Choose Your Planting Site
Nothing’s as important to your Meyer lemon tree’s future health and production as its planting site. The ideal one has:
- Eight to 12 hours of daily sun. It will grow in part shade, but with dramatically fewer flowers and fruit.
- Loose, well-draining soil, preferably of sandy or sandy loam texture. The tree’s roots hate being soggy. If your soil’s drainage isn’t the best, plant it in a 3- to 4-foot raised bed.
- Shelter from strong winds.
- In the colder parts of its growing range, a south- or west-facing wall. Plant your tree in front of it to benefit from the reflected heat.
After planting your tree, encircle it at the canopy’s edge with a mound of soil to create a water basin. Water it every two or three days. When it has 6 inches of vertical growth, cut back to once every two weeks (weekly when there’s no rain.)
To preserve soil moisture, spread a 3-to 4 inch layer of organic mulch starting 6 inches from the trunk and extending to the canopy edge.
Expert gardener’s tip: Water just often enough to keep the soil moist. Don’t let the soil get completely dry, or you may be tempted to overdo it.
Begin fertilizing when your tree sprouts its first new leaves. An organic, slow-release 6-3-3 formula fortified with essential minerals provides everything it needs.
Apply the fertilizer in the label’s recommended amount for your tree’s size. Feed it just before and right after flowering in spring, and again in early to mid-summer.
Spread the fertilizer granules evenly out to the edge of the canopy and water them into the soil. Avoid splashing them on the leaves.
Organic Pest Management
To rid your tree of soft-bodied pests such as aphids, whiteflies or soft scale, spray the leaves until they drip with organic insecticidal soap. Rinse it in a few hours to remove the residue and repeat every three days if needed.
Thanks to its small stature, pruning a Meyer lemon is easy. For the first two years, simply pinch off the flowers and young fruit by hand. Without them, the tree can work on building vigorous branches and roots.
As soon as frost is forecast, water the tree thoroughly and drape it with a light blanket or frost cloth until the threat is gone.