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Lemon Tree Care Is Super Simple For You

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Lemon Tree CareLemon tree care is pretty easy.  If you’re lucky enough to live in an area warm enough to grow citrus, do it!  Citrus is a delicious and laid back addition to your food forest or backyard.

If you live in a colder area, you can still grow a lemon tree, just put it in a pot and move it indoors when the weather gets cold.  Meyer lemons can be very happy in a pot.

Lemon was always something I wished I had grown at our Oregon homestead, but I never had a chance to purchase one.  I was super ecstatic when I found out there were two citrus trees already growing at our new home in San Antonio!

Lemon Tree Care (And Other Citrus!)

Plant your lemon tree in a sunny well drained area.  They don’t like standing water!  When it’s first getting established, water a few times a week.

Once it’s a year or two old, water your lemon tree every week or two unless it rains.  A layer of bark mulch, and an understory planting of beneficial plants such as comfrey, chives, or borage will help retain water and discourage pests.

Citrus trees require a lot of nutrition, so make sure to spread compost or fertilizer under your tree to keep it happy and well fed.

Ants can damage your lemon tree.  If you have fire ants, keep them under control. 

How To Prune Citrus Trees

Lemon trees and other citrus trees don’t need much pruning.  Take of any dead, damaged or diseased wood.  You can prune any branches that stick out or don’t appeal to you visually, but otherwise, they don’t need much pruning.

You can reinvigorate an older citrus tree with a severe cut back, however it may take two years for it to bear fruit again.

Citrus can be pruned into pretty much any shape you would like.  For more info on pruning, check out Pruning Made Easy by Lewis Hill.

Harvesting Your Lemon Tree

You can leave the fruit on your citrus tree for weeks.  It will stop ripening once you take it off the tree, however.  Make sure you don’t let heavy fruit damage the limbs.  Also, a frost will damage any fruit still on the tree.

Lemon Tree Care In Cold Weather

Lemons and most citrus trees will get frost damage at temperatures under 30 degrees Fahrenheit.  If your lemon tree is in a pot, move it to a protected location before any frost hits.  It’s a good idea to let it acclimatize a little at a time before any big temperature changes such as going indoors or back out again.

If your lemon tree is outside and can’t be moved in, you can protect it in place.  Hanging Christmas lights in your citrus trees will help raise their temperature.  You can also wrap the trunk in several layers of cardboard (secure with duct tape).  Another option is to put blankets over your tree at night.

Just make sure to remove all your winter protection from your trees once it warms up!  I totally meant to get out there and move the Christmas lights out of my citrus, but it’s been several months, and I still haven’t done it.  At this point the lights are probably damaged and need to be replaced.  Whoops.

Lemons and other citrus are very easy trees to grow, and they produce such delicious fruit!  Plant a few, even if you need to keep it in a pot!

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Claudette Hills

Thursday 11th of February 2021

My meyer lemons are huge with thick skins which makes the fruit rather dry. What did I do wrong?


Friday 12th of February 2021

Could be too much nitrogen and not enough phosphorus. If you're using fertilizer, scale back. Also try some bone meal around the drip line.

Shelia Ramirez

Wednesday 8th of January 2020

My lemons have green patches on them how can I clean me and get some of it off?


Wednesday 8th of January 2020

Did they perhaps just not completely change color when they ripened? If it's more brown than green it could be citrus black spot. Here are some pictures of it:


Tuesday 8th of October 2019

I have a dwarf lemon tree. There has been two green lemons on my tree for a couple months. And my tree is losing leaves. Please help


Friday 6th of March 2020

My meyer lemon tree lost a lot of leaves and was looking very sad. I saw a video where someone put a mixture of coffee grounds and crushed egg shells around the soil surface in the pot. Her tree shot out lots of new leaves within a few weeks or so, so I tried it. My tree did the same thing! It is now doing better over a year later, although I do have a problem with scale that wont go away.


Monday 14th of October 2019

Lemons and other citrus take a long time to ripen, sometimes nine months! As for the leaves falling, the most likely cause is too much watering.