Citrus trees are great to have in your backyard as they not only bear delicious fruits but are also easy to grow for beginners. A lemon tree, in particular, is a good starting point if you want to try your hand at growing citrus fruits.
Though they grow easily, you still need to know their basic requirements, starting with the soil. Thankfully, the optimal lemon tree soil isn’t difficult to achieve. Lemon trees are quite hardy and can withstand poor soil quality as long as a few factors are taken into account.
Lemon trees can grow in most types of soil except for hard clay. The most ideal types are loam soils or a loamy and sandy soil mixture with good drainage. This article details the best way to identify and treat lemon tree soil so your tree can grow healthily and your harvest is bountiful!
Ideal Soil Characteristics
Lemon tree soil requires a well-draining soil mix like sandy loam soils. Well-drained soil lets excess water drain at a medium pace that’s neither too quick nor too slow. This ensures that your lemon tree has enough time to absorb water from the soil and it doesn’t get muddy with too much water.
Able to Hold Water
The soil you use for your lemon or citrus trees needs to retain water. The ability to hold water ensures that your citrus trees always have water available when needed.
Well-draining soils, like loam soils, generally have decent water retention characteristics. Since this kind of soil drains excess water at a moderate rate, the plant roots can easily absorb water without the soil becoming a messy puddle.
Soil aeration is a process where there is an exchange of gases between the pores of the earth and the atmosphere. This process ensures that plants get enough oxygen while reducing the levels of carbon dioxide in the soil. It also helps increase soil productivity.
Aerated soil ensures that there is sufficient movement of air through the various soil structures. Using aerated lemon tree soil ensures that your lemon tree is healthy and bears good fruit during harvest season.
Able to Hold Nutrients
Soil’s ability to hold and provide nutrients to plants depends on how fertile the soil is. Loam soils, like dried loam or sandy loam, are perfect for gardening since they can provide your plants with proper nutrients and moisture.
The fertility (and thus, the nutrients) of your lemon tree soil can also be increased by using mulch. Mulching your soil will help protect the root system of your plant while helping retain moisture and preventing puddles. Organic mulch, like wood mulch, is your best bet since it provides plenty of nutrients to the plant.
One of the primary factors to consider when choosing soil for your lemon tree is the soil texture. Soil texture refers to how light or heavy it is. Heavy soils are mostly made up of clay while light soil has a high amount of sand compared to clay.
Along with being well-draining, your lemon tree soil also needs to be lightweight. Sandy soil is considered the lightest soil, so mixing it with loam soils is the way to go when planting a lemon tree.
Containing Inorganic Ingredients
Every soil contains inorganic components to some extent. The main types of inorganic materials in soil are sand, silt, and clay. Every type of soil contains a different proportion of these particles. Loamy soil, for example, contains 40% silt, 40% sand, and 20% clay.
The inorganic material in lemon tree soil helps distribute soil nutrients to plants and ensure their healthy growth. Sand and silt are better at supplying these nutrients than finer particles like clay which is why loam soils are generally recommended for lemon trees as well as other plants in the garden.
Best Soil Factors for Lemon Tree Soil
1. Soil Composition
Lemon trees are well-known among gardeners for being low-maintenance since they can grow in most types of soils that have good drainage. However, if you want the optimal harvest from your lemon tree, the best choice is loamy soil or sandy loam soil.
Sandy loam soil is known for being well-draining while also retaining sufficient moisture. This lemon tree soil is composed of 60 percent sand, 10 percent clay, and 30 percent silt. Lemon trees are also best grown in soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5, which can be adjusted using lime or sulfur.
2. Planting Location
Where you plant your lemon tree is important. Lemon trees require full sun for optimal growth, which means at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily.
Lemon trees are also sensitive to cold temperatures. So, if you’re living in a cold region, you’ll need to grow your lemon tree indoors as a potted plant with artificial lights to make up for the lack of sunlight.
3. Soil Moisture
Well-drained soil is the ideal soil for lemon trees since the plant requires moist soil. Very soggy soil is a no-no. Soggy soil doesn’t drain quickly enough nor does it retain moisture for too long.
During summer when plants get more sunlight, you’ll need to water your tree every five to seven days depending on your region’s climate. On average, give your lemon tree soil at least four to six inches of water each month.
It’s important to add fertilizer to your lemon tree soil if you want a healthy harvest. A fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium is usually ideal if your tree has no ailments.
Lemon trees hate the cold and love sunlight. While you can keep your lemon tree alive with four to five hours of sunlight daily, the optimal amount of sunlight for your lemon tree is at least six to eight hours. This is why the planting location of your tree is important. Plant it in a place where there is minimal shade and plenty of exposure to sunlight.
6. Temperature and Humidity
Lemon trees are tropical plants that thrive in warm climates. Cold weather can affect your lemon tree, so make sure to take your plants indoors if it gets too cold.
Lemon trees can grow pretty well in temperatures above 70°F (21°C). Although, at temperatures above 100°F (38°C), it might stop growing.
When it comes to humidity, this tree requires a 50% humidity level to thrive. This may be difficult to achieve indoors, so you can either use a humidity tray, spray the plant every now and then, or just give it time outside.
7. Weeds and Mulch
When growing lemons, your lemon tree soil will need to be free from grass and weeds for at least four to five feet. This is because weeds can quickly take up all the moisture and nutrients in the soil, leaving none for your lemon tree.
Adding mulch to the lemon tree soil is a great way to ensure increased soil moisture and nutrients while preventing weeds.
8. Water Drainage
Ensuring adequate drainage is a must when growing lemon trees. While using well-draining soil can help when you’re growing them in your backyard, it may not be enough for indoor plants.
If you’re growing indoor lemon trees, make sure to use pots with drainage holes in addition to a well-draining potting mix. Proper drainage can only happen when there are ample drainage holes.
9. Organic Mulch
Organic mulch is the best mulch for your lemon tree soil as it is capable of giving your plant the natural environment and nutrients that are required by your plant. One great choice of mulch is wood mulch. Since it decomposes slowly, it gives the soil a steady and continuous supply of useful nutrients over a period of time.
10. Ideal Depth
To plant your lemon tree at the right depth, you will need a hole in the soil that’s approximately 1.5 times the width of the root ball and as deep as its height. Lemon trees must be planted a bit above the depths that were used in their nursery containers. Don’t plant too deep as it can cause rot and disease.
Signs You’re Using the Wrong Soil
Yellow leaves are one of the clearest indicators of having plants with the wrong soil. This important rule applies to lemon trees as well. The yellowed leaves indicate magnesium deficiency in your lemon tree.
Root rot is usually caused by a virus that is commonly found in gardens. However, using the right kind of fertilizers, and adequate watering can easily help you prevent it.
Wrapping Up the Best Soil for Lemon Trees
Having a healthy lemon tree starts with knowing the right lemon tree soil to use. Soil that is well-draining, aerated, holds nutrients and water adequately, lightweight, and contains inorganic components will help your lemon tree thrive.
We hope this article has shown you everything you need to consider when it comes to the ideal lemon tree soil. Happy planting and may your lemon tree bear much fruit when the time for harvesting comes!
Ready for more lemon content? Next, visit our lemon trees page to discover more useful and fun information on lemon planting, growing, harvesting, cooking, and more!