Fertilization of Citrus Plants in Georgia

Source(s): Gerard Krewer

Newly-planted citrus plants should not be fertilized until growth begins in the spring. If possible use a complete fertilizer such as 8-8-8 which contains micronutrients. Also, many garden centers now sell fertilizers that are especially formulated for citrus plants.

A suggested fertilizer schedule for the first three years is given in the Table below. Fertilizer applications should be made between August 1 and February 15 during the first two years to avoid inducing untimely growth flushes during the winter.

During the first year, spread the fertilizer in a 30-inch circle and avoid placing any against the trunk. In subsequent years the fertilized area should be gradually increased. A good rule of thumb to follow is to fertilize an area twice the diameter of the tree canopy.

Ordinary lawn and shrub fertilizer may be used for citrus trees. However, this type of fertilization may only contain the primary plant food elements nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. For the best performance from citrus plants, a fertilizer which contains the secondary and micronutrients – magnesium, manganese and copper – is very beneficial. The latter two elements, plus zinc and boron as needed, may also be supplied through nutritional sprays. Some garden centers and nurseries sell special citrus fertilizers incorporating the micronutrients.

(Pounds of 8-8-8 fertilizer per tree)
Growing Season March 1 April 15-16 June 1-15 July 15-30
First 1/3** 1/2 2/3 1
Second 1 1/4 1/2 1/4
Third 3/4 2 1/2 3

*This schedule is designed for citrus plants which develop into medium to large trees. Only 1/2 these amounts or less will be needed for small, shrubby citrus plants such as kumquats, limequats, calamondins, etc.
**Make this application after growth begins in the spring, usually 4 to 6 weeks after planting.

Resource(s): Citrus Fruits for Southern and Coastal Georgia

Center Publication Number: 172