The Q&A Archives: Frost Damaged Lemon Tree

Question: What can I do to save our lemon tree? It was damaged by frost this winter and I've been getting a lot of contradictory information on what to do about it. The tree isn't dead; there's new growth between the two main branches and the trunk. Do cut back the tree now or do I wait it out or what?

Answer: The branches damaged by frost will not regenerate, so prune them off. If new shoots are sprouting, the tree is trying recover. Scrape the bark of the stems and branches beginning at the tips and working your way back toward the trunk, until you find live tissue. When you uncover green tissue, cut to that point to remove the old dead wood. New shoots should develop just below the cuts. There's no point in allowing the dead stems, shoots or branches to remain on the tree. Prune them off, prune to reshape your tree, and then just give it time to recover. Next time frost threatens, try to protect the tree with some insulating material so it won't be damaged.

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