Winter is the season that citrus gives their biggest crop, so unless your trees are recently planted, your fruit bowl should be full of all varieties of citrus! Local fruit tree expert and founder of Fruitstitute, Joanna Glovinsky, shares some knowledge and care tips with the Backyard Harvest team on the winter citrus season.
If your winter citrus crop is looking abundant, reach out to the Backyard Harvest Program (firstname.lastname@example.org) for assistance coordinating a DIY or volunteer-powered fruit pick to prevent your surplus from being wasted.
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In the winter there are fewer daylight hours and temperatures are colder, which means evergreen trees, like citrus, are undergoing minimal photosynthesis and their growth rate is slowed. We refer to winter as the slow-growing season for citrus and all other evergreen trees (whereas for deciduous trees, winter is the dormant season). In the slow-growing season, evergreen trees are using energy, sugars created through photosynthesis during the active growing season (the summer), stored in their trunk and roots. As such, if a tree did not have enough leaves during the summer to photosynthesize and store sufficient energy then fruit production this winter will be reduced.
Pruning is essential for a healthy, happy tree.
For citrus trees, your job in the winter is to ensure your tree does not become overburdened by too much fruit. If a branch seems to weighted down by the fruit, that fruit needs to be removed to ensure the branch does not break and that the tree does not become depleted in energy from overbearing. Other than keeping your tree from overbearing, winter is a good time to do your annual pruning on citrus trees as pests and disease populations are suppressed by cold temperatures.