Why have all the leaves fallen off my lemon tree?

Last year my lemon tree lost all its leaves during winter. Come Spring he seemed to perk up a little bit and grew back nice and bushy. Then I think he suffered a bit with our bad summer: too much rain and wind and not enough sunshine. Now, in the last week, all of his leaves have shrivelled and fallen off. He's got a nice sunny spot, reasonably good drainage and I've been giving him his lemon feed on a quarterly basis. He is a dwarf lemon tree and now about two years old. I live next to the beach and wonder if the sea air is having a bad effect. Am I losing my lemon tree? Is he going to make it through another winter?


20 March 2012 11:24 PM

Hi Sarah,

Your lemon tree is looking a little sad, but it still looks green with some foliage, so I am sure you are not going to lose it. Lemon trees grow extremely well in pots, particularly the dwarf varieties. There must be a reason why it drops its leaves from time to time. Citrus grow well along the coastline so I am sure that is not why it is dropping its leaves. You say you have the pot in a sunny spot. It needs to be protected from the winds though. It looks to be planted in a good size pot and I am sure you have filled the pot with a good quality potting mix. You don't mention the type of fertiliser you used. It is best to use a slow release fertiliser such as Acticote for Citrus (applied in spring and again in autumn) or Yates Thrive Natural Citrus & Fruit Pelletised Plant Food(applied every 6-8 weeks ). The pelletise citrus food is only suitable for citrus in the ground. If you apply it to a citrus in a pot, it may be too strong for such a small surface area and the tree will let you know by dropping its leaves. At this stage, don't fertilise any more. We would suggest that you use a product called Yates Dynamic Lifter Liquid Concentrate. It is particular effective in ensuring that plants recover well after periods of stress. It would be a good idea to check the drainage holes in the bottom of the tub to make sure they are not blocked. Drainage is so important when growing citrus. I am sure you will be able to save your lemon tree. A little bit of TLC is what it needs.
From your friends at Yates Gardening

Topics: Fruit and Citrus Issues: Plants