Lemon Trees

Is My Lemon Tree Dead?

skyfox added on May 11, 2011 | Answered

I moved into a house in Los Angeles last July. There is a mature lemon tree about 20' high. It did fine last summer and there was a great deal of rain this winter, but this spring I failed to water the tree (the "gardener" never did, nor told me to). Now all the leaves have curled, though they are still green, much of the fruit has turned black. Is this tree a goner? Or can I bring it back to life with watering? I have now created a small dam around the tree and have watered it heavily. Is it too late? Any suggestions to a novice citrus owner? The tree was overgrown last summer and we pruned and thinned the tree which I realize now may have been a mistake.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on May 12, 2011

If the stems and branches are still green (alive) it can recover. I will warn you that it will likely lose all of its leaves before it starts to grow new ones. This is common with citrus. They lose their leaves after watering resumes when they have been to dry for too long. Even if the tree loses its leaves, keep watering it. It will start to grow new ones shortly. Remove any fruit, healthy or otherwise from the tree as well. This will help it focus its energy on recovering from the stress.

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