meyer-lemon-tree-care

Meyer Lemon Tree Care Instructions

Despite its common name, the Meyer lemon tree (Citrus meyeri ‘Improved’) isn’t a true lemon (Citrus limon). It’s descended from three different citrus varieties: pomelos, mandarin oranges and sweet oranges. Its heritage shows up in its mild, ultra- juicy thin-skinned fruit and improved cold tolerance. Meyer lemon tree care, however, isn’t too much different from true lemon tree care. Our instructions cover the basics.

Watering

Whether your Meyer lemon tree grows in the ground or in a pot, the same rule applies: Underwatering is more easily remedied than overwatering. To avoid the latter, give your tree loose, well-draining soil or a potting mix formulated for citrus.

Water when the soil is slightly dry (not parched) to the touch. The goal is to keep the roots consistently moist without letting them become soggy. If the soil becomes too dry, you may be tempted to compensate by overwatering.

Expert gardener’s tip: Always water slowly and deeply, so the moisture reaches the deepest roots. A potted tree with a limited soil supply needs more frequent watering than an in-ground one.

Fertilizing

As heavy feeders, Meyer lemons need regular fertilizer applications during growing season. To keep them at their fruit-producing peak — and ensure a chemical-free harvest — use an organic, slow-release 6-3-3 fertilizer fortified with essential trace minerals including:

  • Boron
  • Calcium
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Zinc

When and How to Fertilize

Make the first application just before your tree blooms in late winter or early spring. Repeat as soon as the flowering ends and again in early to mid-summer.

Spread the fertilizer granules evenly over the soil starting 6 inches from the trunk and going to the edge of the canopy. Use the label’s recommended rate, because different brands come in different strengths.

Work the granules into the soil and water well.

Frost Protection

Meyer lemons grow in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 through 11. They’ve been known survive a short time at 20°F (-1.1°C), but it’s best to protect them with frost blankets when temperatures lower than 23°F (5°C) are expected. Otherwise, their fruit and leaves will suffer.

Pest Management

Common Meyer lemon pests include:

  • Aphids
  • Scale
  • Whiteflies
  • Mealybugs
  • Mites

The first four drain sap from the leaves. They also drench the trees with gooey, clear waste, or honeydew, that attracts streams of ants. Mites also feed on leaf fluids, but seldom do serious damage.

Pest Control

To eradicate all these pests without harming bees or other beneficial insects, spray your tree to runoff with organic insecticidal soap. Repeat every three days until the infestation is gone.