Lemons

Tip of the Month

This month is not only the best time to plant citrus trees, but also the ideal point to fertilize them. Look for products that contain macronutrients of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (often displayed as N-P-K). Arizona’s Best Citrus Food is formulated for low-desert conditions. Be sure to water the tree before and after applications.

Citrus is an ancient fruit, with most of your favorite varieties having descended from just three main types: pomelo, citron and mandarin. These fruits were hybridized to create more than 100 different citrus variations we find today. Check out local nurseries for unique citrus hybrids, some of which have unusual shapes, sizes and various uses.

Planting

Plant color annuals such as pansies, petunias, larkspur, primrose, poppy, stock, violas, alyssum, snapdragon and marigolds.

Plant native or desert-adapted plants such as desert marigold, penstemon, sage and evening primrose, which are hardy enough to withstand the cold nights but benefit from extra time in the ground to establish roots.

Start a new crop of cool-season vegetables, such as root vegetables, peas, leafy greens, kale and bunching onions.

Fertilizing

Fertilize citrus, lawns, grapes and deciduous trees. Citrus fertilizers are formulated especially to provide a source of nitrogen.

Fertilize roses with a slow-release fertilizer containing nitrogen and phosphorous around mid-month to encourage blooms by April.

Fertilize non-native plants just as they begin active growth.

Wait to fertilize tender tropicals until danger of frost is over.

Natives generally do not need fertilizer.

Transplanting

Tomatoes must be transplanted early enough to develop roots, flower and set fruit before hot weather arrives.

Plant mid-month but watch for frost and cover for protection until mid-March.

Watering

Water citrus deeply every three weeks.

Watch shallow-rooted newly planted annuals, which can quickly dry out with spring winds.

Adjust watering schedule according to winter rains.

Harvesting

Continue to harvest citrus. However, Valencia oranges are just starting to sweeten and grapefruit continues to sweeten for several months.

Pruning

Wait until new shoots emerge on frost-damaged plants. Cut back ornamental grasses.