Lemon trees inspire thoughts of warm breezes and exotic, tropical vacations, but if you live in a sunny climate that isn’t subject to freezing during the winter, you’ll have no problem bringing that tropical feeling to your home garden. Once it reaches maturity, the lemon tree will provide not only bright yellow fruit, but blossoms that will fill the air with a sweet scent. Lemon trees can grow as tall as 20 to 30 feet, and at 15 feet wide, will provide welcome shade on warm days.
Purchase a young lemon tree from a greenhouse or nursery. Choose a sunny place with enough space to accommodate the tree as it grows to maturity. If you have a small yard, consider purchasing a dwarf variety.
Fill a bucket with water and put the lemon tree in the bucket so the roots can soak. While the roots are soaking, dig a hole slightly less than the height of the root system and at least twice as wide.
Set the lemon tree in the hole with the top of the root system slightly above ground. Make sure the tree is standing straight, and then refill the hole with soil. Tamp the soil down as you go to remove any air pockets.
Water the tree deeply, and then spread a layer of mulch around the tree to help keep moisture in. Use an organic mulch such as peat moss or leaves, but don’t let the mulch touch the trunk of the lemon tree, because damp mulch can cause the bark of the tree to rot.
Water the tree deeply once each week. Shallow watering will cause the tree to develop a shallow root system, resulting in a smaller, less healthy tree.