How to care for Citrus Trees: Leaf Drop

Posted by Ella Dooly on

Dealing with Citrus Leaf drop

Lemon leaf close Lemon leaf close

Leaf drop is a common stress related issue which is really common in citrus plants, were it is nothing too serious to worry about, it can be very alarming to witness your lovely tree loosing 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!

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.

Citrus Tree Care in Winter Citrus Trees need extra TLC during Winter months

Overwatering or underwatering: Citrus Trees like a good soaking with water (preferably at room temperature, not straight out of the tap) and then to be fully dried out before they get watered again. This depends on the time of year and humidity in the home.

Watering Citrus Trees Don't underwater or overwater Citrus Trees

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.

Citrus Trees Dont like Central Heating Keep Citrus Trees Away from Radiators

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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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