Monday, February 14, 2011

Getting your Desert Citrus Ready for Summer

Temperatures are starting to warm up in the desert and it’s time to work on citrus trees once again. Generally, pruning can begin in February and March after the frost season is safely past.

Look for branches of the citrus tree that do not have any leaves and prune them off 1 inch away from the trunk using hand pruners. Also remove any limbs near the inside of the tree that are growing across other branches.

Never prune citrus in the middle of the summer to the extent that you expose the bark to sun. This will cause the bark to sunburn. If necessary, however, you can tree trunk paint to coat the trunk to prevent sunburn.
 
Foothills Ace offers some excellent tools to help in this process including:

  • The Ace By-Pass Lopper comes with a chrome blade and aluminum handles with cushion grip.
  • The folding tree pruning saw features a triple-cut blade for push-pull cutting. Includes a cushion grip and safety double lock.
  • Bypass pruners with cutting capacity of three-quarter inch. The pruners have a high carbon, heat-treated and tampered blade. Chrome-plated upper and lower blade with cast aluminum powder-coated handle.
  • Arizona’s Best tree trunk paint can be applied in April. This non-toxic tree trunk coating protects the tree’s trunk and or branches from the sun’s harmful rays. This paint is especially effective when applied prior to the warmer months of the year. Quart container comes in two colors: White or Go Natural brown.

There are also several citrus pests that are native to Arizona, and these can cause significant damage to crops if they are not carefully controlled. Examine the citrus tree once per week for signs of insect infestations and consider using Horticultural Oil for added insect protection for your trees and shrubs:

  • Ortho Volk Horticultural Oil Spray is for use during the growing season. This is an excellent product for fruit and shade trees. It controls scale insects, red spider mites and mealy bugs. It can also be used as an indoor plant polish. One quart makes 12 gallons for growing season spray or 6 gallons for dormant spray.
  • Summit Year-Round Horticulture Oil is a lightweight horticulture oil concentrate that kills and repels insects and prevents spread of diseases without use of dangerous chemicals. This product is formulated for year-round use. It is odor free and can be used on fruit, flowers, vegetables, ornamentals, trees and shrubs. One quart dilutes to 25 gallons of usable product. Kills whitefly, aphids, spider mites, mealy bug, scale mites, fungus gnats and more.

Give the soil back its nutrients with select fertilizers (February, May, and August):
 
  • Arizona’s Best Citrus Food can be used on orange, lemon, lime and grapefruit trees. Feed February, late May and September. Comes in a 5-pound box.
  • Jobe’s Organic Citrus Granules utilize an exclusive Biozome technology. Biozome increases micro-organism activity and breaks down organic matter faster, which creates nutrients the plant can use. Covers up to 20% more square feet than comparable organic fertilizers. Certified safe for organic growing of edible plants and fruits. Easy to use – just work into soil around plants. Produces more fruit. Delivers faster results. Comes in a 4-pound bag.
  • Miracle-Gro Shake N Feed Citrus Food provides continuous release feeding for citrus, avocado and mango plants. This is a premium plant food that feeds up to three months and contains magnesium and iron. Shake N Feed bottle provides for easy applications.
  • Miracle-Gro Fertilizer Spikes for fruit and citrus. Gives younger trees a healthy start and promotes enhanced fruit production. Supplies nutrients directly to the root and fills the need of fruit and citrus trees all season long. Greater strength and vitality. Quick and easy to use. Comes in a package of 12.
  • Lawn & Garden Ammonium Sulfate is an economical source of quick greening nitrogen, with high sulfur. Stimulates vegetative growth and produces deep green color. This product provides for greater drought tolerance and improved winter hardiness. Contains high sulfur-improving color and density of turf. 20-lb bag.
 
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At Foothills Ace Hardware, we have everything you need to prepare your trees and plants for the upcoming season. Stop in and speak to one of our Ace horticulturists today.
 
Get in. Get help. Get on with your weekend.
 
Foothills Ace Hardware
1335 East Chandler Boulevard
Phoenix, AZ 85048
480-460-4223
 

1 comment:

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