It’s alarming when your citrus fruit tree drops fruit prematurely and not something you want to happen even if your citrus tree is strictly ornamental.
Citrus trees will drop a few fruits under normal conditions this is the tree’s way of selecting the strongest fruits to survive and reach maturity. But when the tree drops an excessive amount of almost harvest-ready citrus fruits, there is a problem.
How do you prevent citrus fruit from dropping? Read on.
Normal Fruit Drop
Citrus fruit trees will allow up to 80 percent of their fruit to drop soon after blossom drop. The tree produces so many tiny fruits that the tree is unable to sustain them all so most have to be dropped.
This is normal and the fruit drop will stop when the citrus is 1/2-inch (1.27cm) in diameter. A couple of fruits may fall off after that point which is also normal.
Lack Of Nutrients
If the citrus tree is lacking any vital nutrients the tree will drop fruit so it can survive. The lacking nutrient must be identified, then added to the soil, so the citrus tree will have the strength to survive and produce fruit.
The citrus tree will develop yellow leaves if it lacks nitrogen.
It needs magnesium, if the citrus tree has yellow veins in the leaves and begins to drop these leaves.
It is lacking zinc, if the leaves seem too small and have yellow spots.
If the tree produced a bumper crop (very large crop) of citrus last season, it may have depleted the potassium in the soil and will drop the fruits this season.
Citrus trees need regular deep watering every 5-10 days during hot weather. During the winter, 14-21 day intervals between deep watering is fine. If the tree is over-watered, under-watered, or the soil has poor drainage, the tree will drop fruit.
Citrus trees are native to tropical climates where the weather is hot and dry. Water the citrus tree any time the soil is dry 2-3 inches (5 – 7.5 cm) below the surface.
Severe pruning that removes too much foliage at once will stress the tree and cause it to drop fruit next season. The energy of the tree will be directed towards re-growing limbs and re-covering for being over-pruned instead of bringing citrus fruits to maturity.
A pest infestation or disease can cause a citrus fruit tree to drop its fruit. Inspect the tree for any abnormalities and treat accordingly.
The main goal of a citrus tree is to live, not produce fruit. If the tree is dropping fruit it’s telling you it has a life-threatening problem and is trying to survive.