Friday, September 2, 2011

Caring for and pruning lemon trees

Citrus trees, such as lemon trees are common in gardens across Australia. They not only are beautiful trees to look at, but offer fresh produce at your disposal (not to mention the wonderful citrus smell!). Lemon trees produce fruit all year, making it very convenient when you decide you need to add a dash to your cooking. However there are a few things to be wary of. Citrus trees suffer from pests and disease so it’s good to know the basics when it comes to caring for and pruning lemon trees.

Caring for your lemon tree
Lemon trees, and all citrus trees, in general thrive in full sun. When starting off, use plenty of cow or horse manure in the ground and fertilise in August and February. Your lemon tree will also need lots of water. It is best to water your trees generously especially when young fruit starts to grow in spring and early summer. If the leaves feel dry and leathery during hot weather, it is a sign they need more water.

Problems that can arise
As mentioned, citrus trees can suffer from disease. If your lemon trees have lost their leaves and have dead wood, it might be a sign they are sick. Pruning your lemon trees and removing dead wood will help encourage new growth.

Pruning lemon trees
While we’re on the topic, it’s important to know that pruning lemon trees is not necessary in order to produce fruit. However there are several instances when pruning lemons trees may be required. This might be if the tree is sick or to shape them. When pruning lemon trees to remove low hanging branches firstly make a small cut underneath the branch and then cut through from the top to stop the bark tearing. Pruning may also be required if too heavy a crop is produced. This can weight down branches and cause them to break. Here, simply pick the fruit to lighten the load or remove small branches.

Pest and insects
There are a range of pests and insects that can cause trouble for lemon trees. Holes in a citrus tree are caused by a borer which attack the weakest plants and those under stress. Other problems citrus trees such encounter include sooty mould – which indicates there is an insect or pest such as white fly present. Wriggly lines on your citrus tree may have been cause by citrus leaf miner and deformed looking fruit may be the cause of a citrus bud mite. Routine oil sprays will keep these pests under control and organic based fertilizers will keep your tree flowering.

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