Terra Viva Home & Garden
Christchurch
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Corner Wairakei Rd & Roydvale Ave,
Christchurch 8053



In the Garden


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Citrus

  • Citrus have always been popular. They are vitamin rich, great tasting, can be picked progressively over quite a long time and are relatively easy to grow.
  • Early Mandarins begin to ripen from early June with oranges grapefruit and lemons holding on until November.
  • This winter to early spring fruiting makes citrus so valuable when other fruit is more expensive. 
  • They are also very attractive trees with their glossy green leaves, fragrant blossom in spring and coloured fruit in winter.

Where to Plant

  • Citrus will grow in warm or mild climate zones. Providing frosts are not severe they will tolerate cool conditions.
  • They will thrive in hot inland conditions providing they have water.
  • They require a sunny position protected from cold winds.
  • Citrus prefer a sandy or loam soil.
  • They will tolerate clay soils providing they are planted on a raised area with lots of compost mixed into the soil.

When to plant

  • Citrus trees are available most of the year and can be planted anytime provided they are watered regularly in summer.

After care

  • Feeding
    • Citrus are big feeders.
    • A moderately sized mature tree requires at least 500g of  General or Citrus Food each year.
    • Two thirds of this should be applied in late winter and one third in January.
    • Pelletised Sheep Manure is a good alternative.
    • Do not cultivate under citrus trees as their feeding roots are relatively close to the surface.
  • Watering
    • Citrus must be watered regularly through spring and  summer. Irregular watering can cause fruit drop and fruit splitting, not to mention reduced yield and dry fruit.
  • Mulching
    • A layer of mulch spread over the surface under citrus trees will conserve moisture and improve performance. Take care however, to keep mulch away from the base of the tree trunk.
  • Pests and Diseases
    • Citrus trees are relatively free of insect pests  but occasionally can be attacked by scale insects, aphids and mites.
    • Yates Mavrik controls all these pests.
    • Verrucossis, a fungal disease which sometimes attacks lemons causing rough fruit, is controlled by spraying with Yates Champ Copper.
    • Pruning
    • Citrus tend to be self shaping and so need little pruning.
    • Some mandarin varieties become a little thick and benefit from some thinning out.
    • Lemon trees can sometimes require pruning back to make them more compact and easily manageable. Make sure that any shoots below the graft
    • are removed.  These are easily identified as they have different foliage.
    • Citrus fruit on new seasons growth.

Making your selection.

  • Lemons
    • Meyer variety is most popular because of it's reliable high yield over an eight month picking period. The fruit is of medium size and sweeter than other varieties.  Lisbon and Eureka are more acid.
    • Yen Ben is an improved selection of Lisbon for those wanting a 'real' lemon for cooking.  
  • Grapefruit
    • Golden Special, is the traditional grapefruit with pale orange skin and a strong grapefruit taste. Excellent for those who like a strong marmalade. Ripens July-Oct.
    • Wheeny is a larger sweeter variety ripening Oct-Dec and is inclined to biennial cropping.
    • Lemonade - This very sweet lemon does taste like delicious lemonade, and deserves its increasing popularity. Ripens during spring.
  • Limes
    • Limes have become very popular in recent years. Most popular is the Tahitian Lime or selections such as Bears Lime.
    • Kaffir Limes-mainly grown for the leaves, an essential ingredient in Asian cuisine.  
    • Limes need protection from frost until established. Will not tolerate heavy frosts.
  • Oranges
    • NZ navel oranges are rated very highly compared to imported oranges for flavour and are reliable in warmer climates of New Zealand.
    • They ripen from Oct-Dec in most areas.
  • Mandarins
    • 'Silverhill' a Satsuma selection, is the earliest, ripening (July) and is a very easy peal.
    • 'Miho' is a new early ripening easy peel which begins cropping as a young tree and has more flavour.
    • 'Clementine' has good flavour, is a high yielding reliable cropper ripening August-October but is not an easy peel.

 




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