and freezes have little choice but to grow their citrus trees in containers. Most varieties are well suited for containerised growth, but repotting is eventually necessary. Repotting is required when regularly watered citrus suffer leaf drop, leaf browning or young twigs begin dying. If you are satisfied with the size of the citrus tree and do not desire a bigger tree, you can use the same container after a little root maintenance. If you want the tree to grow bigger, you will need to move up to a larger container.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Hand pruners
- Potting mix
Remove the citrus tree from its container and shake off excess soil from the roots. This will make working with the root system a bit easier. Pour the old potting mix from the container into a flowerbed, as you will be filling it with new.
Prune off the bottom quarter of roots using hand pruners. Clip around the base of the roots, removing them. This helps in promoting new root growth and keeps the tree at its same size.
Fill the container one-quarter full of a well-draining potting mix. You can also make your own potting mix by mixing 50 per cent sand with 50 per cent pine bark.
Place the citrus tree inside the container. Fill the remainder of the container with potting mix, being sure to plant the citrus tree no deeper than it was originally growing. Firm the potting mix up around the base of the tree to release any air pockets remaining inside the soil.
Prune the citrus tree's branches back by one-third. This helps in maintaining the tree's current size.
Water the container after planting. Thoroughly saturate the roots by watering until the water runs out of the container's bottom drain holes. Continue watering when the top inch of soil begins to feel dry.
Situate the citrus tree back in the same location it was growing. Moving the tree to another location can put undue stress upon it. When moving the tree to another location, slowly harden it off by allowing the tree to adjust to the new location over a three-week period.
Fertilise the citrus tree one month after repotting with a slow-release, citrus-blend fertiliser. Continue the application every other month. You can use a water-soluble liquid blend instead, applying an application every two weeks.
Remove the citrus tree from the old container and set aside.
Fill a container that has drain holes and is approximately 25 per cent larger than the original one, one-quarter full of a well-draining potting mix.
Place the citrus tree inside the container. Fill the remainder of the container with potting mix, firming it up around the base of the tree with your hands. Plant no deeper than it was originally growing.
Water the container after repotting. Thoroughly saturate the citrus tree's roots by watering until the water runs from the container's bottom. Continue watering the tree when the top inch of soil is dry.
Situate the citrus tree back in the same location it was growing. Fertilise the tree as you would when using the same container.
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