If you are serious about growing a fruiting tree such as a lemon tree, using fertilizer is unavoidable. It doesn’t matter how fertile your soil is, trees need an extra source of minerals and nutrients to promote fruiting as well as flavorful taste.
The best fertilizer for the lemon tree is one that contains a high Nitrogen ratio compared to Phosphorus and Potassium (N-P-K).
What Should Lemon Tree Fertilizer Contain?
A lemon tree should contain the usual typical Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (N-P-K) components in high volume. But, in addition to this, it should also have other key nutrients in trace amounts.
To provide optimal growth, your lemon trees require high amounts of Nitrogen, an important growth mineral. If you are looking at a store-bought fertilizer, you’ll notice it has the key components (N-P-K) in a ratio. It may look like this: 4-4-4.
But naturally, lemon trees need more Nitrogen than Phosphorus and Potassium. So there would need to be a higher ‘N’ value rather than ‘P’ and ‘K’.
You will want to pick a number high enough but not exceeding eight for Nitrogen. Hence, the fertilizer ratio should never be more than 8-6-6!
Apart from these three core ingredients, lemon tree fertilizer should also contain small if not minute amounts of rare minerals. These are Zinc, Iron, Copper, Manganese, Boron. This is because the soil may naturally lack them.
The presence of these components in trace amounts is justified by the fact that they only work best when in small amounts. There is no need for them to be present in very high or even moderate doses.
Looking for a lemon tree potting mix as well? Here’s all about the best potting mix for lemon trees.
Which Is Better for Lemon Trees: Organic or Inorganic Fertilizer?
Most gardeners or occasional gardeners just want what’s good for their lemon trees. A huge part of providing the best care depends on the type of fertilizer used.
This is usually accompanied by the question of which is better; inorganic or organic fertilizer.
Well, there is no obvious answer as to which is better and every garden expert even has their own preference. Let’s take a brief look at both inorganic and organic lemon tree fertilizers.
All organic fertilizers are free of any artificial chemicals. They are completely made from organic materials which is actually a large component list.
Examples of organic materials for organic fertilizers are compost, poultry waste, earthworm castings, eggshells, grass clippings, etc.
Lemon trees (or any citrus tree) will grow and produce more fruit with better quality when you provide them with organic fertilizer.
These inorganic fertilizers are the opposite of organic fertilizers. They have a low quantity or completely lack organic materials. Instead, they have a high content of chemicals and artificial materials.
Although there will come a time when lemon trees need inorganic fertilizers, they cannot thrive on them alone. They would lack natural minerals and nutrients that lead to the excellent lemon output.
The majority of fertilizers you’ll find in stores are inorganic. A few of them are organic. To be sure your fertilizer is organic you can prepare your own using known quantities of a few items.
Did you know a lack of Nitrogen could also be one of the reasons for lemon tree leaves turning yellow?
In What Form Does Lemon Tree Fertilizer Exist?
Fertilizer for lemon trees can be bought in a variety of forms including; powder/granules, liquid, and spikes.
Which form you pick for your lemon tree is important as it influences Lemon tree growth, fruit production, cost, and speed of uptake by the tree.
This is one of the more common fertilizer options available to lemon trees enthusiasts. Powdered fertilizer can also exist as small pellets or large grains. Typically this fertilizer is applied onto the soil but is churned to mix with the soil.
Gradually these pellets will dissolve and be absorbed into the roots offering a long-time supply of nutrients or minerals. Powdered fertilizer is mostly chosen as it is economically priced and efficient.
Another form that fertilizer for lemon trees may take is the liquid form. These liquids may be ready to apply or require dilution. Most are water-soluble which facilitates and increases the rate at which lemon tree roots absorb them.
Some liquid fertilizers require dispersal over lemon tree foliage through spraying. This offers a rapid way by which nutrients and minerals can reach the places within the tree where it is required.
Lemon tree fertilizers in the form of spikes appear like a tube-shaped object which is planted into the soil near your trees.
With continued watering, the spike will slowly release minerals. This slow-release is appreciated and acts as a great time-saving option.
Unfortunately, it has a high price tag! Due to this, people growing only a few trees will find this as a realistic option!
