The first indication of water stress is the reduced fruit size. Another obvious sign occurs when your plants’ leaves start turning from bright green to a yellow color. Also, they start curling inside from the sides. Constant stress can make the leaves dry and hard. This process usually starts from the leaf tip and continues until it dies and falls off the tree. Not watering your citrus plants for extended periods of time can make the entire tree lose its freshness and health.
How Much to Water Citrus Trees?
The need for water varies with the age of the tree, soil type, soil management and the micro-climate around the tree. Generally, during hot weather, a good soaking may be needed every day or twice a day for pot grown plants. During cooler periods, watering may only be necessary every week or even less.
For New Trees
Young, newly planted citrus trees don’t have an extensive or established root system. This is why watering citrus trees on a daily basis may not be a good idea unless it is hot weather. Instead, you can water such plants weekly. Water should be directed to the root ball. Moist root ball encourages proper root development in all directions.
Since there are multiple types of soil, you should consider your drainage conditions before watering your citrus plant. While watering in pots, make sure the container has enough holes to avoid soggy conditions.
For Fully-Grown Trees
Mature or well-established citrus trees can do well if they are not watered for two weeks. However, it largely depends on your local temperature. While watering citrus plants, avoid shallow watering sessions. This may negatively impact the root development. Every time you give water to a fully-grown citrus tree, let the soil dry off to a depth of nearly six inches. This is important to avoid plant problems caused by soggy, wet soil.
Mature citrus trees need to be watered out to their drip line and a little beyond. This allows the roots to get enough water.
Guidelines for Watering Citrus Trees
Watering sessions should be modified according to your soil conditions and climate. While watering these trees, choose frequent intervals if you have gravelly or sandy soil. However, it is better to go for irregular watering if your citrus tree is planted in clay soil or heavy silt. Water regularly if the temperature is excessively high and irregularly when temperature drops down.
The ideal way of watering citrus trees is utilizing a flooded basin created around the tree stem. You can even opt for drip irrigation. These watering techniques provide adequate amounts of water to the root system as well as soil.
Watering Citrus Trees with Hoses or Sprinklers
Using hoses or sprinklers may be a good idea if you want to provide water to citrus trees in small amounts. Since these tools may not provide the stem, foliage, fruits, and flowers with enough water, you may have to use frequent watering sessions. You can choose to design the watering system such that it can be stretched out to give water beyond the trunk. You may have to use multiple drip emitters and hoses as the trees expand.
Avoid using salty water while irrigating these trees. Salts can gather on the foliage or in the soil that can promote leaf loss or root deterioration. Salinity is likely to be a greater problem for silt soils or inadequately drained clay than for gravelly or well-drained soils.
Watering citrus trees is quite easy when you are able to determine your plants’ requirements before they start wilting.