Decoding Yellow Leaves On A Lemon Tree


While yellow leaves on a lemon tree are never a good sign – where do you start when it comes to understanding what it means, and how to fix the problem?

Citrus trees can be found all over Australia, and are more or less a staple in many backyards and gardens. While reaping what you sow from these varieties can be incredibly rewarding, getting the conditions “just” right can be both frustrating and infuriating, particularly when it comes to solving the age-old debacle of yellow leaves on a lemon tree.

Like most things, both new and experienced green thumbs need to get to the root of the problem before they can successfully solve it. Unfortunately, yellow leaves on a lemon tree can mean a great number of things, from a pest invasion to a nutrient deficiency – so how do you identify the nature of your lemon tree’s affliction?

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What Yellow Leaves On A Lemon Tree Can Mean 

If your beloved lemon tree is yellowing and generally looking a little drab, don’t beat yourself up, as this is a common problem for many gardeners. Citrus plants are gross feeders, meaning that if your plant’s leaves are yellowing, a lack of access to nutrients could be to blame. However, what we refer to as “yellowing” can resemble a great many things, so it’s important to pay attention to the finer details in order to get the diagnosis right. 

Leaves Are Yellow All Over – If you’re grappling with yellow leaves on a lemon tree all over the plant, this is one of the key signs of a nutrient deficiency. Common causes include a nitrogen deficiency, which presents as the older leaves yellowing, or a magnesium deficiency, which shows as light green or yellow blotches on leaves. For a natural solution, try adding a plant probiotic to reintroduce these nutrients via microbes, without damaging the overall makeup of the soil in your garden. Just remember to avoid fertilising your lemon trees when they are flowering as it can cause plant to drop its flower set. 

Leaves Are Yellow In Winter – As a general rule, lemon trees prefer a warm subtropical climate, but will still grow in cooler climates if sheltered from cold winds and cold winter conditions. When the tree is cold, its roots are unable to absorb enough nutrients to keep the leaves green, and in turn go yellow. Try to shelter lemon trees from cold winds with plastic, a screen or a hedge, along with adequate and regular watering. Don’t apply any fertiliser until spring, when temperatures warm and the tree shows signs of new growth.

New Leaves Are Pale Yellow – New leaf growth that is yellowing with smaller green veins is a tell tale sign of a zinc or iron deficiency, which is often brought about by the soil being too alkaline. It’s a common issue in clay soils with high pH, a poor soil structure and or soils with a low infiltration capacity. Much like solving a nitrogen or magnesium deficiency, try adding a plant probiotic to reintroduce these nutrients via microbes, as this won’t impact any other residents (plants, people or pets) that share your garden. 

Leaves Are Yellow And Dry – Citrus bugs, scale and aphids can affect the health of the lemon and its leaves, and suck up all of the resources that should be going to the plant. Seeing ants along the stems is a sign that the tree has pests, along with any visible ones like mites that are hiding under the leaves. Pests and weeds get comfortable if your plant isn’t as healthy as it should be, so make sure you’re looking after the soil and mulching regularly to prevent any unwelcome visitors in order to avoid reactive treatments. 

Citrus trees also enjoy regular pruning to increase airflow, photosynthesis, and growth. Methods like topping and skirting can help prevent bugs from climbing onto the tree. If left unpruned, your tree will be more prone to the spread of diseases from the soil and other contaminated leaves. 

When giving your plants any additional layers of protections, always aim for the natural route. Using chemicals can negatively affect your fruit, and turn your soil toxic, causing even more problems further down the track – but where can gardeners source an alternative? 

Further Gardening Advice From The Professionals

Spending time outside and in the garden is not only good for our overall well being, but it’s also an easy way to start educating yourself on the importance of sustainability. 

If you’re noticing foreign invaders popping up in your garden, a naturally produced weed killer like Bioweed is a safe way to keep them under control. As a non-residual solution, it will break down into the soil in as little as 72 hours and can combat over 200 invasive weed species, making it safe for you, your family and your pets to navigate. 

Bioweed is the brainchild of well established agricultural leaders Greenpro, and is backed by over twenty years of research and development. Owned and manufactured in Australia, the primary ingredient of Bioweed is actually sustainably sourced pine oil, and is even approved by NASAA, ACO and APVMA for use around organic farms and food production.

If you’re on the hunt for a natural organic weed killer, more organic gardening solutions, or simply want to know more about eliminating weeds safely, check out other tips and tricks in our online advice forum, or contact us for any further queries.