Most citrus orange varieties are ready to pick from late November through May. Limes and lemons ripen periodically and may be enjoyed all year. Fresh grapefruit season typically runs from September through June. While flavor is always the best indicator of when a piece of citrus is ripe, color can often be an indicator of ripeness.
Fruit should be harvested before a hard freeze as frozen citrus will not recover and will decay. If the citrus if ripe and a freeze is threatened, swift picking is the best response.
Leaving ripe fruit on the tree can delay future growth. Fruit left on the tree will dry out and eventually decay.
Home gardeners are not allowed to ship citrus themselves. If you are interested in shipping your home harvest, you must use a certified packinghouse. Florida citrus fruit may only be shipped interstate from Packinghouses or Distributors that operate under a signed APHIS Compliance Agreement (CA) issued by your local USDA CHRP office.