How to Protect Lemon Trees From Frost


Lemon trees are highly susceptible to frost. The formation of ice crystals in their cells deprives the lemon tree's tissue of water. Signs of a frost-damaged lemon tree include dark brown or black leaves. Frost damage to lemon trees can occur when the temperature drops to 29 degrees F for 30 minutes or longer. If you live in a region that sometimes experiences frosts, protect your lemon trees using some simple methods.

Step 1

Wrap the trunk of the lemon tree from the ground level up to the lowest branches with cardboard, fiberglass insulation or corn husks. Wrap an outer cover on top of the insulating material with plastic during wet weather.

Step 2

Hang Christmas lights or 100-watt lamps in the lemon tree. The lights produce enough heat to minimize the frost damage to the tree.

Step 3

Clean the area around the tree, with as little ground cover as possible. Remove any mulch around the tree. Heat will radiate more from moist, bare soil than soil covered with mulch or other ground cover.

Step 4

Moisten the soil around the lemon tree. Moist soil retains more heat than dry soil. Run a sprinkler system slowly through the night or water the soil lightly around the tree to keep the soil moistened.

Tips and Warnings

  • Use only outdoor-approved electrical lights, fixtures and power cords in your lemon trees. Also ensure that the lights are approved for use in wet conditions. If your lemon trees have suffered from frost damage, wait until mid-spring before pruning the trees. The damaged areas will become more noticeable as the new growth appears, which will prevent accidental trimming or pruning of the healthy parts of the tree. Wait until the next year to perform a major pruning of your trees and allow them to grow back a full canopy.

Things You'll Need

  • Fiberglass insulation, cardboard or corn husks
  • Plastic sheeting, 6 mil
  • Outdoor Christmas lights
  • Outdoor clip-on 100-watt spot lights or lamps
  • Outdoor extension cords
  • Sprinkler
  • Garden hose


  • University of California: Frost Protection for Citrus and Other Subtropicals

Who Can Help

  • Meyer Lemon Tree: Lemon Tree Instructions
Keywords: lemon tree, frost protection, lemon care

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.