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Most of us aren’t strangers to lemons. Lemons are extremely popular and are grown in warm climates all over the world. While lemons need a lot of water to grow, it’s certainly possible to have an overwatered lemon tree.
As farmers or gardeners, we often overwater our plants because we think more water is better. However, overwatering is one of the leading causes of plant death. Here are some of the signs and symptoms, as well as how to treat an overwatered tree.
Signs of an overwatered lemon tree
An overwatered lemon tree will show several signs that it needs to be watered less. Such a tree will often have the following problems:
1. Yellowing leaves
Chlorosis is common with overwatered lemon trees. Chlorosis is when the leaves of a plant turn yellow, but the veins remain green. This is because the plant isn’t able to get enough iron from the soil.
2. Weak branches
Overwatered lemon trees often have weak branches. Overwatering can weaken the branches of a lemon tree and make them unable to support the weight of the fruit. This can lead to the branches breaking or the fruit falling off.
3. Root rot
Root rot is when the roots of a plant start to decay and is another common overwatering sign. This can also occur simply because the soil doesn’t have enough drainage.
How often to water lemon tree?
When we first get into gardening, determining how often to water our plants is one of the biggest learning curves. You definitely want to avoid overwatering or underwatering your lemon tree. Both can be harmful to the plant.
To help you out, here’s a general guide on how often to water your lemon tree:
- Water once a week during the growing season
- Water twice a week during hot weather
- Water once a month during the winter
Don’t let the soil around a lemon tree dry out completely between watering. Stick your finger into the ground near the tree. If it feels dry, it’s time to do some watering.
Lemon trees can also suffer from nutrient deficiencies as a result of overwatering. The nutrients lemon trees need most are zinc, iron, and manganese. Although only trace amounts are required, they are essential for the growth and development of lemon trees.
Lemon trees deficient in these nutrients will show the following signs:
- Yellow leaves with green veins (chlorosis)
- Poor fruit production
- Small, stunted growth
The good news is that these deficiencies can also be corrected with fertilizer. Be sure to use a fertilizer that’s specific for lemon trees.
Lemon tree root rot from wet soil
As we indicated earlier, overwatering can lead to root rot, which can kill a lemon tree. Root rot is caused by a fungus found in overwatered soil. When faced with this problem, we must take immediate action to save the tree.
Signs of root rot in a lemon tree include:
- Yellowing and dropping leaves
- Branch dieback
- Reduced vigor
- Poor new growth
- Decay of the trunk
Through proper watering, fungicides, and fumigation, root rot can be neutralized.
How to save an overwatered lemon tree?
It can be disheartening to see signs of overwatering on your lemon tree. But all hope is not lost. It is usually possible to save a generally overwatered lemon tree. Consider the following tips:
- Stop watering immediately
- Let the soil drain
- Consider adding more drainage with aeration or trenching
- Prune away branches of other trees that are shading the lemon tree
- Prune the lemon tree
- Let the soil dry out almost completely before watering again
- Allow the lemon tree time to recover, watering only when the soil is truly dry
Signs of underwatering a lemon tree
Just as an overwatered lemon tree will show signs of stress, an underwatered lemon tree will too. These signs may include:
1. Dry leaves
The leaves of an underwatered lemon tree will be dry and crispy. This is because the plant needs more water to hydrate the leaves.
2. Dropping leaves
Another common sign of an underwatered lemon tree is dropping leaves. Due to the lack of water, the leaves of an underwatered lemon tree will start to fall off.
3. Small fruit
Underwatered lemon trees will also produce small fruit. The plant will need more water to support the growth of large lemons.