Why Is My Meyer Lemon Tree Leaves Turning Yellow

Meyer lemon trees are prized for their fragrant fruits and glossy, evergreen foliage. The tree can be an impressive sight in the garden and a source of pride for the enthusiastic gardener. Unfortunately, Meyer lemon trees sometimes suffer from yellowing foliage. It is important to diagnose and treat the condition so the tree remains happy and healthy.

Yellowing leaves on a Meyer lemon tree can be caused by several different conditions. One possible reason is nitrogen deficiency. If the soil pH is too high, nitrogen becomes unavailable to the plant and the leaves may yellow. Another potential cause is a watering issue. If the tree is not getting a sufficient amount of water, or its roots are waterlogged, the leaves may yellow.

The most common cause of yellow-leaved Meyer lemon trees is sunburn. Meyer lemon trees need ample sunlight to do their best, but if they are in too much direct sun, their leaves can get sunburned and yellow. Additionally, temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit can cause leaf yellowing.

In some cases, yellowing leaves may be caused by pesticides, fungicides, or other chemicals used in the garden. If you suspect spray drift from a neighbor’s yard as the cause, you can check with your local garden center for products to neutralize the chemicals.

A root issue may be causing the yellowed leaves, too. If the Meyer lemon tree’s root system becomes rootbound or unhealthy, the leaves will yellow. Root issues can also be caused by poor soil or ineffective water drainage.

Once the cause of the yellowed leaves has been identified, the condition can be treated. If the tree is lacking in nutrients, fertilizing with a citrus fertilizer will help. You can also adjust the soil pH if it is too high. If the tree is not getting enough water, increase the frequency of watering.

If sunburn or overheating is causing the leaves to yellow, provide some shade for the Meyer lemon tree. Placing a sheet of burlap or a panel of shade cloth next to the tree should help the leaves to stay green. If chemicals have been detected, follow the instructions of your garden center to neutralize them.

Root Issues

Root problems are another common cause of yellowing leaves in Meyer lemon trees. The tree’s root system can become rootbound or unhealthy, preventing it from taking up water and nutrients and leading the leaves to yellow. Poor soil and ineffective water drainage can also contribute to root issues. Root issues can be treated by improving the drainage and aerating the soil. Potted Meyer lemon trees should be repotted in fresh soil every two years.

Watering too frequently can also have an adverse effect on root health. Overwatering Meyer lemon trees is a common mistake. Water the tree only when the top inch of soil is dry. A deep, occasional watering is more beneficial than frequent, shallow waterings.

To check for root problems, examine the roots of the Meyer lemon tree. Healthy roots should be white. If the roots are brown or black, they are not healthy. You can also look for signs of poor drainage or waterlogged roots. If the soil is staying wet too long and water is pooling around the root zone, this can cause root issues.

A soil test is the most effective way to determine the root health of a Meyer lemon tree. You can send a soil sample to a local or online lab to determine soil pH and nutrient availability. Based on the results of the soil test, you can adjust the soil and increase aeration to improve root health.

Regular maintenance is key for Meyer lemon trees. Pruning the branches and removing dead leaves will help improve air circulation and prevent root issues. A compost mulch can also help improve the health of the tree’s roots.


Fertilizing a Meyer lemon tree can help to improve the health and vigor of the tree. Use a complete fertilizer formulated for citrus trees. Depending on the size of the tree, you will likely need 10-20 pounds of fertilizer per season. If you have been using fertilizer regularly, adjust the rate downwards.

You can use a slow-release fertilizer or an organic fertilizer. The slow-release fertilizer will give the tree a steady stream of nutrients over the course of the growing season. Organic fertilizers, such as compost or manure, will build up the fertility of the soil over time and aid with root health.

Whichever fertilizer you choose, make sure it is specific to citrus trees. It should have a balanced ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as some trace elements. Follow the directions on the package for the best results.

You don’t need to fertilizer the Meyer lemon tree more than once a year. Applying too much fertilizer can burn the roots and lead to yellowed leaves. Avoid over-fertilizing and follow the directions on the package.

In addition to fertilizing, make sure the Meyer lemon tree is getting sufficient water. Water deeply once a week, or more often if the soil is feeling dry.

Resistant Varieties

Not all Meyer lemon trees arc susceptible to yellow leaves. Some varieties of Meyer lemon trees are more tolerant of sunburn and other environmental stressors. If you find that yellow leaves are a frequent occurrence, try replacing your Meyer lemon tree with a more tolerant variety.

‘Eureka’ is a good option for Meyer lemon trees that are prone to yellowing leaves. This variety is tolerant of heat and can handle more sunlight without getting sunburned. ‘Improved Meyer Lemon’ is another good choice. It is cold tolerant, vigorous, and produces plentiful fruits.

The upside of Meyer lemon trees is their ease of care. They are relatively low-maintenance trees and often require just moderate water and fertilizer. If yellowing leaves become a consistent issue, try planting one of the hardy and tolerant varieties to keep your tree looking its best.

pests and Disease

Pests and diseases can lead to yellowing leaves on Meyer lemon trees. Spider mites, scale, and aphids can all cause yellow leaves. Overly wet soil and insufficient air circulation can also lead to disease issues.

If disease or pests are suspected, inspect the tree for signs of damage. For pests, look for webs, sticky residue, and signs of insect activity. For diseases, look for wilted or discolored leaves, spots, or lesions.

If pests or disease are detected, you can treat them organically or with chemical pesticides. Before using any chemical pesticides, do your research to make sure they will be safe for the Meyer lemon tree and will not harm beneficial organisms in your garden.

Natural pest and disease treatments involve using predatory insects or fungi to attack the pests. You can also attract beneficial insects, like lady bugs and lacewings, by planting certain flowers, herbs, and other plants in your garden. This will help to keep the pest population in check.

Implementing a few cultural practices can be helpful, too. Keeping the tree pruned and removing dead leaves will encourage better air circulation and reduce the risk of disease. A few inches of mulch can help to keep the roots healthy as well.


Yellow leaves on Meyer lemon trees can be caused by a variety of conditions. To diagnose and treat the problem, identify the symptom that is causing the yellow leaves. This can be done by examining the tree for signs of pests, disease, sunburn, root issues, or nutrient deficiency. Depending on the cause and the severity, treatment can vary from fertilizing to providing shade to using chemicals.

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.

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