A little background first to set the stage. My husband and I bought our house four years ago. We are located in the San Joaquin Valley in California. The previous owners planted a Ruby Red grapefruit tree and a lemon tree right next to each other and in my opinion to close to each other. I'm guessing the trunks are approximately ten feet apart. They were already established trees or I would have moved one of them right away. I think they are both stunted they have stayed rather short and have not spread out more than maybe ten feet wide. Neither tree has been good producers. Grapefruit being the worst the best harvest we have seen is six grapefruits in one season. Every year during the summer which it does get very hot here in the valley most of the trees leaves turn yellow curl and fall off. We have in place a automatic sprinkler system that waters every night for 15 minutes. I water them once a week by hand to make sure they get a good soaking. Before the dry season arrives I surround the trees with boxes and cover with cow and horse manure and wood chips as a natural compost recommended by a PCA. We have sprayed with an insecticide for the white fly etc.. and have put down 10.10.10 granule fertilizer thru the fall and winter months when we get rain. My questions are could they be getting to much water? Should I remove one of the trees to give the other a better chance? would it even make a difference at this point? Should I remove them both and start over? Honestly, I don't even eat grapefruit but the cows seem to like them. Thanks for your time
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Standard-size citrus trees should be spaced 12 to 25 feet apart and dwarf citrus trees should be set 6 to 10 feet apart. The exact distance depends on the variety. The bigger the fruit, the farther the distance.
Citrus trees should be planted in a sunny and wind-protected area.
For newly bearing trees, provide nutrients to continue branch and leaf growth, but also to replace nutrients lost by fruit forming. A citrus blend is ideal.
Mulches are not recommended for citrus trees, but if trees are located in a cultivated plant bed where mulch is used, keep at least 12 inches of bare ground between the tree trunk and the mulch. Pre-emergent herbicides may be used to prevent weed seeds from germinating.
Flowering is not seasonal, but occurs during warm weather and regular rainfall. Flowers and fruits may coincide.
I would suggest talking with your County Extension Office to get a watering recommendation specific to your region.