Frequently asked questions about planting citrus

Where do I get citrus rootstock seed and budwood?

Rootstock seed and budwood may be bought from the Australian Citrus Propagation Association Inc (Auscitrus), details and order forms are downloadable from their website.

What is an economical area of citrus to grow?

If growing citrus is to be your sole source of income, then you need a minimum of 18 to 20 hectare of trees. Space for roads, houses, sheds and fences is extra. A farm size of about 50 hectare is recommended to allow the planting of replacement blocks every ten years or so and the introduction of new varieties. If you intend to become an individual exporter, then a minimum of 50 hectare is generally required.

Where do I buy good citrus planting material?

Buy your citrus trees from a specialist citrus or fruit tree nursery. These nurseries generally have access to virus-free budwood and seed for propagation.

Should I mulch my citrus trees?

Yes, but keep the mulch about a hand span from the trunk. If you are mulching trees on heavy soils, adjust the amount and frequency of your irrigation so that trees are not over watered.

How close can I plant citrus?

The standard spacing for citrus is 7.3 m between the rows and 5.5 m between the trees in the rows. For oranges, lemons, grapefruit and Ellendale mandarins, tree spacing within the rows can be reduced to 3.6 m, but alternate trees will have to be removed later. For mandarins other than the Ellendale variety, tree spacing within the rows can be further reduced to about 2 m, again with alternate tree removal later. However, this very close spacing requires a high level of management.

A close-planting alternative for high density planting is the double row system. This has double rows planted 2.4 m apart with 7.3 m between the centres of each double row (centre of double row to centre of double row). Trees are planted within the rows at a spacing of 2.4 m.