Soil Management & Fertilization
Fertilization is a very important component of plant health care in the landscape. Fertilization is necessary to supplement naturally occurring essential mineral elements in the soil in order to maintain an optimum supply for plant growth. Soil analysis combined with observations of plant growth are the key to develop the most effective nutrition program for the landscape.
What and When is Spring?
A question we commonly get is what and when is spring? Unfortunately our definitions of spring and the plants' definition of spring don’t line up most of the time. Spring is NOT a date on the calendar. I like to commonly call the start of Spring 4-6 weeks after the last freeze. This is not an absolute but a good rule of thumb to go by. If we start to get temperatures in the 70’s for a couple of weeks after being at or below freezing our citrus trees think great, it’s time to go and off they go with busting out the new blooms for the season. The danger is a late freeze creates the opportunity to knock the sensitive blooms off the trees and remember; no blooms no fruit.
Here in Wickenburg we have developed a nice strategy of fertilizing that has brought us many good years of citrus. As spring approaches we watch the size of the blooms. As the average size of bloom over the entire tree gets to be about pea sized we fertilize for the first time. In several weeks the fertilizer has started to be absorbed and it “hardens” the bloom and makes it more resistant to a freeze. This now starts our “citrus clock” for the year. After this first fertilizing we then fertilize every 8 weeks three additional times. This will help your trees develop not only good fruit this year but nice healthy leaves which will reflect the blooms the following year. If we do get that really hard freeze we are still going to need to cover our citrus with frost cloth and if necessary add some heat lights to help protect the tree.