Tuesday, November 27, 2012

First Year Citrus Fruit - Remove it or Not?




This question comes up often in regards to young citrus trees. The answer is applicable to many fruit trees: trees spend energy in order to develop their fruit. For an older tree, there is usually enough energy to both grow the tree and develop the fruit. When a young tree produces its first bloom, there is a limited amount of energy. Will all the energy be used to grow leaves and branches or will some of it be applied to develop fruit? Many citrus growers will choose to sacrifice the first year’s crop - remove the young developing fruit - so their trees will grow quickly and eventually produce more fruit. 

On the other hand, if the first fruit is left until maturity, that fruit is using energy at the expense of the growth of leaves and branches.  For the homeowner, since the resulting differences in yields are generally small, my advice is to enjoy the first season and let the fruit set!