Growing conditions for growing Citrus in Johannesburg
- Many of the more common citrus plants growing in South africa originate in China
- Citrus does not handle frost well. It will not tolerate temperatures below 4 degrees.
Lemon trees are the only citrus fruit trees that can tolerate any frost at all and as a result are the most popular of the Citrus plants grown in the JHB area.
- If you have frost in your garden then you will need to protect your orange or nartjie trees throughout the winter. Remember that frost can come as early as April in JHB and as late as October (7 months of protection is therefore needed).
- Leave a gap of at least 5m between each tree – so that they don’t crowd each other
- You can also grow citrus in containers - as long as they are well fertilized and fed.
- You should feed your citrus tree every year. Make sure that the area around the trunk of the tree is well mulched to keep the ground moist. You should fertilise in July, December and March with suitable amounts of 3:1:5, and approximately 75g of Magnesium sulphate (Epson salts).
- Citrus trees need quite a bit of water - ideally they should be watered for about 45 minutes, once a week. Deep watering should begin during the month of July, right through to the end of the summer months in order to ensure that the tree bears a lot of flowers - the more flowers it bears; the more fruit it will produce. Be careful not to over-water however - if, for example, the summer months receive a lot of rainfall, then you don’t need to water at all. The watering schedule can be reduced from the autumn months, from around April, through to July.
With regards to pruning, citrus trees can be left pretty much unattended with regards to pruning. All that needs to be done is to cut away any dead wood every so often and prune away the lower branches to aid the circulation of air throughout the tree structure. Any kind of pruning needs to be done during the month of July, and pruning sites should be well sealed with a suitable sealant, such as Tree Seal. Once the job is complete, the entire tree should be sprayed with Lime Sulphur to kill off any fungus and insects that may be lurking on the tree