How to Deal with Citrus Leaf Drop
Leaf drop is a common stress-related issue which is really common in citrus trees and plants, where it is nothing too serious to worry about, it can be very alarming to witness your lovely tree losing all of its leaves.
It is important not to panic and realise that your citrus tree is still very much alive and healthy and is effectively going through a bit of a 'strop' in protest to changes to its environmental conditions!
So What Causes Citrus Leaf Drop?
Leaf drop happens when a citrus plant becomes stressed and this can be caused by one or more of the following:
Dramatic changes in temperature: For example, if the tree is used to conditions in our nursery (12°C) then is delivered to a home where temperatures are significantly warmer (20°C and above). It is common for leaf drop during Winter months in the UK, particularly if Citrus plants are in transit during very cold weather. Try to limit big changes in temperature, particularly during Winter by placing Citrus trees in airy porches with no central heating nearby.
Overwatering or underwatering: Citrus trees like a good soaking with water when dry - always use room temperature water and never straight from the tap.
Never leave your citrus tree standing in water and let them dry out partially between waterings. Aim to keep the soil lightly moist but never wet and water less in winter.
Unsure? Feel the first couple inches of soil ever couple of days, if it feels dry then add a little water. Underwatering is always less damaging than overwatering.
Poor ventilation / too close to central heating: Never position your Citrus tree in a room with central heating or poor ventilation. They like good air circulation, so remember that when your central heating gets turned up in the Winter, your Citrus trees will let you know if they don't like it.
Poor light: Citrus trees really need to get a decent amount of light to flourish. Place them in an area that receives plenty of sunlight throughout the day for the best results. Low light in mid Winter might cause a little bit of leaf loss, this is the trees way of adjusting itself to the conditions.
Don’t Panic - your Citrus tree is not dead!
When citrus trees lose their leaves it can be very alarming, however, it is important to bear in mind that this is natural for Citrus trees and it is their way of letting us know that they are not happy about something.
Here are some handy hints and tips to make sure that your Citrus Trees are in tip top condition.
- Positioning: Make sure your tree is positioned in an enclosed porch, conservatory or greenhouse. If keeping the tree indoors, do not position close to any radiators or fires as your tree wont like this.
- Watering: Leave your tree to dry out completely before watering and use water at room temperature instead of straight from the tap during winter months. Don’t let your tree stand in water as this can rot the roots.
- Feeding: Buy Citrus Feed to use give your tree a boost of nutrients.
If your Citrus tree has experienced leaf drop and you follow these instructions, your tree will begin to grow new leaves within the next 4-6 weeks and should grow and last for years and produce a crop of Lime fruits 3 times a year.
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