Fruit and Vegetables

Lemon on the terrace crumpled leaves


Question: lemon on the terrace


I have had a lemon for some years; this year in the winter months I sheltered the plant by covering it with a cloth that is used to protect crops like for example the strawberry, since it was very cold. The lemon now comes with all the crumpled leaves but the plant is alive so I ask you: how should I intervene? Can I prune so as to remove the leaves and restore vitality to my lemon?
Waiting for your advice ... Best regards!

Answer: lemon on the terrace



Dear Marina,
most of the plants during the winter go through a period of semi vegetative rest, or even of complete vegetative rest, during which it does not produce new shoots, does not bloom, does not bear fruit and does not ripen from those already present in autumn. In practice, all or almost all the plants that are grown in the garden in Italy have a sort of winter vegetative rest; the plants know when to enter this phase, based on the minimum temperatures, or on the hours of sunshine available.
For this reason we are used to scarcely interested in the problems of cultivation of our plants kept outside, since usually in the cold season they should not be cultivated, we simply wait for the winter to end, and in spring we resume with the usual cultivation treatments; and this also happens for many evergreen plants, such as oleander or laurel, which in winter remain outdoors, exposed to the elements, without the need for watering, fertilizing, pruning and so on.
The lemon is always a green plant, and has a very particular biological cycle, it is often called four seasons; this is because the lemon trees never have a real period of vegetative rest, and very often in winter they bloom, or bear fruit in full ripeness; for this reason it is not possible to repair our lemons in a corner and forget that they exist until spring. Even in winter they need watering, when the soil is dry, and fertilizing.
If we live in an area with mild winters, we can leave the plant completely exposed to the elements, and winter rains will give the plant all the water it needs. If, on the other hand, where we live the winter is very rigid, we will be forced to repair the plant, trying, however, to leave it in the sun and rain water; we will watch over the soil contained in the vase: if it dries up excessively, we water.
Therefore, your lemon plant suffered because it received few waterings, or perhaps because the cold was so intense that it slightly ruined the foliage; as you have decided to do, it is convenient to shorten all the branches of the plant, to remove most of the ruined foliage, from drought and cold, so as to favor the development of new shoots and new leaves.
Obviously, in addition to discovering the plant and pruning it, start again with watering, to be supplied only when the soil is dry, and every 15 days mixes a specific fertilizer for citrus fruits with the water of the waterings.

Lemon on the terrace crumpled leaves: Repotting of the lemon



Repotting is an operation that surely could do well for your lemon tree. Repotting consists in replacing the plant pot with a larger pot by adding fresh soil to give new vigor to its growth. If the lemon plant has already reached an important size, the repotting can also be done with a pot of similar size but the important thing is to renew the soil.
To repot the lemon it is important to get some suitable citrus soil, available in any nursery or garden center. This type of soil is specially calibrated in nutrients and citrus fruit structure and will allow your plant to recover quickly.
When carrying out the repotting, try not to touch the ground bread of the plant once you have extracted it from its pot and do your best to reposition it in the new pot without altering its compactness. The roots of the plant over time have developed an equilibrium of their own which is always advisable not to alter, and in particular it is necessary to prevent the rootlets (the smaller roots, almost invisible, but responsible for most of the absorption of nutrients) from being ruined. or break during operations.
Another very important trick to take during repotting is to not place the lemon plant too low in the pot, or with the plant's collar too below the level of the ridge of the pot. It is very important that the plant remains high in the pot to avoid water stagnation that could negatively affect the development and health of the plant.