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Gardening suggestions for why fruit is so small on grapefruit trees

Author: Cathy Cromell
Issue: November, 2012, Page 145


Q - My grapefruit tree has quite a bit of fruit, but they are all small. Any idea why?

A - It might be a bit early to worry about grapefruit size, suggests University of Arizona Maricopa County Cooperative Extension (MCCE) Master Gardener Olin Miller. The grapefruits may still be growing and, depending on the variety, will do so until the end of the year. Inadequate watering and fertilizing are common problems that contribute to small fruit size.

As any tree grows, enlarge its watering well to extend slightly past the canopy edge, where feeder roots are growing. Water penetration should be 2 to 3 feet deep. After irrigation, check depth by pushing a slender rod into the soil. If it doesn’t move easily to the proper depth, continue watering until it does.

University of Arizona Cooperative Extension offers the following publications that provide details on watering and fertilizing: Irrigating Citrus Trees ( and Fertilizing Citrus Chart ( Note that the chart lists generic nitrogen fertilizers. Miller says you might consider applying a fertilizer formulated for citrus trees, thus reducing the risk of depleting trace nutrients that could cause your tree to decline as it ages.

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