How to Care for a New Lemon Tree


Plant a new lemon tree with its bud union above the soil. The soil around the tree should be level or higher than the rest of the nearby garden. Don't create a basin around the tree to hold the water for irrigation, as this practice encourages root rot. Instead, build a ring around the tree trunk using soil taken from another area of the garden. Make the walls of the ring about 2 inches high and thick and about 2 feet across.

Step 1

Fill the irrigation ring with water immediately after planting. Do this gradually, and replace any soil that washes away after settling during the first watering.

Step 2

Water the tree about every three days during the first two weeks after planting by gradually filling the irrigation ring with water.

Step 3

Remove any weeds or grass growing within the circle of the irrigation ring.

Step 4

Decrease the watering intervals over the next two months until irrigation occurs once every seven to 10 days. During this time the irrigation ring will gradually dissolve. Don't rebuild it; the tree will be considered established once the ring has disappeared.

Step 5

Avoid fertilizing the lemon tree during its first year. According to Julian W. Sauls, Professor & Extension Horticulturist, one capful of ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) divided in three to four applications during the year is sufficient fertilization.

Step 6

Protect young trees from severe cold by covering the tree with a tarp or burlap.

Step 7

Bury the bud union in soil if frost is expected. This is considered a short-term strategy to protect the tree from frost. Uncover the bud union when the danger of frost is over.


  • "Vegetables and Fruits"; James Crockett; 1972
  • Texas A&M AgriLife Extension: Texas Citrus
  • University of Arizona: Protecting a Citrus Tree from Frost
Keywords: growing lemon trees, young lemon trees, lemon tree care

About this Author

Ann Johnson has been a freelance writer since 1995. She previously served as the editor of a community magazine in Southern California and was also an active real estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University of Fullerton.