Tips on Caring for Your Backyard Citrus Trees

December 13, 2016 12:40 PM

The peak of Louisiana citrus season will soon arrive, and many retail outlets are stocking up on tree-ripened satsumas, lemons and navel oranges.

Tree ripening is a technique used by grower Joseph Ranatza, a grower in Plaquemines Parish. The fruits stay on the tree longer, not only receiving nutrients from the soil, but also making the fruit sweeter.

A growing trend in the Pelican state is having a citrus tree in your backyard, but consumers need to make sure the tree is cared for properly.

One common mistake homeowners make is letting the root stock take over a tree.

“We don’t want root stock because the root stock has nasty little thorns on them that are going to be very prickly, and they will hurt,” said Lee Rouse, a horticulturist. “They also produce a fruit that is not very good for eating. It can be sour and not very palatable.”

Rouse recommends keeping the ground beneath the tree bare to allow heat to be released during cold conditions.

Watch Craig Gautreaux’s full report on caring for citrus trees on AgDay above.

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