To keep your lemon trees growing healthy it is important to fertilize them regularly and in the right way. Top dress lemon trees in spring, add trace element, iron chelates and an organic slow release fertilizer to keep your citrus tree happy. Add mulch onto the soil and water the fertilizer in after applying to avoid burning the plant and release the nutrients to the tree.
This article will explore how to fertilize your lemon tree at home in 5 easy steps.
6 Steps to fertilize a lemon tree
Here are 5 easy steps to fertilize your lemon tree at home.
1. Top dress lemon trees in spring
The first thing to do is top dress lemon trees in spring. Rake back the mulch and layer a mix of compost and aged cow manure on the surface of the soil. Layer around 2 inches of this mix on the soil and rake it flat. Don’t mix it in otherwise you could disturb the plant roots.
This mix will contain a small amount of nutrients which will be washed down to the plant roots to grow. This organic matter will also feed the worms and soil bacteria and help to prevent weeds.
2. Add trace elements in spring
Feed your citrus with trace elements in spring. You can use a general citrus fertilizer or a trace element mix. Mix this through water and apply it to your lemon tree. This will give the tree a burst of trace elements it needs to grow flowers and fruit.
3. Add iron chelates in spring if the leaves are yellowing
Keep the leaves of your citrus tree healthy by giving it a dose of iron chelates in spring. After a long winter and consistent fruiting, your lemon tree can use up the iron in the soil. Give it back the iron it needs to grow lemons over spring and summer.
4. Add a slow release fertilizer to the root zone at the start of each season
The next step is to add an organic slow release fertilizer at the beginning of each season. Add pelleted chicken manure around the base of the lemon tree around the root zone. Sprinkle the fertilizer on the root zone, up to the imaginary line underneath the edges of the leaf canopy.
You can also use a natural, citrus-specific plant food. This will have a range of nutrients specific to the needs of your lemon tree. Look out for organic options.
5. Add mulch
Add a layer of mulch twice per year to keep the soil moist and to prevent weeds. Use bark mulch or straw mulch on the surface of the soil and this will reduce water evaporation. This will help you to save water in the long run and will block light to the weed seeds preventing their growth.
6. Water the fertilizer in well and add seaweed
Always water the fertilizer in well each time you feed your lemon tree. Water all around the surface of the soil where the fertilizer was added. This will help to wash it down to the roots and allow the slow release fertilizer to start to break down.
You can add seaweed solution to your watering can each month to help to improve root growth and improve the soil. This is a gentle soil conditioner which is great for overall plant health.
When to fertilize a lemon tree
Fertilize your lemon tree when it is growing actively in spring. This is the most important time to remember to fertilizer your tree as it will be growing long stems and preparing to grow flowers and fruit. This is the time to add pelleted chicken manure, trace elements and iron chelates. This will feed your tree in preparation for growing lots of fruit.
Add an organic slow release fertilizer like pelleted chicken manure at the beginning of each season. This will gently feed your plant throughout the year, allowing it to grow new leaves and prepare the plant for growing fruit. Avoid adding fertilizer once the plant has started flowering.
If your plant is growing lots of leaves but no fruit, you can swap to a flower and fruit promoting fertilizer. This will help to reduce the nitrogen to phosphorus to potassium ratio needed for the plant to set fruit.
Avoid fertilizing lemon trees in the heart of winter. instead add pelleted chicken manure at the start of winter before the plant slows down its growth and goes semi-dormant.
How often to fertilize lemon trees
You can add a natural organic fertilizer like pelleted chicken manure 4 times per year at the start of each season. Add trace elements and iron chelates in spring and water them in well. You can add seaweed solution to your tree once each month to improve root growth and soil bacteria.
How to Fertilize a Lemon Tree | Summary
Fertilizing lemon trees is important to make sure that they produce lots of fruit. Lemon trees need a consistent fertilizing regime including iron chelates, trace elements, and organic slow release fertilizers. Spring is the key time for fertilizing lemon trees but don’t forget to keep adding pelleted chicken manure at the start of each season.
I have recently bought a small lemon tree which tripled in size over a 6 month period. The plant has grown from around a foot high to over 4 feet high now. It is rapidly adding long stems and by next year it will be ready for its first fruit. This was my experiment to see how rapidly I could grow a lemon tree but if you want fruit sooner, look out for a grafted lemon tree or a more advanced one.
Lemon trees are easy to care for but do need regular fertilizer. If you get this right, you will have lots of lemons for many years to come.
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I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.