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Winter Citrus Care Tips

Citrus trees are very vulnerable during the winter season and will need a little help. Taking care of your citrus trees throughout the winter means that you will have healthy trees that will produce a hearty yield of fruit once the growing season begins. Here are some tips to help you:

Fertilizing

Trees that are well fertilized during the winter will remain healthy and will be more resistant to shutterstock_77848249damage from the cold weather.

Pest Control

Take care of any aphids or scale on the trunk with a blast of neem or insecticidal soap.

Pruning

Do not prune until late winter. This will prevent the branch stubs from damage from the frost or falling prey to disease.

Frost protection

Fortunella japonicaEnsure plants, whether in the ground or containers, are well watered. This is important because if the soil is dry when it freezes, it will draw moisture from the tree’s roots and will damage them. You can further protect your citrus trees from the frost by hanging Christmas lights in their branches or placing landscape lighting at the base of the trunk. When temperatures get really low, you can also use a frost blanket. This should be used with a frame so that the material does not crush the foliage.

Banking

This is another good method for protecting your citrus trees from the cold weather, especially if your trees are younger than four years. Use clean soil to bank up the tree’s trunk to a height of around 15 inches. This will provide excellent insulation with up to around 15 degrees Fahrenheit of protection. Soil also absorbs sunlight. The best time to bank your trees is during the late fall before the first frost. Once the last frost has passed in the spring, you can remove the banking.

  • Mwiz

    I’m in Ohio and move my orange tree indoor over winter. When I reintroduced the tree to the outdoors in the spring the leaves burned. I didn’t get any oranges this year. How do I prevent this next spring.

    • Allison B.

      Move your tree indoors and out gradually. Let it get used to the sun for a few hours each day. The morning sun will be much better for your tree at first. Afternoon sun can be pretty harsh on a tree that’s used to being indoors. If you don’t have time to place your tree outside and bring it back in after a few hours place it in a shady spot for the first week or two of its transition.

    • AllisonTrees

      Move your tree indoors and out gradually. Let it get used to the sun for a few hours each day. The morning sun will be much better for your tree at first. Afternoon sun can be pretty harsh on a tree that’s used to being indoors. If you don’t have time to place your tree outside and bring it back in after a few hours place it in a shady spot for the first week or two of its transition.