Caring for Your Lemon Tree

Posted by Ella Dooly on

According to the BBC, some 87,000 people are injured annually whilst gardening. A lack of skill or training needed to execute a difficult job, an implementation of dangerous shortcuts and a lack of planning and preparation are some of the precursors for green space blunders.

Unfortunately, it’s not just people who are sometimes botched whilst gardening. In fact, improper care of plants and trees can lead to stress and plants that are poorly, especially when it comes to lemon trees. Here are a few tips to help you care for your lemon tree.

Location, Location, Location is key for Lemon trees

Location really is everything, and when it comes to your lemon tree, just planting it anywhere won’t benefit it. For a healthy lemon tree, you need to ensure that the location of your tree, whether it is planted in a pot or planted in the soil is in a place where it could get lots of sun.

Although lemon sorbet is a tasty treat, when it comes to the lemon trees themselves, it is important that they are kept in a location that protects them from frost. Finally, ensure that the protection is as a result of the frost, which should be well-drained in order for your lemon tree to thrive.

Proper Watering of Lemon trees

With proper care, your lemon tree will thrive. Properly caring for your tree includes incorporating a combination of watering and feeding techniques. Lemon trees require watering regularly.  A tree whose flowers, leaves or unripe fruit drops off is a tree that is too dry.

Feed Your Lemons

Just as watering is important for lemon trees, so is feeding it. Lemon trees have a tendency to absorb certain nutrients that are essential for them to thrive, without these nutrients, the leaves will turn change to various colours—telltale signs that your plant is starved for iron, magnesium or nitrogen.

Lemon Tree with Iron Deficiency

Lemon tree with an iron deficiency

Iron Deficiency

When the space between a leave’s veins begins to yellow, leaving the veined green, the plant is thought to be suffering from interveinal chlorosis, or an iron deficiency. When this happens to a lemon tree, it can be remedied by increasing the plant’s iron intake. Commonly, a lemon tree iron deficiency is treated with chelates, sprayed directly onto the leaves. That is an example of leaves with choloris.

 

Lemon Tree with Magnesium Deficiency 

Magnesium deficiency in citrus leaves

Magnesium Deficiency

Leaves that are yellowing in the centre, with a green tip and a green V-shaped base are indicative of a magnesium deficiency.  If the deficiency is acute, the leaves will drop from the plant. This deficiency can be remedied by purchasing a plant food rich in magnesium.

 

Lemon Tree with Nitrogen Deficiency

Plant with a nitrogen deficiency

Nitrogen Deficiency

When a lemon tree is devoid of enough nitrogen to sustain it, its leaves become mottled with yellow before turning completely yellow and falling off of the tree. When this occurs to mature leaves, it is the sign of a nitrogen deficiency. In the image shown, the dark green leaf is normal while the other two are symptomatic of a tree deficient in nitrogen.

Watch Out for pests

All plants suffer from pests and the lemon tree is no different. With its nutrient-rich leaves and fruit, it attracts a myriad of creepy crawlers, anxious to destroy your plant. There are three common lemon tree pests to be aware of: sucking insects, gall wasps and the citrus leaf miner.

Sucking insects such as aphids or mealy bugs create a black discolouration on leaves that they come into contact with. Aphids can simply be hosed off of the plant while a gentle insecticide is recommended for mealy bugs.

The goal of the gall wasp would be to make itself at home in your lemon tree. They lay their eggs in the plant’s stems and branches, causing them to swell and become lumpy. You will need to remove these lumpy bits before the insect's hatch.

Finally, the citrus leaf miner leaves a calling card of distorted leaves with silvery trails. Because citrus leaf miners live inside the leaf, it is best to treat for them by cutting away the affected areas.

There are many things that can go wrong in a garden, from injuries from tools to crops not producing fruit, but there’s no reason that your lemon tree should suffer. If you are aware of the things we discussed and follow our tips for treating nutrient deficient or pest-ridden plants, you will see your lemon tree thrive and produce stunning fruit, perfect for slicing into a glass of something cold and refreshing or incorporating into an alfresco dinner.

Images courtesy of the University of Florida's Agricultural Electronic Data Information Source.

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