Most citrus trees thrive in well-drained, acidic soil and regions where weeds aren’t competing for vital nutrients. Mulching is beneficial to citrus trees, notes Master Gardeners of Orange County, but there’s more to the process than spreading anything you find on the garden center shelves.
Benefits of Mulching for Citrus Trees
Aside from cutting back on possible water reduction, mulching citrus has several other benefits. As stated by the Master Gardeners of Orange County, spreading mulch around your citrus trees additionally maintains soil temperature, which is integral for root health. The prevention of weed germination is another perk. In the case of citrus trees, the lack of weeds cuts down on the need to dig or disturb the ground below the tree to eliminate the tract. This digging can harm the citrus tree’s shallow root system.
Selecting the Right Mulch
Organic mulch — such as grass cutting, timber chips or compost — also raises the amount of organic material in the soil, which enhance its construction and porosity. When choosing organic mulch, think about the product’s cost and availability. If you compost, this is an inexpensive option. Otherwise, reusing grass clipping or creating wood chips from a nearby downed tree are two other inexpensive choices.
Spreading the Mulch
A 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch spread across the base of each citrus tree is sufficient to maintain moisture, regulate the soil temperature and protect against weed germination and development. The University of California San Diego Cooperative Extension recommends maintaining this layer constantly through the year.
Ongoing Root Rot
A common cause of root rot is deficiency of oxygen exposure, which can occur if the mulch is spread too close to the citrus tree’s back. To help remove the danger of root rot, spread the organic mulch at least six to 12 inches away from the citrus tree’s back. This prevents excessive moisture retention across the roots and allows for good air circulation.