Learn how to care for your lemon tree with this easy to follow gardening guide.
A lemon tree is a beautiful addition to any garden. The pale blossoms against shiny, dark green leaves are a pleasure to behold, the sent is magic and you get fruit too!
Citrus trees are reasonably hardy plants and will fare well in a range of conditions. A little care, though, will go a long way, so help your tree live a long and healthy life with these lemon tree care tips.
Where to Plant Your Lemon Tree
If you have the luxury of starting from scratch, plant your lemon tree where it will get plenty of sun and be protected from frost in the colder months.
Ensure the soil is well drained in your planting area.
Mulch in a ring around the tree. This helps keep moisture in the ground, but more importantly prevents grass and weeds, which lemon trees dislike, from encroaching on your plant. Care should be taken, though, not to mulch right up to the trunk as this can promote collar rot.
The shallow root system of a lemon tree can become dehydrated during dry periods so water regularly. If flowers, leaves or unripe fruit begin to drop it’s a good indication that your tree is too dry.
Pruning Your Lemon Tree
Lemon trees can be left pretty much unattended as far as pruning goes, just cut out dead wood every so often and prune away lower branches to aid the circulation of air throughout the tree structure.
The most important aspect of lemon tree care is feeding. Generally, lemon trees like a lot of nitrogen, so use a fertiliser that’s high in this element. Blood and Bone (if you can stand the smell) and Thrive are good options. One of the reasons mature leaves turn yellow is nitrogen deficiency (though there are many others).
If leaves turn yellow but still have a green skeleton structure running through them your lemon tree probably needs iron. To remedy, add iron chelates or similar to your fertiliser.
Magnesium deficiency, indicated by yellowing leaves which maintain a green wedge at their base, can be treated by feeding with Epsom salts.
Lemon Tree Pests
Inspect your lemon tree for pests regularly. Early detection minimises pest damage and makes it much easier to deal with an infestation. Look out for:
- Citrus Leaf Miner – if the leaves of your lemon tree look distorted and have silvery trails running through them you’ve probably got a citrus leaf miner infestation. These pests live inside the leaf, so treat by cutting away the affected areas. You can also spray with white oil preparation.
- Sucking insects – mealy bug, scale and aphids can create a black discoloration on leaves. Aphids can be hosed off with a strong stream of water. Mealy bugs and scale will require a systemic insecticide, the gentler the better – remember, you’re going to eat that fruit.
- Gall wasp – these nasty pests lay their eggs in stems and branches which then swell and become lumpy (these deformities are known as galls). Cut out the galls before September, when the insects hatch, and destroy by burning.
Happy Lemon Trees
A lemon tree that is well watered, adequately fertilised and protected from pests will return the favour year after year with it’s beauty and an abundance of zesty fruit.