How to Apply Fertilizer to Lemon Trees
How to apply fertilizer to lemon trees will greatly depend on the form of the fertilizer. Whether it is liquid, powder or a spike will influence the dispersal method and the amount to apply.
- Liquid Lemon Tree Fertilizer
Most liquid fertilizers are liquid-soluble. You must mix them into the water to make a less potent yet efficient solution. The packing should indicate how much fertilizer per gallon/liter of water. Sometimes gardeners growing one lemon tree require just 5 ml in 1 liter of water.
This solution is either sprayed onto the foliage or soaked into the soil surrounding the tree’s roots.
- Powder/Granular Lemon Tree Fertilizer
Powder or granular fertilizers are applied through direct application onto the soil. Start by scattering the powder or granules around the trunk. But, make sure to leave a distance of 2 inches from the trunk to avoid fertilizer burn.
Using a rake, churn the soil so that the fertilizer will mix into and combine with the soil completely. It would be of no use if it just sits on the top of the soil. Then water the soil to dissolve the fertilizer.
Once dissolved, the nutrients can find their way to the tree’s roots and can be absorbed and circulated throughout the tree.
- Fertilizer Spikes
These solid structures are put into the soil near enough to your lemon trees or perhaps even in their pot. With continuous watering, nutrients will dissolve into the soil gradually.
Tips For Fertilizing Lemon Trees
If you are new to the whole fertilizer thing, here are a few tips on what to and what not to do!
- Stick to the prescribed dosage and frequency of fertilizing. More fertilizer will not provide better results, it may result in harm to your lemon tree.
- Do not apply highly concentrated fertilizer directly onto the lemon tree (especially trunk and leaves).
- Apply fertilizer three times a year.
- Lemon trees younger than two years usually don’t require fertilizer.
- Fertilize lemon trees just before the spring season which is the growing period.
- Do not fertilize lemon trees in winter!
Best Fertilizer for Lemon Tree Online
If you look for lemon tree fertilizer on a gardening website or even Amazon and you will have many choices.
There are so many lemon trees or general-purpose fertilizers available and it’s actually your specific requirements that will help you decide on one or two!
Here are a few top-rated if not best fertilizers for a lemon tree online.
- Citrus Mix by Down to Earth (6-3-3) – Link
- Fertilizer Spikes by Jobe’s Organics (3-5-5) – Link
- Fruit Tree Fertilizer by Dr Earth (5-5-2) – Link
- Citrus Tone by Espoma (5-2-6) – Link
- All Purpose Fertilizer by J.R Peters (20-20-20) – Use carefully!
If you are sure about them, buy the smallest quantity and try it out before committing to a bigger quantity.
How to Make Homemade Lemon Tree Fertilizer?
For people growing lemon trees on a large scale or on a budget, the cost is important. So, for this reason, they may take an interest in making their own lemon tree fertilizer.
If you have all the components then it only makes sense that you make your own lemon tree fertilizer. This is what you will need:
- Grass clipping (dry and well rotted)
- Vegetable/fruit scraps (particularly banana peels)
Eggshells are actually really good for your lemon trees. Find out: Are eggshells good for lemon trees?
NOTE: Make sure any or all compost materials have undergone a year-long composting process to ensure material break-down. Ideally, this means a mixture that has been composting for a minimum of a year.
So, the key components that a lemon tree fertilizer will have is Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Fertilizer for lemon trees should be high in Nitrogen as all citrus trees are high feeders.
Besides having the typical NPK components, the best fertilizer for lemon trees should also have traces of Boron, Copper, Iron, Manganese, and Zinc.
Fertilizers could have a liquid, solid, or powder form. But, each one has a different application technique. Regardless of which fertilizer you choose, the best time for application is just before Spring starts.
Honestly, using a bit of both is good. Inorganic fertilizers may have components that organic ones don’t. But, at the same time, it is a good approach to use as much organic fertilizer as possible, preferably homemade fertilizer.
Fertilizer will result in good root growth that anchors and establishes the tree. Apart from that, it boosts foliage and flower growth. Also, this is very important seeing as the flower is the source of the lemon fruits.