The ‘Rio Red’ (Citrus paradisi Macfadyen) grapefruit variety was first offered for sale in 1984, making it a relative newcomer to the market for citrus fruits. The ‘Rio Red’ grapefruit, which originates from the ruby red grapefruit, is known for its ability to thrive in hot inland climates and withstand harsh winters in USDA plant hardiness zones 9 through 12. According to the website for Minnetonka Orchards, if you give this plant an increased amount of care and attention, you should be able to effectively cultivate it in zones 7 and 8.
The flesh of the seedless fruit is also a rich crimson colour, and it has a deliciously sweet and sour taste. The ‘Rio Red’ grapefruit tree requires consistent maintenance in order to remain healthy and fruitful.
Planting Location for ‘Rio Red’ Grapefruit Trees
The ‘Rio Red’ grapefruit tree thrives best in soils that are loamy, sandy loam, or loamy and well-drained. You should avoid planting trees in soils that have poor drainage, a high content of heavy clay, or a high salinity, since all of these factors may diminish the amount of fruit produced by a tree and even shorten its lifetime. When planting ‘Rio Red,’ do it at a distance of at least 12 feet from buildings, roadways, and driveways to ensure that the roots have enough of space to spread out. Planting grapefruit trees in areas that get full sunlight encourages the healthiest growth and most abundant fruit production.
Grapefruit Tree Watering Schedule
Rio Red grapefruit trees that have just been planted should be given water every three days for the first two weeks after planting, and then the frequency of watering should be progressively decreased to once every seven to 10 days. Construct a water ring on top of the earth all the way around a tree that was just just planted. A distance of around 2 feet should be maintained between the ring and the tree’s trunk. The ring’s walls should have a thickness of at least 3 inches and a height of at least 3 inches. It is sufficient to fill up the ring when it is time to water.
After some time has passed, the ring will become one with the surrounding earth, indicating that the tree has been established. At that point, you should cut down the frequency of your watering to once every two weeks. Utilize a soaker hose to give the earth a thorough and gradual soaking of water. Avoid overwatering ‘Rio Red’ grapefruit trees. Grapefruit trees are susceptible to a disease called root rot, which may be caused by soils that are too saturated with water.
Fertilizing Grapefruit Trees
When you see new growth on your just planted ‘Rio Red’ grapefruit tree, it is time to begin administering 21-0-0 fertiliser, which is also known as ammonium sulphate fertiliser. This should be done as soon as the new growth appears. According to research conducted by Texas A&M University, you should give your tree about 1 cup of fertiliser for every year that the tree has been alive. Split the application throughout the year, though. The best times to fertilise, according to Texas A&M, are late winter, midspring, and early autumn.
Light Pruning for Tree Health
The ‘Rio Red’ grapefruit tree, in contrast to other citrus types, does not need a great deal of trimming. To keep your tree in good condition during its first 15 to 20 years of life, it is sufficient to remove sick, dying, damaged, or dead branches as well as any weak shoots or suckers that may have emerged from the parent tree. Rio Reds should have their limbs pruned in the winter to prevent sunburn.
Keeping Weeds Under Control
To lessen the amount of competition for nutrients and water, make sure that all grass and weeds are kept outside of the tree’s irrigation ring. Either use a systemic or contact herbicide and ensure that it does not come into contact with any portion of the tree, or drape landscaping cloth around a four-foot-diameter ring around the trunk of the tree. Mulch poses an increased threat of root rot, according to research conducted by Texas A&M University, hence the university advises against using it around ‘Rio Red’ trees.
Protection From Cold
Even in warm climes, there is always the chance of a cold snap; nevertheless, according to Clemson University, the ‘Rio Red’ grapefruit tree variety is able to withstand colder temperatures than many other types of grapefruit trees. If there is a chance of frost or freezing weather in your location, you should preserve your ‘Rio Red’ tree by wrapping it in a blanket or covering it with a tarp. Wrap some string around each corner to prevent the cover from being blown away by the wind. If it becomes really chilly, you may provide extra warmth to the room by placing a tiny heat lamp or an incandescent bulb inside the cover.