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Citrus Fruit farming in Kenya: What you should Know

Growing citrus is a long-term investment, so it’s a good idea to be informed before undertaking this type of farming. These plants are large shrubs or small to moderate-sized trees, reaching 5–15 m tall, with spiny shoots and alternately arranged evergreen leaves. They Include;

  • Limes,
  • Sour & sweet oranges,
  • Lemons,
  • Grapefruits,
  • Tangarines

Ecological Requirements

The growth, development and production of citrus plant depends on the physical characteristics of the soil such as drainage, water-holding capacity, structure, soil depth, and the degree to which water can infiltrate the soil, among others. These characteristics however differ in the various soil types.

  • Citrus can be grown in a wide range of soil types. However, for best results, they should be grown in well-drained soils, which are fertile, well-aerated and with a pH of between 6-6.5.
  • Citrus trees should be planted in a sunny and wind-protected area, and in frost-free regions because they cannot tolerate severe frosts.
  • They can tolerate high temperatures provided the trees are well supplied with soil moisture.
  • Well-distributed annual rainfall of not less than 1000 mm is needed for fair crop.

Read: How to grow Williams Hybrid Banana

Planting

  • Clear the field and dig planting holes 60 x 60 x 60 cm well before the onset of rains.
  • At transplanting use well-rotted manure with topsoil.
  • Spacing varies widely, depending on elevation, rootstock and variety. Generally, trees need a wider spacing at sea level than those transplanted at higher altitudes. Usually the plant density varies from 150 to 500 trees per ha, which means distances of 4 x 5 m (limes and lemons), 5 x 6 m (oranges, grapefruits and mandarins) or 7 x 8 m (oranges, grapefruits and mandarins). In some countries citrus is planted in hedge rows.
  • It is very important to ensure that seedlings are not transplanted too deep.
  • After transplanting, the seedlings ought to be at the same height or preferably, somewhat higher than in the nursery.
  • Under no circumstances must the graft union ever be in contact with the soil or with mulching material if used.

Read: Pests and Diseases control in capscum farming

Maturity/Harvest

  • Upon Planting, Citrus matures and starts producing fruits after 3 years.
  • Depending on the climate, citrus fruits may take 6 to 8 months to ripen.
  • Citrus fruits will not ripen off the tree, so refrain from picking them too early.
  • The best indicator of ripeness is taste.
  • Harvest the fruit by cutting them off with pruning shears or by pulling the fruit stalk from the tree

 

 

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Growing Lemons in Your Backyard

Favored by gardeners and cooks, lemons do not  only seem  attractive, but they bear fruit most year round.

If there’s one tree that ought to be included in each garden it’s a lemon tree. Not only attractive with shiny leaves and white flowers, lemons bear fruit most year round. And as it’s a tiny low to medium-sized tree, it’s ideal for little gardens.

CONDITIONS

While they grow best in warm, temperate and sub-tropical areas, you’ll grow them in cold midland areas if you plant them in an exceedingly protected spot. In exceptionally cold areas, plant them in massive pots which will be stirred onto a terrace or below the roof overhang during cold weather condition.

VARIETIES

  • The Cape rough-skinned lemon will well in colder areas. however, remember that the skin comes off sort of a naartjie which implies it’s tasking to slice.

  • Smooth-skinned Eureka is that the preferred selection. It doesn’t handle frost well therefore it desires a protected spot against a north or west-facing wall. And once it’s young, keep it coated with garden fleece on cold winter nights.

  • The Meyer selection is slighter sweeter and a lot of compact creating it ideal for pots. massive pots are essential so they don’t dry out too quickly. Raise them off the bottom on bricks or stones to enhance the avoidance and air flow.

Also Read: The role of an Agronomist

PLANTING

Lemon trees want a sunny spot in soil that drains well.

Dig an oversized hole. Keep the top soil and the sub soil separate. to every pile add compost, some of organic fertilizer and 1-2 cups of 2:3:2, ideally organic. If the soil is clay, add coarse river sand and peanut shells to enhance the drainage.

Put some of the sub soil back to the outlet. Place the tree at constant level as it was within the bag or pot and fill in around it with soil. Leave the top soil until last. Firm the soil and water well.

Read Also: The benefits of certified fruit seedlings

CARE AND MAINTENANCE

To encourage fruiting, feed with 3:1:5 fertilizer each four months. Apply some of Epsom salts each few months and water in well.

Water trees often and deeply, a minimum of twice per week, and a lot of for pots. Mulch with compost to forestall the soil from drying out.

To let in light-weight and air, prune gently once every crop and before they flower once more.

PESTS AND DISEASES

Look out for citrus psylla that causes little bumps on the leaves. Remove and destroy the  infected leaves and spray the undersides of all  leaves with an eco-friendly product like Bioneem or Pyrol.

Aphids, white woolly insects that leave a black, pitchy substance on the undersides of leaves, may also be a problem. Spray with Efekto Oleum as counseled on the pack till the leaves are clear.

For more information about tree fruit farming, visit our offices. Book your seedlings today!!!