Are your fruit trees being grubbed?

Contributed to SBINSIDER by John “Mr. Citrus” Ellinwood


There is a beetle in Arizona that lays its eggs into the ground which in time produces those nasty grubs, which if left unchecked will destroy your plants. The grubs feast on the plant root system eventually destroying the entire plant. Apparently, grubs like living in moist dirt which by no coincidence, is what your irrigation system provides. Be wary of over-watering. 

You may already have an infestation! If any of the branches on your citrus trees appears to be dying, that indicates the grubs have attacked and eaten the roots of that branch. 

Nematodes to the Rescue! 

The organic preventative to the nasty buggers is to treat the ground around the base of the plant. Nematodes can be introduced very easily to fight off the grubs. Purchasing nematodes is easy. There is a local vendor close to SaddleBrooke that can supply you. is located on Oracle road across from the Home Depot -that is on the east side of Oracle. By the way, there is a big sale on until Saturday the 30th on packages of nematodes. 

You will need a sprinkling gallon watering can to which you add 5 million nematodes and then pour on the soil around your plant. 

Fertilize Now 

The Fall is the ideal time of year for putting a bit of time into all of your citrus. That means you should be fertilizing. The best process is to add light fertilizer near the roots of your citrus soon after the irrigation in the morning. Why? You don’t want the roots to be overly dry as the fertilizer uptake will be too fast for properly feeding. After spreading the fertilizer, then sprinkle the area with a bit more water. 

Best Time to Plant, too 

Besides being an ideal time for fertilizing and applying nematodes as a preventative, it is the best time of year to begin or add to your citrus orchard. Picking the right variety is crucial to the success of bearing fruits. Here the varieties that most suite SaddleBrooke:

Lisbon Lemon: The fruit is similar to store bought lemons but yours will be fresh. 

Bearss Lime: Yields large fruit and is more tolerant of temperature than Mexican Lime trees. 

Trovita Orange: Great tasting loves Arizona weather

Grapefruit: Go with Rio Red or Oro Blanco, they have the best flavor. 


We do get a few below freezing nights so pick some incandescent XMAS lights to encircle your fruit trees when winter hits. Smudge pots, while very effective, are likely NOT allowed in SaddleBrooke.

If you have questions on any citrus topic, please email to pu*******@sb*******.tv or post to the comments section.

Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Gloria Wolf
1 year ago

Per your advice, John, I planted an Oro Blanco grapefruit three years ago and the fruit is fantastic! Thanks for the suggestion.