How to maximize your Satsuma tree production

Published 5:02 pm Friday, May 19, 2017

By Ty Torrance

Satsuma and orange trees are a popular choice in Decatur County for fruit tree production in the home lawn.  With their popularity come question of production and maximizing yield.  Of course, water or irrigation is a great way to maximize production but a proper fertility program should be followed as well.  I have attached a chart to the right developed by Auburn University.  It shows the amount of fertilizer that should be applied per tree per year depending on the age of the tree.  There are 4 different fertility (Options) you can follow depending on which fertilizer you choose to use (8-8-8, 13-13-13,16-4-8 or 34-0-0). To clarify, only one option should be used not a combination of all.  The amount of fertilizer need per tree per year should also be split into three different application timings and not all at one time. 

For example, a 2 yr. old tree using 8-8-8 fertilizer the tree needs 5 pounds of 8-8-8 per tree/year.  If you split that into three different applications throughout the summer, you would apply approximately 1.6 lbs./tree at one time.  The three applications should be made in March, May and June.   Do not fertilize between September and February because that could compromise the plants ability to withstand cold temperatures.  A soil test should be taken every 3 years to ensure the pH level is between 5.5-7.  Proper pH will aid in nutrient uptake.  If the pH is too low lime can be applied to bring the pH into an adequate range. 

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You do not have to prune your tree to produce a fruit crop. In fact, often times you are pruning fruiting branches off.  If you need to prune to help shape the tree like you want it, this can be done in the spring.  Avoid pruning in the fall or winter to avoid cold injury.

If you have any questions, feel free to call the Decatur County Extension Office at (229) 248-3033.