Basic care of Lemon tree varieties applies to all of popular in Australia. They are the most popular of all home grown fruit trees and are easy care in the right conditions.
Varieties include :
Eureka and Lisbon Lemon Trees, all have different qualities, and will fruit a slightly different times.
- The ‘Eureka’ lemon is originally from California. This is a larger lemon with more pith, and tends to fruit all at once.
- ‘Lisbon’, originated in Australia. It popular because it fruits over a long period, excellent for the home garden, but it is a larger tree.
- The Myer lemon is from China. This is a smaller tree, (pictured in flower at right) also good for home gardens because of its size. Again tend to fruit all at once. Probably the best lemon for growing in a pot.
Dwarf lemon trees are also available. Lemon trees can be grown in pots or containers, the Meyer lemon is best suited to this. We look at diseases, pests, yellow leave, planting and general care for lemon trees.
Lemons are originated in India and then were imported to the Mediterranean, so lemons are cold sensitive, probably the least tolerant of cold of all citrus.
Basic Lemon Tree Care
Growing lemon trees is relatively easy if you follow a few basic steps.
- Lemons do not like frosts.
Lemon trees need protection from frosts, lemon trees prefer a warm sunny position, in the home garden it can be a good idea to plant a lemon tree next to the house or a wall where some radiant heat will protect the lemon tree from frost.
- Lemons prefer a well drained soil.
Clay soils should be worked with organic matter and gypsum. Once established lemons are a reasonably tough plant, occasionally deep watering and fertilization with a citrus fertilizer will help promote growth and fruiting.
- Lemon trees like sun.
A position with at least 6 hours of good sun a day is important for good fruit production.
- Watering and Mulching Lemon Trees
Remember that lemon trees have a fairly shallow root system, during hot windy periods lemons need watering once a week. A mulch of about 6-7 cm will help preserve moisture, but remember to keep the mulch away from the trunk.
Pruning Lemon Trees
Lemon Trees do not need a lot of pruning, in frost free areas prune lightly to keep in shape at any time of the year. Remove any dead or damaged growth and prune to shape, remember that lemon trees can fruit all year long in warm climates, so don’t cut of the young fruit.
When to pick lemons : Lemons should be picked when they have reached full size and color.
Pest and Diseases of Lemon Trees
All lemon trees are susceptible to diseases and pests, so whether you are growing a Lisbon, Eureka or a Meyer the problems, and solutions will be the same.
- Leaf Curl
Leaf Curl on lemon trees can be caused by a number of factors, to much water is one factor that will cause the leaves of a lemon tree to curl. Leaf miners are another (see below).
- Gall Wasp.
Gall wasps lay their eggs under the bark of the lemon tree, this creates a thick lumpy appearance. Gall wasp infestations should be pruned off if possible, if not you need to cut or or scrapped back, the material removed should be burnt. Scale. Scale can be treated by spraying with white oil.
- Citrus Aphid.
These are a black aphid that can be hosed away are sprayed with a pyrethrum based spray.
- Leaf Miners.
Young leaves that turn a silvery color and come distorted may be infected by leaf miner, cut off and burn affected foliage.
- Sooty Mould.
If ants are on the lemon tree you could have ‘sooty mould’ use a white oil to remove sooty mould
Yellow leaves on lemon trees can be caused by a number of factors:
- If the leaves on the lower part of the tree are yellow it is probably poor drainage.
Solution. If the tree is young, dig it up and plant it in a raised position, build up a mound of soil up to 50cm, especially on clay soil and replant. If its a larger tree, try to improve drainage around the tree by digging a trench outside the drip line to take water away
- Yellow leaves or veined leaves usually indicate a nutrient deficiency or a ph problem most citrus trees like a ph of 6.5 – 6.8
Solution.Use a specialist citrus fertilizer to add nutrients. Check the ph of the soil with a ph kit. Used a citrus food to help adjust the soil, if the ph is way out consult you local nursery for soil additives to help adjust the ph.
- Insects such as spider mites can also cause problems, check by examining the leaves, especially he underside, check for any sign of damage, or shake the leaves over a sheet of white paper and see if any evidence of mites is apparent. These sap sucking insects can be controlled with a spray of white oil.
- Brown or Black spots on the foliage can indicate a lack of phosphate,
- Non Fruiting can be caused by the buds being eaten by small snails
- Leaving fruit on the trees after it has ripened is not recommended, you will find that this can lead to less fruit the next season and disease.
- Control weeds beneath citrus trees by weeding well before planting, weed matt or mulch can be used to help prevent weeds. Ideally the area to the drip-line will be weed and grass free.