Yellow leaves on the lemon tree: causes and how to save it

The lemon tree is one of the most popular fruit trees to have in land, gardens and even in large pots, because it is not a too demanding tree in its care and its fruits are highly appreciated for their acid taste and their properties for health and other uses.

However, it may happen that one day we find our lemon tree with yellow leaves. This can be due to several reasons and it is very important to learn to identify them and know how to respond to them in time. If you want to learn the answers to questions such as why the lemon tree leaves turn yellow and how to cure a lemon tree with yellow leaves, join us in this Green Ecology article where you will see a guide on the causes of yellow leaves in the lemon tree and how to save it.

Yellow leaves due to lack of nitrogen

If your lemon tree shows chlorosis on the leaves , that is, they turn yellow due to a lack of chlorophyll and this affects the oldest branches first and spreads to the younger ones, we are facing a case of chlorosis due to a lack of nitrogen .

Nitrogen, or N, is one of the main nutrients for the lemon tree. Without it, they cannot grow or develop properly and it is an especially essential nutrient for flowering plants and fruit trees.

Pay special attention to how chlorosis progresses, it is important to be able to identify it. It will only be due to a lack of nitrogen if it appears first on the older leaves and progresses to the new ones, if not, it may be due to other causes.

You can remedy this problem by applying a specific citrus compost to the lemon tree, or simply adding nitrogen-rich organic fertilizer on a regular basis, such as worm castings or bokashi.

Yellow leaves on the lemon tree: causes and how to save it - Yellow leaves due to lack of nitrogen

Yellow leaves due to lack of zinc

Contrary to what happens with a lack of nitrogen, if you have a lemon tree with yellow and wrinkled leaves and this begins in the new leaves and spreads to the old ones, it will surely be a lack of zinc , another micronutrient that your plant needs. .

This can also affect new shoots, which will already appear yellow and dwarfed on their newly formed leaves. Usually, the yellow color will only affect the spaces between the leaf veins, the latter preserving their common green, although in very severe cases even the veins will turn yellow.

In the case of a lack of zinc, in addition, we will also see necrosis spots on the edges of the blade, which will ensure that this is the problem.

Yellow leaves on the lemon tree: causes and how to save it - Yellow leaves due to lack of zinc

Yellow leaves due to lack of iron or excess moisture

In the case of a lack of iron , the yellowing will also affect the new leaves first and will spread towards the older ones, although without necrosis spots or the appearance of dwarfism. The clearest peculiarity of iron deficiency is that it begins in the veins and, when severe, the leaves will turn a yellow almost white, so much so that the leaf veins will be almost impossible to discern.

This problem can occur, both due to the lack of iron in the soil, as well as because the irrigation has been excessive or the drainage very bad and the roots, drowned, are unable to absorb the element from the soil. It will be necessary to improve the drainage, space the waterings or apply iron for the lemon tree in the fertilizer.

Yellow leaves on the lemon tree due to lack of manganese

Unlike the nutrients mentioned before, the lack of manganese is identified in the lemon tree with the dry and yellow leaves because the yellowing does not occur throughout the entire leaf, if not in an irregular, almost mottled shape. That is, we find yellow spots on lemon tree leaves .

Chlorosis appears in new shoots and progresses to old ones, but dwarfism does not appear. It is common for this to appear naturally to some degree in winter, and that with the arrival of the warmer months it disappears without problems. Only when it is a serious lack of this element will it be necessary to intervene.

How to save a lemon tree with yellow leaves

The treatment for the yellow leaves of the lemon tree will depend entirely on which of the causes listed above we are facing. Most of them go through applying the tree a suitable fertilizer that supplies those nutrient needs it has. In addition, the fertilizer does not have to be chemical. There are a large number of ecological fertilizers that you can make yourself, for very little money, and that will supply the nitrogen, manganese, iron or zinc needs of your tree without problems.

The case of lack of iron due to poor drainage is the most complicated when it comes to adult lemon trees, since transplanting a large tree is practically unfeasible or very expensive. Do everything possible to improve soil drainage and avoid waterlogging in the area at all costs, spacing waterings if necessary. If the lemon tree leaves are yellow and fall off even after doing this, you probably have to consider that the cause is something else and not what you thought and consider other methods.

Yellow leaves on the lemon tree: causes and how to save it - How to save a lemon tree with yellow leaves

How to prevent yellow lemon leaves

The diseases of the lemon tree are much easier to prevent than to treat, especially in the case of those dependent on the ground. These are some tips to prevent the yellow leaves of the lemon tree and, in general, the diseases of these citrus fruits:

  • Make sure to locate your tree in an area with the best possible drainage and that is sunny.
  • You can water the area abundantly before planting it and notice where the water puddles or accumulates and where it does not. The point where the stagnant water does not remain will be the best area. 
  • Regarding nutrients, fertilize your fruit tree regularly and add organic matter to the soil in the warm months in the form of worm castings or compost.

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