Known as one of the most popular citrus trees available in Australia, learning to speak the love language of your lemon tree will ensure it stays at its best.
As an integral member of many Australian gardens, the fruit of citrus trees often provide us with a healthy dose of the all important Vitamin C to protect us against colds, flus and other nasties during the winter months.
While oranges, mandarins, limes and even cumquats are all popular options, the humble lemon tree is arguably the most embraced thanks to its reputation as being relatively hardy and easy to grow.
As a relatively small citrus tree with lovely deep green foliage, lemons are very easy to care for when planted in the right place. While they naturally develop a neat crown without too much pruning required, what basic care does a lemon tree need in order to thrive?
Covering The Basics Of Growing A Lemon Tree
While not many people pay attention to the different species of lemon that grow in the Land Down Under, there are actually a few to choose from. The most common lemon tree varieties grown in Australia are Eureka, Lisbon and Meyer.
Eureka produces its main crop in winter with smaller crops in spring and summer. Eureka lemons have relatively few seeds and the tree is virtually thornless, growing to around four metres in height. While they do produce fruit almost every day of the year, Eureka lemon trees loathe vicious cold snaps.
In contrast, Lisbon lemon trees are considerably thornier. They produce their main crop in winter and tend to be more cold tolerant. While they grow to around three to four metres in height, they do have more seeds and produce far less fruit than the likes of Eureka lemon trees.
Finally, Meyers lemon trees have a milder and less acidic flavour with a smooth, thin rind. Its main crop is also produced in winter, but it can crop continuously throughout the year. It’s a small tree growing to around two metres in height, making it the ideal lemon tree to grow in a pot.
To keep a lemon tree happy, gardeners need to do their research on what variety will best suit their climate. As a general rule, they are extremely drought tolerant, but are also sensitive to frost. Other basic considerations for growing healthy lemon trees include the following.
Planting Position – No matter where you live, lemon trees require a position in full sunlight, while still being protected from winds and frost. If you’re growing a lemon tree in a cooler climate, try to plant it close to a brick wall so it can utilise any heat that radiates from it. When planting directly into a garden bed, aim to dig a hole that’s twice as wide and deep as the pot that your citrus plant came in.
Soil Conditions – Lemon trees can tolerate a range of different soils but they mostly prefer slightly acidic, well-drained soil. Prior to planting, consider adding a plant probiotic such as Biotic Booster to effectively optimise the soil conditions, and to ensure that there’s plenty of natural microbes and organic matter kicking around in the earth. As it’s chemical free, there’s no need to worry about how chemicals may potentially affect your future harvest.
Occasional Pruning – Grafted trees should fruit well within three years and gardeners should remove any fruit as quickly as possible in the early years to avoid overstressing the branches. A lemon tree requires very little pruning and gardeners should only do so as needed to restrict height or width. If the centre of the tree becomes congested or you find any crossing branches, these can be pruned out as needed. Light trimming can also encourage bushiness.
Supercharge With Mulch – Lemon trees love to be fed regularly, so keeping your tree well mulched with a quality mulch, such as lucerne or pea straw, has a wide range of benefits for the plant. These break down relatively quickly, adding nutrients and organic matter to the soil. In addition, mulching also helps with water retention and protecting the tree against weeds. Just be sure to keep it away from the trunk to avoid wood decay.
It’s also important to remember that protecting your lemon tree against any unwanted invaders is crucial if you want a decent harvest. Although healthy soil is one of the most effective ways to proactively fend off pests and diseases, tackling weeds is a whole other story. Using chemicals on fruit is a big no-no, especially if you plan on consuming your harvest – so what’s the alternative?
Introducing A Safer Way To Spray
Bioweed is an organic, non selective weed killer that works fast on contact with the weed, in order to rapidly desiccate and burn even the most stubborn of plants. It can be used anywhere around the house including garden beds, veggie patches, paths and driveways, and is safe to use around children, animals and even native wildlife.
The best part? 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 weed killer that’s safe to use around pets or kids, 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.