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- Gainesville, FL
when do i prune orange trees in fl,and fertilize them?
i know nothing about fruit trees,but would like to keep 2 trees healthy and productive what do i do first?
- Oakland, OR
Keeping orange trees healthy and productive is all about giving them what they need, which is a sunny area and moist but well-drained soil. The key is to provide consistent water as fluctuations in soil moisture can result in fruit splitting. And ensuring that the tree's moisture requirements are met will also encourage more of the flowers to become fruit rather than fall off. Mulching will help keep the soil moisture more even.
Citrus trees generally do not need to be pruned on a regular basis. Typically any pruning that is needed is only to remove weak, dead or damaged branches, especially when wood is damaged by freeze. Wait until new growth appears before pruning frost-damaged wood. That way you won't accidentally cut out what's good as the new growth is easily seen. Otherwise, prune after the threat of frost has passed but before new spring growth appears.
As for fertilizing your orange trees, use a fertilizer for citrus (or one with an N-P-K ratio of 10-10-10 or 8-8-8) and feed as directed. I also recommend rock dust, which provides trace minerals that help put more flavor into the fruit. Generally, applications and timing are three times per year, and in Florida that is typically in January or February for the first application, then May or June followed by November or October. Happy gardening!