Every backyard needs a lemon tree

Very few people would not be able to recognise a lemon tree if they saw one – with its glossy green leaves and bright yellow fruit it would be hard to miss even if it wasn’t such a popular garden inhabitant. Relatively small growing, lemon trees also produce the most beautifully perfumed flowers and many trees will in fact fruit and flower for much of the year, making them the perfect choice for home gardeners. The trees are evergreen, meaning they maintain their glossy green foliage all year round, and they have a rounded shape to them naturally. Most lemons are thornless, and have been bred that way, though Lisbon does have thorns and this may influence your selection of which variety to grow. The fruit of lemons vary in shape and size and there are both smooth and rough-skinned varieties.

Lemons are one of those fruit trees suited to both growing in the garden or as a potted specimen, making them ideal for any size garden or even a balcony or verandah. While they will grow in cooler regions they are much better suited to more temperate climates and when young will need protection in frost prone areas. To maintain a degree of control of your trees, especially where space is at a premium, you will need to give your tree a trim every year. This is best done after the main fruiting season and should be accompanied by an application of fertiliser such as chook poo.

When applying fertilisers, it’s worth remembering that citrus in general prefer their fertilisers near the trunk. Keep plants well-watered especially during warm weather and reduce weeds around the base of the trees as they really don’t like the competition. The ideal soil is free-draining and sandy but some water-retaining capabilities are preferred. The planting site should be in full sun and putting some rotted animal manure and compost into the planting hole is also recommended.

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