AUTUMN CITRUS CARE
Any avid gardener is likely to have a lemon tree, or some type of citrus plant in their care. Looked after well, lemon trees will keep on giving year after year, but particular care needs to be taken as summer transitions to autumn: the days get shorter, evenings are cooler, the air is less humid, which means they need less watering, different nutrition and protection from the cold. Here are a few tips on how to look after them in the autumn months, so that you can enjoy their beautiful green foliage, fragrant blossoms and juicy fruits all year round.
ADJUST THE AMOUNT OF WATER
Lower temperatures in autumn means less evaporation and therefore citrus trees can be watered less frequently than in the summer time. If you were watering your citrus plant every day in the summer, you may be able to reduce this to 2-3 times a week. Make sure the pot is well draining, and allow the top of the soil to dry before re-watering. Take care not to overwater or let the soil become overly dry – excessive dropping of the leaves is a tell-tale sign of over or under-watering, so adjust accordingly.
POSITION THEM INDOORS
Although citrus trees are rather hardy plants, lemon trees for example can rarely survive at temperatures below -1°, -2°C. Depending on where you live, start thinking of moving your citrus plant indoors. Naturally, centrally heated rooms, or anywhere near radiators are a bad idea – they are too hot and lack humidity required for citrus plants. Any sudden changes in temperature will also make your tree drop its leaves.
GET READY TO CHANGE THE FEED FOR WINTER
Citrus trees tend to be hungry plants and need regular feeding, and as the seasons change they seek different nutrients. Autumn is the time to switch from the summer feed to a winter feed, prepared specifically for citrus plants.