How to grow a lemon tree

Every Aussie yard needs this essential citrus - learn how to grow a lemon tree.  

Choose the sunniest spot in the yard to plant a lemon tree in the ground, or pot a dwarf variety in a small garden.

Soak the roots in a bucket of water before planting to keep the root ball intact, then dig a hole twice its width, position the plant level with the surrounding soil and backfill.

 

Fertilise with organic matter or manure every three to six months, or add slow-release fertiliser if potted.

Soil should be kept moist but not wet as too much water yellows the leaves until they drop. Give the tree lots of water in spring and summer, easing off in autumn and winter.

Mulch around the base to protect the roots, suppress weeds and retain moisture. Use an organic variety that breaks down to improve the soil, such as well-rotted cow manure or sugar cane mulch, ensuring it doesn't touch the stem and cause rotting.

Prune to encourage new growth by cutting back half the current season's growth before planting. Prune again when the tree has matured and annually to keep fruit within reach.

Harvest the fruit buds when they appear for the fi rst few seasons, as fruit fails to ripen properly while the tree is young and growing branches and leaves. Twist lemons off the stem to avoid harming the tree.

Zapping bugs
If insects are detected early they can be controlled, but once a citrus becomes damaged it’s diffi cult to bring it back to good health. Use organic oil every month to keep scale, leafminer, caterpillar and fungal rust under control, and if there are any signs of new damage to the tree, increase to fortnightly spraying.

Fact or fiction
Yes, peeing on a lemon tree helps it grow. Urine is made up of water, salts and urea, which is an organic product containing nitrogen, much like fertiliser

 

 

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