Frequently asked questions about harvesting citrus

What yields can I expect from my citrus trees?

Yield varies widely depending on the size of the tree, the variety and the planting density of the orchard. For an orchard of normal density (7.3 m between rows and 3.5 to 5 m between trees), average yields range from about 9 kg (half a citrus carton) per tree in the third year to about 150 to 180 kg (8 to 10 citrus cartons) for a mature tree in the tenth year. Using these figures, a mature orchard should be expected to produce 2500 to 3000 citrus cartons per hectare per year.

Higher per hectare yields up to about the sixth year can be obtained with high density planting. This makes much better use of available land but requires a higher level of management.

Can I send citrus fruit to other states?

Yes, citrus may be sent to all Australian states, but requires treatment or special certification for all states except New South Wales and the Northern Territory. In New South Wales, fruit may not be consigned into the quarantine areas of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA), Sunraysia and mid-Murray without a special permit. Following the successful eradication of papaya fruit fly in Queensland, the special restrictions applying to the movement of citrus out of the Papaya Fruit Fly Quarantine Zone no longer apply.

How do I know when my fruit is ready to harvest?

Fruit has to reach a specified maturity standard before it can be harvested. This is determined by taking a sample of your fruit and doing a brix/acid test, which measures the sugar and acid content of the fruit. Growers often use testing services provided by their local citrus cooperative or pack house. Maturity cannot be determined by looking at the fruit.