The Q&A Archives: Dying lemon tree

Question: I just purchased a home and hired 2 people to cut the weeds in the backyard - one of them took it upon herself to break the branches off the lemon tree, literally pulling off the bark and called it pruning. Now the tree is all wilting. WHat can I do to revive my lemon tree?

Answer: Broken branches and zagged bark can be entrances for insect and disease problems so if possible have someone recut the tree so all of the cuts are smooth and at a 45 degree angle so water doesn't pool in the cuts. One problem associated with pruning in the summertime is that when you remove branches you also remove the leaves that were providing shade to other tree parts. Sunburn often results and wilting is common with sunburned leaves. Finally, removing more than a third of the live plant material in any one pruning session can really stress a tree. The leaves produce and transport carbohydrates through the process called photosynthesis. Without leaves, the process is slowed - and possibly stopped, which will also stress a tree. In addition to having the damage minimalized by having the pruning cuts recut, you'll want to water your tree deeply once a week. Time will tell just how soon your tree will recover. Let's hope for the best!

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