Boost Citrus + Prep for New Citrus Trees

Developing mandarin fruits are a good size and healthy Edible backyard NZ
Young mandarins looking fat and sassy

A bit of love and attention directed at citrus trees right now, supports new fruits to turn into glorious adult fruits.

Soil, water, feed + mulch

choose the best soil in your garden

Check in with the soil beneath. If its dry, give a lovely soak with water until it’s perfectly moist.

If the soil is delicious, leave it be. If its dusty and/ or has no worms spread a fine layer of compost then dollop vermicastings, seaweed or well rotten manure on top.

For both excellent soil and terrible soil, pour a lovely EM or seaweed or herbal liquid feed over the tree and soil beneath. This’ll get soil life hopping and coat the foliage in beneficial fungi/ bacteria.

path clearings mulch
Finding mulch is as easy as weeding the paths

A layer of mulch on top, seals the deal. Homemade mulch is so easy and so good. Trim up spent flowers/ herbs/ crops, crunch up roadside bracken, add grass clippings – use whatever you have…. mix it altogether and spread it on. If weeds are vigorous at your place lay cardboard or newspaper beneath the mulch.

Don’t skip the mulch – its key! providing food and habitat for soil life. Recycling chunks of wood or larger pruning’s at the foot of your citrus is another excellent way to further build soil life without having to buy in anything.

Remove fruits from young trees

The strawbale wall on the south side protects this young citrus through the winter. The rotten straw then used to mulch it late spring once the soil has warmed up.

Oh how you hate this bit, but what a difference to your young tree when you remove all the fruits. It requires great amounts of energy to raise children, energy that 1 + 2 year old trees are better served using to build a strong frame.

Winter protection for young citrus

lemonade frost protection

If winter bites at your place, young citrus and subtropicals will do far better with protection. A warm pocket of air around them is the ticket.

Make a little frost cloth house. Bang in 4 robust stakes and securely tie on a frost cloth roof and walls.

Young lime tree with pallet fence on the southside for protection Edible Backyard NZ
2 nasturtium covered pallets on the southside of this lime tree hold the sun and cut the southerly for a cosy, citrus environment

Or create a barrier on the south side to stop the cool southerly flow and hold the warm sun. Use strawbales, corrugated iron or a few pallets – whatever you have lying around.

Rat protection

the only good rat is a dead rat

Oh how rats love citrus. Possums too. Get traps up and running now. Then keep them going year round in a very important contribution to our natural world.

Prepare for new citrus trees

young mandarin

Citrus, especially Meyer lemons, are such a good value backyard fruit to grow. If you want to plant more, now’s the time to choose a good possy and prepare the site.

Here’s all my info on how to choose a good spot + grow great citrus.

Once you’ve chosen where, make one of my easy peasy compost piles on the site for a pile of goodness right where you need it. When frost has passed in spring, you can plant your new citrus right into it.


  1. kelvin davies says

    Thanks Kath, any comments on pruning a Persimmon tree which has a great crop.

    Many thanks and take care.

  2. I havent had any fruit on my orange tree for almost 3 years. When I brought it from the garden centre it had fruit. I’ve been feeding it, putting mulch around it but still nothing. It looks like it is in great condition otherwise. What am I doing wrong?

    • First things first Angela – did it flower?

      • I havent seen any flowers on it….

        • Ok so this here is your first problem! Without flowers, there be no fruits.
          Ideally young fruit trees aren’t allowed to grow fruits – ie the grower plucks of all fruits until the 3rd year when the canopy and structure is developed. Fruiting too young wears them out and can take a few years to recover. Give it another year ok.
          At the same time consider how you are feeding it. Too much richness will stimulate foliage at the expense of fruit. This is hard to assess online – but hopefully my citrus posts will help you through this.
          All the best

          • I did think it was abit young to have fruit on it when I first purchased it.
            Thank you for your help

  3. Anna saunders says

    Hi Kath
    I have an orchard beginning and want to move two Tamarillos into it
    When is best to do this and shall I build a shelter .
    Thanks Anna

    • Hiya Anna, depends on where you live first up. I dont recommend planting subtropicals or citrus now as we move into our coldest time of year – they love the heat! If you get frosts and live somewhere cold then I’d shelter then in your usual way over winter and move them mid to late spring once night and soil temps are rising.