Lemon tree bearing lemons, but the leaves are drooping and have lost their perk.


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Hi,

I have a in-ground lemon tree. It has mostly green leaves, with some yellowing leaves here and there. It is bearing fruit, but the leaves for a while have lost their perk. I poured fertilizer around the surface a few weeks ago (steer fertilizer) and it has not helped. It gets watered via sprinklers every 3 days for about 10 mins each time.

Can someone help me, I have no idea what else I could be doing wrong. I can share pictures if needed.
 
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You are not watering near enough. 10 minutes on a sprinkler might be 1/4 inch and that is not even close to being enough to get down to the roots. Sprinklers are for grass not trees. Figure out a way to SATURATE ALL OF THE SOIL beneath the canopy. The best way would be to set up a drip system but you can get by with a soaker hose. I also see signs of nutrient deficiency. Whether micro or macro nutrients I cannot say for sure but I would fertilize with a good organic fertilizer such as Espoma and I would also apply micro-nutrients in the form of GreenSand or Liquid Seaweed. Water slowly and very deeply. When the surface of the soil is DRY for about 2 inches deep water again. Place about 3 inches of mulch around the base of the tree out to the drip line to help conserve water
 
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You are not watering near enough. 10 minutes on a sprinkler might be 1/4 inch and that is not even close to being enough to get down to the roots. Sprinklers are for grass not trees. Figure out a way to SATURATE ALL OF THE SOIL beneath the canopy. The best way would be to set up a drip system but you can get by with a soaker hose. I also see signs of nutrient deficiency. Whether micro or macro nutrients I cannot say for sure but I would fertilize with a good organic fertilizer such as Espoma and I would also apply micro-nutrients in the form of GreenSand or Liquid Seaweed. Water slowly and very deeply. When the surface of the soil is DRY for about 2 inches deep water again. Place about 3 inches of mulch around the base of the tree out to the drip line to help conserve water

Thank you for the help!

How much water does an In ground lemon tree need?

I do believe there is also some type of drip system that goes along with the sprinklers. I can isolate that station from 10 mins to something higher. Maybe 30? And increase it from 3 times a week to 5 a week.

Thank you for the fertilizer recommendation. I wasn’t even sure if I fertilized it correctly by just laying it on top or if I had to work it into the soil.
 
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On an inground plant watering often is not a good thing. It is much much better to thoroughly water a plant once than it is to water a plant slightly numerous times. You will never hurt a plant by watering too much at one time but you can and will kill a plant by watering too often. It is not the water that is harmful, it is the lack of oxygen. But, in your case, it is not putting enough volume of water down. There is no way to say just how much water a plant needs as all soils, climates, weather etc. are different but a good rule of thumb is to keep the soil slightly damp below the surface of the soil. A trees feeder roots will extend out to and a little beyond the drip line of the tree and extend downward for an unknown distance, sometimes many feet. All of this soil should be kept slightly damp. One cannot know how moist the soil is a foot or two deep but he can know how moist the soil is two or three inches deep and keeping this top layer damp is the key. You do not have to work your fertilizer into the soil. Just laying it on the surface and watering it in is sufficient.

This is what I would do in your situation. Fertilize first. Then lay down about 3 inches of hardwood mulch under the tree out fairly close to the dripline. Get 3 or 4 tuna cans or cat food cans and place them under your tree at different locations. Turn on your sprinkler and time how long it takes to fill up all of the cans. Water this amount of time about every week or 10 days. To make sure the tree needs watering just pull back the mulch and feel the soil. If it is dry water again as before. If moist wait until the soil is dry to water again.
 
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Yes, deep and infrequent is the best watering schedule for citrus (most plants really). Wait until March or April to feed with any kind of Nitrogen, unless you're real close to the coast. As a guide, the commercial growers here in Riverside trench water for 24 hours once a month. Even in the summer. Not so much in the winter - if it decides to rain.
 
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On an inground plant watering often is not a good thing. It is much much better to thoroughly water a plant once than it is to water a plant slightly numerous times. You will never hurt a plant by watering too much at one time but you can and will kill a plant by watering too often. It is not the water that is harmful, it is the lack of oxygen. But, in your case, it is not putting enough volume of water down. There is no way to say just how much water a plant needs as all soils, climates, weather etc. are different but a good rule of thumb is to keep the soil slightly damp below the surface of the soil. A trees feeder roots will extend out to and a little beyond the drip line of the tree and extend downward for an unknown distance, sometimes many feet. All of this soil should be kept slightly damp. One cannot know how moist the soil is a foot or two deep but he can know how moist the soil is two or three inches deep and keeping this top layer damp is the key. You do not have to work your fertilizer into the soil. Just laying it on the surface and watering it in is sufficient.

This is what I would do in your situation. Fertilize first. Then lay down about 3 inches of hardwood mulch under the tree out fairly close to the dripline. Get 3 or 4 tuna cans or cat food cans and place them under your tree at different locations. Turn on your sprinkler and time how long it takes to fill up all of the cans. Water this amount of time about every week or 10 days. To make sure the tree needs watering just pull back the mulch and feel the soil. If it is dry water again as before. If moist wait until the soil is dry to water again.

Thank you for your advice. My lemon tree is looking a lot healthier and the leaves have perked back up!
 

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