This means Ballarat is a marginal location for growing citrus, but don’t let this deter you from planting citrus here.
They will need a warm north facing spot, sheltered from winter frosts and those prevailing south- westerly winds.
Don’t plant them in low lying frost pockets.
Lemons, cumquats and Tahitian limes thrive here in my garden and unlike Melbourne, citrus gall wasp has not been a problem.
My citrus produce fabulous yields of fruit, supplying all my own daily needs and a surplus to pass on to family and friends.
Citrus like rich, well -drained soil. Mulching is recommended, but remember to keep mulch clear of their trunk, to avoid fungal infection.
I mulch mine with pea straw or the even more nitrogen rich lucerne hay. They also get a twice yearly top dressing of well decomposed cow manure and blood and bone and a watered down solution of chicken manure in spring and again, in early autumn.
If they show signs of yellowing leaves, a signal of iron and magnesium deficiency I treat them with a solution of iron chelates diluted in water.
Raising their bed also promotes good drainage, but may raise water demands to get them through our dry summers.
Citrus benefit from a good prune in August, to keep their canopy open, airy and growing in a practical vase shape, to maximise yield.
Old citrus can be given a new lease of life with what Peter Cundall referred to as a liberating prune. You can literally take your citrus back to a three pronged structure sitting atop its trunk, thus sparking healthy, new fruit bearing growth.
Citrus are amongst the easiest of plants to espalier against a wall.
They are attractive, evergreen plants, whose blossoms scent the air in spring and provide colour through their fruit.
I am also experimenting with the native fingerlime and intend adding a mandarin to my citrus grove next year. So watch this blog, as to whether these prove successful in our challenging climate!