Arizona is one of only four states, including California, Texas and Florida, able to grow citrus in the United States. Citrus trees are an important part of the Phoenix area sights and smells. Stroll around the neighborhood, especially in February and March, and enjoy the sweet scent of citrus blossoms in the air.
Fun Citrus Facts
- The first citrus tree in Arizona was planted in 1889 by William J. Murphy to supply the miners in CA to combat scurvy.
- Citrus production in Arizona peaked around 1970 with 80,000 acres in production
- Due to urban development, only about 20,000 acres are now in production in Arizona
- Citrus are considered Evergreens as they keep their green leaves year round
- There is more fiber in an orange than in most other fruits and vegetables
- One lemon contains a full day’s supply of vitamin C with 33% in the peel.
- Grapefruit can help lower cholesterol.
- A citrus tree blooms while also bearing fruit
- Citrus fruits can be left on the tree without becoming over ripe. Fruit does not continue to ripen once picked. The longer citrus fruit ripens on the tree, the sweeter and less acidic it will be.
- Most trees flower in February and March.
- With proper care, a citrus tree is capable of producing fruit for over 50 years. Proper care includes good quality root stock selection, correct planting in the right location, proper water and fertilizer, and protection from diseases, pests and harsh weather.
Care of Citrus Trees
Citrus trees can be planted year-round but the best months to plant are March, April and October.
Citrus trees fare the best if they are heavily watered and then allowed to dry out between drenchings. Typically, trees will need to be watered every one to two weeks in summer and every three to four weeks in the winter. Try not to water trees a little bit every few days to avoid salt build up in the soil.
Citrus trees should be fertilized in March, June and September. Do not fertilize after October as it encourages tender new growth during winter when there is danger of frost.
Prune citrus trees to eliminate sprouts, remove weak, crossing or dead branches, or to allow more light in the tree canopy. February through April are the best months to prune citrus in the Phoenix area. Protect exposed wood from the sun using a citrus whitewash.
Contact Goodman’s Landscape Maintenance at (602) 861-1144 for your citrus care needs.
Facts provided with help from Greenfield Citrus, Arizona Cooperative Extension, and Arizona Experience.