Q&As/Citrus/Planting Lemon Trees

Question

We’ve recently bought a house and for our joint birthday, bought a variety of plants for the garden, one of which is a lemon tree. Where would be the best place to plant it as we’ve been told by several people that it is quite a difficult thing to grow in Dunedin.

Answer

Citrus are frost tender and do need to be protected when grown in colder climates. As the tree matures it will become more resistant to mild frosts, however the risk will always remain if there is a particularly heavy frost or snow. 

Hopefully you have purchased a Meyer Lemon (dwarf variety) which means you can grow it in a container or in the ground. In a container, you can move it into a warmer site when there is a strong threat of frost/snow. Choose a large container and fill it with Daltons Premium Container Mix and plant the lemon tree.  

To plant in the ground, choose a well drained north facing position that’s well sheltered from cold south-westerly winds. Prepare the soil before planting by digging in plenty of compost into your existing soil, and then plant your tree.  

Build a framework with wooden stakes around the young tree so a frost cloth or hessian sacking can be attached when you expect temperatures will drop (from late May until September).

Citrus are gross feeders; apply side dressings of Daltons incredible edibles® Citrus Fertiliser every 6 weeks from early November until Christmas, then late February through until April. It is important to fertilise your tree so it develops a strong framework on which your lemons will grow.

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