Plant Citrus, Prune Tamarillos and Feed your Fruit Trees


Young lime tree with pallet fence on the southside for protection Edible Backyard NZ

Citrus and Subtropical Planting Time is Here!

Years ago, I read an article by Russel Fransham from Subtropica that advocated delaying planting of citrus and subtropicals until after risk of frost had passed. This made so much sense to me. Citrus hate the cold. Especially in that vulnerable new plant phase. It’s better they flourish in the warmth for their first season and get a bit more growth on them before having to face it.

For those of us that languish in frost and beanies through winter, this is an important trick to have up our sleeve. Wait to plant till its warmer, it makes all the difference.

So for those of you in cooler growing zones – once risk of frost has passed – this month or next, get onto your avocado, tamarillo, passionfruit and citrus planting.

How to Prune Tamarillos


Such floppy, breaky trees! Strengthen your Tamarillo with a good spring prune once risk of frost is passed.

  • New Tams can be pruned back to a bud at 1metre (or there abouts), to start the branching at a low height.
  • Create an open shape on established trees by completely removing branches that clutter the tree. Head back (trim back) remaining branches if they are lanky, by as much as half in order to match (ish) the length of the shortest ones. This makes for a balanced, strong shape and will promote fruiting wood. If its too tall and lanky prune it back to 1m – ish as per a new one, feed it up and watch it go!

Feed + mulch your deciduous trees

plum trees coming into blossom

Feed thoughtfully. What we seek is fruit, not foliage so cruise it people, don’t go for nitrogen – I know how you love your sheep pellets :). Here’s my thoughts on how to feed and mulch your fruit trees.

Prevent Pests

shield bugs in berries

When spring fungi and pests start brewing, so do I. I do a Fish, Neem and EM prevention spray to cover the berries, citrus and fruit trees this month.

Excellent air flow is an important part of this prevention plan. Slash long grass and weeds and use on your vegie beds (gorgeous mulch this), and double check your pruning now that the leaves are coming in to see whether or not you need to thin a few more shoots or branches for light + air.

Common sense, sensible stuff.

october orchard