Citrus & Cold Weather

When the cold season is among us we want to be ready for frost and freezing. Have frost covers and blankets ready just in case and be sure to keep an eye on the weather. NPK Feeding is complete for the year as we do not want to encourage any new growth as it is the most sensitive to cold. Watering will be your primary focus as you want to make sure the soil doesn’t dry out.

In case of frost or freeze warnings

  • Plants can be covered with winter frost blanket, found at your local garden center, or regular blankets.
  • Soil can be banked up to bottom limbs prior to winter in December and removed March 1st.
  • Plants in containers should be brought indoors.

Plants effected by a freeze

  • Some leaf drop can be expected. This should be temporary.
  • Never prune trees until new growth starts back in late spring (April). At that time all cuts should be made at least 1/2″ below damaged wood.

If a grafted Plant

  • Any sprouts below the graft are rootstock sprouts and should be removed. Severely cut back plants will produce following the next bloom cycle.

Plants on their own root

  • Even if plants are frozen back to soil level, any growth at all will be the same variety and produce after the next bloom cycle.

Comments (13)

  • We bought our lime tree at Lowes. I can find no information on when to pick the limes. The tree had no name on it so I can not tell when to pick according to your chart.

    • Without seeing a picture we cant determine what tree you have but think that it is quite possibly a Persian lime tree. This tree is ever-bearing, which means that it will set and produce fruit year round and not during a season”. Keep an eye on the fruit and when it gets smoother on the outside it should be ready. Also, the Persian fruit will turn from a dark, dark green color to a lighter green as it matures. Hope this helps.

  • I live in Ohio and I brought. Y tree in for the winter I also got it a sun lamp. But it keeps losing leaves and some of the branches are now brown. What am I doing wrong?

    • More often than not moving a tree will cause it to shock a bit; also add in the fact that days are shorter the the photo period is limited you will see leaves falling. Since the tree is indoors we would recommend doing a foliar nutrient application, it gets the vitamins into the plant that it needs. In addition don’t be afraid to do a control release fertilizer as it will feed throughout the winter. If the right one is used you should be good until spring. Also know that watering will be different as the air inside is drastically different from that of outdoors.

  • I purchased a Meyer lemon plant from Record Buck Farms at a local nursery beginning of summer 2018. I applied the fertilizer recommended by the nursery owner. At end of summer I moved the tree indoors. I live in Central New York. I read to water once a week. Don’t overwater. There have been several blossoms since bringing it indoors. But, all of the little fruit, quarter inch in size and one large one 3/4 inch. Have fallen off. The stems on which they grew were thin. Some of the blossoms are drying up and others look good (two or three). It appears that the soil has settled and I wonder if I should add more topsoil?

    One tag says the ISD expires November, 2018. What does that mean? Is all of this normal for a first year plant? I read not to fertilize in winter. The plant food I am using is Maxsea Acid Formula 14-18-14 plus iron and Zinc. I just read on the container that for indoor container, continue fertilizing every two weeks? What should I do?

    • You are good with your tree. Being a smaller tree you can fertilize especially since your tree is inside. What the recommendation is generally for is those trees that are outside because cold weather can effect the new growth that can occur. On the bloom side… What you need is Calcium and Boron. These are two elements that are critical in cell development and that correlates to fruit development and its ability to hold on the tree. Watering should be done whenever the soil is dry and can be more than what you are doing. Your test should be sticking your finger down into the soil as close to the trunk as possible. If it is dry to the tip give it a good watering; but be sure to let it drain off.The ISD Tag os for treatment that is mandated by the government and we treat before any tree leaves the nursery. Here is a link for you to learn more:

  • I just bought today a new Lemon plant {everbearing} I live in zone 7 , Arkansas, would like to know what fertilizer you recommend, for the winter I am leaving it in my sunroom. _lan on putting in the yard this summer. Thank you Jere AA

  • We have two small Meyer Lemon trees outside in pots. They were purchased last year. The fruit is large 2-3″ and turning yellow but not all the way yet. The fruit are heavy and pulling the trees to that side. There are new blossoms on the trees.
    Should we wait for the fruit to fully ripen before picking?

    When will it be best to transfer the trees into the ground? What pruning should be done to help shape the trees?

    Thanks, Joe

    • You should be good with replanting at any time. For the fruit. It takes months for them to ripen on the tree so pulling them is a good idea if they are softer and not as hard as a baseball. The color indicates that they need a little more time but all in all you should be good. If it is a lemon you will have a more tart tase that’s all.

  • I purchased a small lemon tree last year in late summer, when there were many lemons growing on it already. I live in Oregon and once the frost started coming in, I brought the tree inside and only watered it once a week. Within a few months, all the leaves fell off and the lemons that were still young did not mature and stayed green despite their large size. Right now (Feb 7) the tree looks dry and brown, despite the fact that I water it weekly. Unfortunately there is not a lot of sunlight in our home, but I do my best to move it around through out the day to catch some rays.

    • Try to leave the tree in a consistent place as they become creatures of habit… Watering can be done by doing a soil test to see how things are. Stick your finger down inn the soil and if the tip is wet then you are OK. Overwatering can make trees loose leaves as well. If the branches and trunk are brown you will have to do a scratch test of the bark to see if there is any green underneath. If there is a good fertilizing and micronutrient feed is in order.

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Products We Recommend

Citrus Tree Micronutrient 

GrowScripts Citrus Tree Micronutrient Nutritional is a formulation of micronutrients most often found deficient in Citrus. It is a product formula based on what is proven successful in the commercial citrus industry.

Kits and Subscriptions

GrowScripts is the next step in growing your baby successfully. Providing a simple, user-friendly, way to nurture citrus trees without all the guesswork. They've developed feeding programs that anyone can subscribe to.  

NPK Macro- Nutrients

With a coating based on temperature your tree will get the Macronutrients (NPK) needed through diffusion. When triggered this control-release product allows for feeding over months and not weeks.