TRANSPLANTING

When transplanting a citrus, it is necessary to make sure that the soil is not subject to water stagnation. If the soil has such problems, (for instance in case of clay soils) it is necessary to dig a hole of approx. one cubic meter and then add a layer of drainage material.

After this, fill the hole with soil and organic matter. Locate the plant keeping its collar exposed in order to avoid rotting.

REPOTTING

Spring is the best time of the year for repotting (from April till mid-July).  When repotting, you need to use a slightly larger pot than the previous one (approx. 15-20 cm diameter more) in order to assure a regular growth.

After adding a layer of drainage material (Pumice or expanded clay), fill with soil composed of peat, pumice and organic matter soil (for instance dried manure and horn-hoof mixture), and lastly place the plant  making sure of keeping the same depth, in order to keep its collar exposed and avoid the fungal   attacks  that are the cause of rotting.

WATERING

When watering a citrus,  it is necessary to thoroughly wet the clod, therefore good results can be achieved by watering now and then and with abundant water.

When the plant has withered or slightly curled up leaves it needs to be watered. A plant is in good vegetative state when in the evening its leaves are flat and turgid. How often to water the plant depends on the climatic conditions the plant is exposed to, therefore it is not possible to set a precise frequency, yet it is advisable to water abundantly twice or three times a week.

WINTER PROTECTION

Citrus are cold-sensitive plants therefore during the winter time they require protection from frost.The best solution would be to shelter them in a greenhouse, if this is not available then it is enough to enclose them with a non-woven sheet and protect them with a wattle. If plants are sheltered in the house, they shall be placed in a bright room. Too much heat from the heaters can cause leaves falling down. If the room is not bright enough the plant shall be watered seldom in order to avoid rotting.

PRUNING

Pruning is necessary both to promote a good fruiting and to shape the plant as wished. It is advisable both to remove the epicormic shoots (branches growing vigorously upright) and to remove the branches from the interior in order to allow a good exposure to light and air. A plant with overgrown vegetation is easily infested with scales, which cause sooty mold (a dark coating adhering to branches and leaves)

PHYTOSANITARY DEFENCE MEASURES

Citrus plants are subject both to fungal attacks and to mites and insects infestation. Fungus effects the vascular system of the plant which make the branches dry up. It is possible to prevent this using copper products (Bordeaux mixture); if the plant already shows the symptoms of this disease, first the infected branches shall be removed and then copper products will be used. (the removed branches shall be burnt).

MAIN DISEASES

Collar rot

Fungus that can attack all citrus plants, in particular lemon, affecting the plant at the collar area. The first symptoms are patches of gum oozing out from the bark; afterwards the affected bark dries out and splitting may occur. This disease is caused mainly by the damp conditions in not properly drained soils or organic matters. Affected tissues should be cut away and the healthy tissue sould be disinfected with propamocarb (trade name PREVICUR) or with Fosetyll-alluminium (trade name ALIETTE) . Attention: these products are not copper compatible.

Aphids

They attack the younger leaves making them curl; a heavy infestation can compromise the yield, making the blossoms fall and causing fruit drop. Treat with Pirimicarb (trade name afitox 13,5 WDG or Pirimor 17,5)

Scale insects

Scale insects attack citrus producing heavy honeydews and causing dark coatings. Treat with Abamectin (trade name Vertimec 1,9); if the black coating is already formed then treat with white oil.

Citrus leafminer

This is a moth that feeds mining the leaves of citrus plants causing them to dry up and look distorted.  Affected plants may stop growing. Treat with Imidacloprid (trade name CONFIDOR).  This product can be applied both to the roots (for instance in a 50-60 cms pot dissolve 3ml of product in 5 lt of water and water the plant) and to the leaves  (5 ml. x 10 lt).

red spider mite

see Scale insects

Sooty moulds

They are a group of fungi that form a black, powdery coating that blocks the plant from the sunlight necessary to survive. The main causes of sooty moulds are a high humidity rate, low air, and more frequently a parasite attacks (for instance scale insects).

This disease can be defeated only applying specific pesticides.

Prevention: treating plants both in spring and in autumn with copper products, they will be more resistant against parasite attacks.