How great would it be to have your own lemon trees in your garden instead of having to buy them from a grocery store?
There's nothing like the refreshing taste of lemon. Whether it's lemon juice, lemonade, or lemon squeezed onto seafood, there's no denying the pleasant aroma and taste of lemons.
Lemon trees really are the perfect addition to your garden. Let's look at what makes these trees so great and how to care for them.
How to Grow and Care for Lemon Trees
Knowing Your Lemon Varieties
Growing a lemon tree begins with choosing the right variety. There are several lemon varieties, but Meyer lemon trees are the most popular.
These lemon trees are sweeter than other lemons and easier to care for than others. We recommend beginners start with Meyers lemons.
Consider The Climate
Different lemon varieties require different climates. In general, lemons do best in warm temperatures. Meyer lemon trees are more adaptable to colder climates, which is why people choose them over other varieties.
Planting Lemon Trees
You can plant lemon trees anytime you want in a warm climate, so long as you give it all the water it needs. When growing lemon trees in the garden, you should start by digging a planting hole.
The hole should be at least twice as wide and deep as the pot the plant came in. Take the citrus from the pot and check the roots. Untangle roots that circle around or are too closely packed together.
Plant the tree so that the original soil level is level with the garden soil. Fill the hole with the crumbled soil taken from the pot and add citrus-friendly compost into the top 10cm of the soil.
Water the lemon tree after planting it and ensure the soil stays moist. It shouldn't be too wet, but it should never be completely dry either.
Watering Lemon Trees
As mentioned before, lemon trees do best in moist but not soggy soil. Water the tree every ten days or so during the summer, with up to six inches of water per month to keep it healthy.
Let the soil around the tree dry out a little before watering again. Overwatered lemon trees are partial to root rot, while lemon trees without enough water fail to produce fruit.
Feeding Your Lemon Plant
Keep in mind that citrus trees such as lemon trees produce plenty of fruit. Producing this much fruit takes a lot of energy, so your tree needs plenty of food to stay healthy.
Pruning Lemon Trees
Lemon trees need regular pruning to keep producing healthy fruit. It would be best to prune the tree between late winter and early spring, just after harvesting the lemons.
Prune young trees to maintain a healthy shape and remove weak limbs and sprouts so your tree doesn't waste energy. Continue pruning your tree as it grows, removing tangled branches, dead wood, and crossed limbs. Stagger the scaffold branches.
Prune any subsidiary shoots from the scaffold branches. Look to prune around 20% of the canopy each year. Focus on the longer branches that have a more significant impact on the canopy's shape and size.
Lemon trees also require skirting, which helps improve air movement. Prune limbs and branches that hang down to the ground to prevent insect and fungus problems.
Lemon trees can take up to three years to start bearing fruit. Different lemon trees mature at different times. Your lemons are ready to harvest after reaching full flavor and color.
It's best to harvest lemons when the peel is yellow and has a small green tinge to it. Lemons get sweeter the longer they stay attached to the tree. Some people recommend plucking a lemon and tasting it to see how the crop is progressing.
Use the twist, tilt, and snap method to pull lemons from the tree. Hold the whole lemon in your hand, twist it gently, tilt it, and then pull on it until it comes free from the branch.
Wrapping Up Our Lemon Trees Guide
Lemon plant are the perfect addition to any garden. These citrus trees are easier to care for than other fruit-bearing trees. Some lemon varieties, such as Meyer lemon trees, handle cold climates well and are popular for people in the north.
Lemon trees offer plenty of benefits that make them worth it. For a start, you'll have fresh organic lemons you can use at home. It doesn't get much more local than your backyard.
Citrus trees are also an excellent project for aspiring gardeners. Kids can get in on the fun and are more likely to develop a taste for healthy fruit if they grow it themselves.
Try planting lemon trees in your garden and see how it goes for you. Good luck!