Anyone for a G&T? Don't you just love Lemons? They look good, smell wonderful, taste fabulous and offer so much as a garden plant with aesthetic, medicinal and culinary properties. Once your Lemon trees are established you will find that they will provide you with fruit for most of the year. This is particularly so with the hardy Meyer Lemon which is a prolific croper with mature fruit holding well whilst the new fruit is developing. If you are looking for a strongly acidic lemon then "Eureka" may be the one for you. The other bonus with "Eureka" is that the tree is virtually thornless and the fruit virtually seedless. For a milder flavour choose the hybrid "Lemonade".
Lemons do need some pampering at first however, and for just a little effort you will be well rewarded. First you need to know that Lemons are gross feeders. What that means is that like me they enjoy their tucker. Unlike me they only have to be fed twice a year, early spring and early autumn. It is best to use a specially formulated Citrus food which is readily available. I also throw a few sheep pellets around the base of my Lemon trees a few times a year.
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The second most important requirement for Lemons or any Citrus is that they must be well watered during dry periods. If you are growing in a container then regular watering (every day in summer) is essential. If you don't water regularly then the young fruit will drop off the tree and the older maturing fruit will dry out and become pithy. Thirdly Lemons must be protected from harsh frost when young. Do this by placing a cover around or over the plant when frosts are forecast. Remember to remove the cover in the morning. If you live in a particularly frosty area leave planting any new trees until late spring. Lemons will do their best in a fertile well drained soil.
You can prune Lemons at any time but really the most convenient time is when you are picking the fruit. Never pull the fruit off, always cut off with a sharp pair of secateurs. Cut back as far as you like to a new growth joint or shoot. Lemons flower in spring and the flowers are bi-sexual and therefore self pollinating, saving them all those complicated relationship problems! The perfume is quite strong and will waft sensuously through garden. Lemons do have the odd pest and disease problem but these are usually easily dealt with. Keeping them hapy and healthy is the best remedy and they in turn will do the same for you.