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citrus trees in planter boxes

Budding Contributor

citrus trees in planter boxes



I have a lime tree and also a kumquat Tree,      (I think). They are in large planter boxes, roughly 1m x 1m. The planter box is lined with black corrugated plastic material, then a soft cloth material, rocks on top of soil, and a piece of plastic hose/tube sticking out the top. 




what is this hose? If it’s for watering, could it be blocked? 





roots on kumquat sit above rocks, is this bad? Also the fruit has rough surface patches. I’ve just noticed pests on leaves. Will neem oil be ok for the kumquat pests?

does my lime tree leaves look thirsty? They feel dry and a bit crispy. Tonight I found new leaf growth which was red in colour, the leaves were curling, and I think pests/eggs on underside of these leaves. 






how often and how much do both these trees need watering? Do I need to add more soil to kumquat?
Any tips or info would be appreciated, thankyou 


Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: citrus trees in planter boxes

Hi @bm77,


The hose is for allowing water to penetrate deep down into the planter and I would find it unlikely to be blocked. Those exposed roots should be fine as they have hardened off and the root ball or feeder roots are below the soil line. It looks like your plants need a few applications of Neem oil and a good feed. Depending on the climate in summer I would suggest watering three times a week and saturating the soil each time. Once again it would depend on climate but I can see those stones getting quite hot over summer. It might be worth replacing them with a layer of Lucerne.


Let me mention the very knowledgeable @Noelle and @Adam_W to see if they could add to the conversation.


Please let me know if you need further assistance or had questions.




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Valued Contributor

Re: citrus trees in planter boxes

Hi @bm77 
A few issues there but most should be easy enough to sort out.
Looks like it could do with a good feed so select a quality citrus food. I have trialled this one recently and found some very rapid improvements in a citrus that had been looking quite sad.
@MitchellMc is correct, those tubes are to help get water down deep. All that gravel... how thick a layer is that? I'd be looking at removing it, temporarily, and then topping the soil up, just enough to cover those roots, then putting the gravel back.
I would say that originally the soil level would have been right at the top of the box but with time it's reduced down.
We used to have a couple of lemons in really big pots and every 2-years I would have to dig around them (with gloved hands) and remove the old potting mix until they were loose enough to lift back up to the correct height then I'd fill back underneath with new potting mix.
These specimens are heading towards that...

Budding Contributor

Re: citrus trees in planter boxes

First things first......Remove all those stones......they will be suffocating the feeder roots ...which are just below the surface.....once you have done that......give it all might watering to flush out any salts that might have built up in that pot........apply enough fresh potting mix to cover the feeder roots......they lie just below the surface and spread out across the pot......there are no feeder roots within a 6 inch circle of the dont apply anything there= long as it covered on the can get big roots coming down from the trunk there...if they are exposed its no problem....forgot what they are spring time...grab a big handful of troforte fruit and citrus and sprinkle it around the outside 6 inches of the pot.........then a 2 inch layer of lucerne  hay over that...remember to keep that 6 inch circle of life around the trunk = NOTHING........prune in winter to fact i would call it shape your tree....dont let any branches get too long....this will encourage a good spring burst.......prune to outward facing bud.

as for the pests..........spray with eco oil.......but the key time is your spring burst...because the new growth will transform your tree.....start your spray program from beginning of august and use pest oil or neem/eco oil  to combat citrus leafminer (apply every 5 - 14 days...i use eco oil/neem oil and small amount of fish it feeds as well @ 6pm !) will be on there ready for the new growth...when you see new growth of 10mm long they need protection from the oils.....its clm candy that new growth........every 3 months re apply another handful ....under the mulch ....then move mulch back over it and water in......that mulch contains food as well......In winter....No mulch at all....take it away to avoid collar rot and wet soils at that time........It looks rough now but it will love you if you get your watering and feeding right......never water 2 days in a row........let the mix dry between waterings and buy a cheap moisture meter from bunnings and check your moisture levels......They hate wet feet.....the occasional liquid feed with seasol winter keep them on the dry side and foliar feed with seaweed......they love being foliar fed !...never put compost on top of your potting mix clogs up the air spaces and your roots need to breathe ....check leaves regular for pests and make sure you spray both topside and underside ......Foliar feed with charlie carp too......that not only feeds but gives some protection to the leaves as well......oil content...Good luck.


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