How To Grow Lemon Tree Outdoors

Growing a lemon tree outdoors is a rewarding experience. There are certain steps that need to be taken in order to ensure a productive and healthy tree. Here’s how to do it:

Firstly, select a tree that is good for your growing climate. Choose a hardy citrus tree such as a eureka or Lisbon lemon tree. These trees are cold tolerant and are well suited for growing in most climates.

Second, choose a sunny location that is away from the wind. Citrus trees require full sun for at least 8 hours per day. Avoid planting the tree in areas that are too shady or exposed to harsh winds.

Third, prepare the soil for planting. Add compost or aged manure to the soil to provide essential nutrients for the tree and to improve drainage. The soil should be light and well draining as citrus trees are susceptible to root rot.

Fourth, plant the tree in the soil. Dig a hole that is slightly larger than the rootball and position the tree so that the roots are vertical. Backfill the hole and tamp down the soil to remove any air pockets.

Fifth, mulch the tree to improve moisture retention and to discourage weeds. Organic mulch such as straw or shredded bark is ideal. Keep the mulch at least a few inches away from the trunk to avoid rot.

Sixth, water the tree deeply. Citrus trees require regular watering during dry spells. Water in the evening hours to allow the tree to absorb the moisture as it is needed. Avoid overwatering as too much water can cause root rot.

Seventh, monitor for pests or diseases. Citrus trees are prone to insect pests and disease. Check the tree regularly for any signs of infestation or disease and take appropriate action if needed.


Fertilizing a lemon tree is important to ensure healthy growth and a good crop of fruit. Use a citrus fertilizer that is high in nitrogen and potassium to provide essential nutrients for the tree. Apply the fertilizer to the soil around the tree in spring and summer months and avoid feeding in the winter.

Be sure to follow directions on the container as too much fertilizer can damage the tree. Mulch the tree to help minimize leaching of the fertilizer into the ground.

Ensure that the soil pH is optimal for the tree; this will vary between acidic and alkaline depending on the tree species. Test the soil pH and adjust if needed by adding sulfur or lime.

In addition to fertilizer, add other organic matter such as compost or aged manure to boost soil fertility and provide essential nutrients for the tree.

Prune the tree regularly to remove any dead or damaged branches and to keep the tree healthy and productive.


Lemon trees are ready to harvest when the fruit is fully formed and yellow. The fruit can be picked as soon as it is ripe or left on the tree until needed.

To ensure a good crop of lemons, avoid over-picking fruit; pick lemons at the correct stage of ripeness. Harvest when the fruit is fully ripe, as lemons will not continue to ripen off the tree.

Lemons can be harvested by hand or by clipping. For large trees, a fruit picker can be used. If harvesting by hand, use a ladder and long-handled fruit picker, or simply twist and pull the lemon from the stem.

After harvesting, store lemons in a cool, dark place for up to a week or store in a refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Winter Care

Most lemon trees are a hardy variety and are able to tolerate cold temperatures; however, colder temperatures can damage the tree if not properly cared for. During winter, ensure that the tree is protected from extreme cold and frost.

Mulch around the tree to help protect the roots from extreme temperatures and to help retain moisture. Wrap the tree in burlap or frost cloth to protect the foliage.

Water the tree regularly, including in the winter, as this will help the tree cope with cold temperatures. In warm climates, water the tree more frequently and in colder climates, water less frequently.

During cooler weather, keep an eye out for pests and disease. Citrus trees are prone to insect pests such as mealybugs, aphids, scale and ants. Treat the tree with an appropriate insecticide if necessary.

Apply a winter fertiliser during the cooler months to boost the trees growth and overall health. Ensure that the soil pH is optimal for the tree.

Pruning & Grafting

Pruning a lemon tree is important to maintain its overall health. Prune the tree in autumn or early spring to remove any dead or damaged branches. Pruning also encourages new growth and can help to keep the tree in shape.

Grafting can also be done to improve the growth and yield of the tree. This involves attaching a piece of a different tree species to the main trunk that is better suited to the local climate.

Make sure to use sharp pruning shears and always wear protective gloves. Grafting can be done by a professional arborist to ensure that it is done correctly.

Pest and disease control is also necessary to ensure that the tree is healthy. Monitor the tree regularly and take appropriate action if needed.

Growing a lemon tree outdoors can be rewarding and enjoyable. Keep the tree well nourished, protected from extreme temperatures and pests and it should produce a bountiful crop of lemons.

Gordon Wesson is an environmentalist and author who lives in the Pacific Northwest. He has been writing for many years about topics related to trees, the environment, and sustainability. In particular, he is passionate about educating people on the importance of living in harmony with the environment and preserving natural spaces. He often speaks at conferences and events around the country to share his knowledge with others. His dedication to protecting our planet makes him one of the leading voices in his field today.

Leave a Comment