Pruning the dwarf lisbon lemon tree - Knowledgebase Question

Issaquah, WA
Question by Kirkendall_K
July 18, 2005
I am curious on how and when to prune my dwarf lisbon lemon tree, to ensure proper fruit growth and the health of my tree? It is in the pot that I bought it in, and will be indoors during the winter months and outside when warm. It is also angled towards one side; should I use a stick in the pot to tie it to so that it can grow more verticle? Actually, any advise you might have for this type of plant would be greatly appreciated! Thank you

Answer from NGA
July 18, 2005


You can prune your tree in winter or in spring to control the size, but you'll lose some fruit production until it develops new branches. You can stake your tree to keep it more upright. The Meyer Lemon Tree is a hardy variety and the best lemon tree for sub-tropical climates, but it is also perfectly adapted to containering growing (and wintering indoors in cold winter climates). In true fact, the Meyer Lemon is not actually a real lemon but a cross between a lemon, a type of orange and a mandarin. While it retains most of the characteristics of a lemon, it has a bit less acidity, less bitterness, more sweetness and thinner skin. The skin of the Meyer Lemon lacks the typical zest of a real lemon. It has gained favor because it bears a heavy crop and it is a relatively hardy plant, as far as citrus goes.

Here are some guidelines for success: Performs best with full sun (at least 8 hours per day); Regular water with well dranined soil; No wet feet; Hardy to 25 degrees farenheit; Can grow in a pot to restrict size or in areas that can suffer a heavy freeze; Grows to 15 feet tall and wide or larger if planted in the ground. Sandy, well-drained, dry, alkaline soil works best; Tolerates acidic soil if necessary. Low salt tolerance. Rounded growth habit; Medium rate of growth. The Meyer Lemon bears heavily when mature. Its crop size increases as the plant matures. It may bear 10 or more lemons even at 3 years of age. The fruit is green in color until it matures. When mature on the tree, the Meyer Lemon changes to a yellow-orange color. That will take longer than you expect. The main crop matures in the summer. In a tropical climate, the Meyer Lemon Tree can bear fruit nearly all year long. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy wet. After 3 or 4 years in a pot, you need to replace the soil since it will be exhausted of nutrients. You can either replant into a larger pot or cut away some of the outer roots with a sharp, strong knife and replant in the same pot but with fresh soil. Give your tree bright light (some direct sunshine is beneficial), and take it outdoors when the weather warms in the spring. As evening temperatures get cool (about 50F), take your tree back indoors for the winter months. Enjoy your tree!

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