citrus tree

Asked May 8, 2015, 7:00 PM EDT

We own a property in the Palm Springs area. We planted a dwarf juice orange tree three years ago. No fruit yet but this spring the tree had prolific blossoms. Most of the blossoms ended up on the ground, perhaps helped out by many birds I feed in the yard. Now there are less than a dozen tiny, forming oranges. Is there some blossom drop disease or just birds causing blossoms to drop to the ground? Shall I net it next spring?

Riverside County California

1 Response

The following is from an Extension publication from Kern County California about young trees and fruiting. (If you want to read more of this publication go to http://cekern.ucanr.edu/files/98580.pdf

Young Trees and Fruit Bearing -Normally, in commercial production, budded citrus do not produce fruit until their third year. The fruit
produced by young trees can be highly variable and can often appear very rough and misshapen. Due to the small leaf canopy of young trees, the fruit is prone to sunburn. Often young trees will produce a large mass of fruitlets, but most, if not all, may drop from mid May into July. Hot temperatures, excess or deficient irrigation, lack of fertility and hot, dry winds can initiate periods of high fruit drop. Some citriculturists advocate removing the fruit on young trees so that vegetative growth is encouraged.

In addition to the above I will add - proper management particularly irrigation is very important for proper fruiting of trees of all types. Young trees can bloom very well but will not set fruit because they are not mature enough to support fruit yet.