Along with the temperate climate and abundance of outdoor activities, Southern California is a great place for plant life. With the Pacific Ocean keeping the temperature in a relatively small range, Californians can grow almost anything including apricots, avocados, citrus, figs, grapes, nuts, olives, and even kiwis. While it’s great to be able to grow fresh fruits in your very own yard, here’s a few reasons why citrus trees may be the best trees to grow in Southern California.
They are Always Green
Citrus trees are evergreen trees, meaning, as the name implies, that they are always green. They don’t lose their leaves in the winter and go dormant leaving a sad, dead looking tree for months at a time. Rather, they offer beautiful green foliage year-round, which can also offer a bit of privacy.
Citrus trees also come in a variety of sizes ranging from ultra-dwarf (about three to six feet tall), to regular (18-20 feet tall) and everything in between.
Citrus trees include lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, mandarins, pomelos, kumquats, and tangelos. Many of these fruits are eaten fresh and can be made into juice. These fruits can also remain on the tree for an extended period, prolonging the time you can enjoy them.
There is also a wide array of uses for citrus fruits in cooking and baking. The more acidic lemons and limes are excellent additions to marinades and salsas. They are even used to “cook” the fish used in ceviche.
On the sweet side, citrus fruits can be made into marmalades, curds, bars, cakes, breads, and even added to frosting.
From the tart lemons and limes to the sweet oranges, citrus trees come in a variety of fruits which have multiple uses that aren’t just fresh eating. The lime that compliments your beer could also marinate your meat. The lemon that you dilute and sweeten into lemonade can also prevent browning on cut apples, and even be used as a household cleanser.
Very Low Maintenance
Citrus trees do not require much maintenance beyond watering and fertilizing. They do not require pruning in order to produce fruit. In fact, pruning a citrus tree should only occur to keep the desired shape. Also, citrus trees can be pruned at almost any time of year. The only thing to be careful of with citrus trees is frost. In fact, frost is just about the only thing citrus trees are susceptible to, making Southern California an ideal growing location. Do not attempt to prune when the overnight temperatures dip into the 30’s.
Nothing quite encompasses the smell of spring quite like that of a citrus flower. Once these trees begin to flower, the aroma can be smelled for quite a distance. It’s no wonder that oils from citrus flowers are one of the most commonly used in perfumery.
There is such a wide range of fruits in the citrus family, and therefore a wide range of uses. In addition to being eaten fresh, juiced, used to add flavor or acid, and a lovely garnish, citrus trees themselves provide outdoor beauty. Their evergreen nature ensures lush greenery year-round and can also be used to provide a little shade or privacy depending on the location in which they are planted. Citrus trees also come in a variety of sizes making them a lovely choice for any sized yard in Southern California.