Fruit trees are a great addition to any home, especially citrus trees – orange, lemon, lime, mandarin, tangerine or even grapefruit! Whatever your preference, lemon trees can provide the family with a supply of fresh fruit in season packed with vitamin C, to make hot lemon drinks, with a spoonful of honey.
The best time to plant lemon trees is in autumn and spring as citrus fruit ripens in winter. This is so trees are established before the summer heat or cool winter temperatures.
Sooty mould affects lemon trees and it is at this time of year when we start to want to pick our lovely lemons for hot lemon and ginger to ward off colds and flu.
Sooty mould is a black fungal disease that develops on the fruit, stems and leaves. It is a secondary infection as it grows on the secretions of scale insects like aphids, mealybugs and whitefly.
To treat it – wash off the soot by wiping with a strong detergent / soap solution over the lemon tree in the cooler months, starting now! It is important to wipe off the soot as it can block the sun’s light to the plant and reduce photosynthesis, which is essential for plant growth.
To prevent it – you need to deal with the pests that created the secretions – so spray the lemon tree with a insect control spray, such as Yates Success Ultra at the first sign of bugs being present. If you don’t like spraying, then an open shaped tree discourages insects, so give your lemon tree a good prune this winter to reduce the density of its branches.
Lemon trees are big feeders too, so we recommend feeding them with citrus fertiliser or a good handful of sheep pellets twice a year, spring and autumn. If you do need to prune any damaged and diseased branches, do that in the winter, when it is colder and less bugs and nasties are about.