How to Revive a Dying Lemon Tree

How to Revive a Dying Lemon Tree

Lemon trees typically die as a result of overwatering, freezing weather, or transplant shock after being brought indoors. Lemon tree leaves that are overwatered droop, turn yellow, and look to be dying. Temperatures lower than 50°F or transplant shock are the causes of a dying lemon tree that has lost its leaves.

Due to fertilizer deficiency or drought stress, lemon tree leaves may bend inward.

Continue reading to learn the causes of a lemon tree’s yellowing, drooping, dropping off, or curling inwards leaves as well as how to apply the remedies to save your dying lemon tree.

Lemon Tree Leaves Turning Yellow

  • Symptoms. Lemon tree with leaves dropping and become yellow.
  • Causes. overwatering, poorly draining soils, famine, insufficient sunlight, and cold temperatures.

Overwatering or freezing temperatures are typically to blame for lemon tree leaves turning yellow. Lemon trees cannot withstand temperatures below 50°F and need well-draining soil. Lemon trees may experience root rot, which causes the leaves to turn yellow and appear to be withering, if the soil becomes soggy as a result of excessive watering or poor drainage.

Lemon trees are indigenous to Mediterranean regions, where they grow best in full sun (more than 6 hours of direct sunlight per day), mild temperatures, and well-draining soil that somewhat dries out between waterings.

Lemon trees are vulnerable to root rot, which results in yellowing and drooping leaves that give the illusion of being dying, if the roots are placed in regularly saturated soil, which can come from:

  • Overwatering.
  • sluggish drained soils (clay soils drain too slowly for lemon trees).
  • Lack of drainage holes in the base of the pots, which causes water to collect around the roots.
  • pots with trays and saucers underneath that collect water and obstruct the soil’s ability to drain.

It’s not always a sign of developing root rot when the leaves are just beginning to turn yellow.

However, too much water in the soil prevents oxygen from reaching the soil, which interferes with roots’ capacity to effectively absorb moisture and nutrients and limits root respiration.

The leaves become yellow, droop, and may even fall off if the roots are unable to draw up water and nutrients.

Additionally, dehydration and nutrient deficiency affect potted lemon trees more frequently, especially if the pot is tiny since it dries out more rapidly in the summer sun and has a lesser capacity for nutrients, which causes the leaves to become yellow.

As long as they have access to moisture, lemon trees can often withstand high temperatures, however at temperatures of about or below 50°F (10°C), the leaves of lemon trees can turn yellow and typically fall off.

Lemon trees are typically preserved after brief exposure to cold because they are native to regions with warm winters. However, the lemon tree typically dies back in frigid weather.

How to Revive Dying Lemon Trees with Yellow Leaves

  • Reduce watering until the top two inches of the soil feel a little dry to the touch, and then water liberally. The best soil moisture balance for lemon trees to grow is achieved by letting the soil completely dry up before giving it a good soaking. As a result, the roots are able to pull up moisture and nutrients to resuscitate the wilting leaves.
  • Make sure the soil is supplemented with horticultural grit and has good drainage for the lemon tree. The Mediterranean region has slightly rocky or sandy soil, which promotes good drainage and is ideal for growing lemon trees. It’s crucial to duplicate these conditions by adding between 1/3 and 2/3 compost to the planting area or pot. If your garden soil is naturally soggy and slow to drain that it goes against the conditions that lemon trees love, I advise moving the tree to a pot or another part of the garden with improved drainage and amending the soil with grit.
  • Lemon trees that are in pots need to have drainage holes at the bottom, and any saucers or trays need to be cleaned out frequently. A dying lemon tree needs well-draining conditions to be revived, so make sure the drainage holes are free of any compacted soil and avoid letting too much water collect at the bottom of the lemon tree’s pot because this makes the soil too wet. To allow water to drain from the base more freely, it is ideal to position lemon tree pots on feet or bricks.
  • Lemon trees must always be planted in full light. The leaves of your lemon tree fall off and the tree withers in excessive shade. If your lemon tree is being shaded by any overhanging tree limbs, trim them back or move the lemon tree to the garden area that receives the most sunlight.
  • During the summer, fertilize lemon trees in pots. Particularly in containers, the roots of lemon trees can deplete the soil of nutrients, causing the leaves to turn yellow. Use a specific citrus fertilizer once a month in the spring and summer that encourages fruiting and has all the nutrients needed for your lemon tree to flourish. This will prevent yellowing leaves.
  • If temperatures fall below 50°F (10°C), cover lemon trees with fleece or bring them inside. Since lemon trees like a mild winter and cannot withstand extreme cold, it is best to grow them in pots indoors during the winter to protect them from the elements and prevent their leaves from turning yellow and withering. Horticultural fleece, which insulates against cold temperatures, can be used to safeguard your lemon tree if it is planted outdoors or if bringing the pot within is impractical. Lemon trees can come back to life after a brief cold exposure, but prolonged or severe cold frequently causes the lemon tree to die back.

Once the environmental factors that caused the leaves to turn yellow have been addressed, the yellow leaves can be revived or they can drop off, in which case new growth may appear during the Spring and Summer if the conditions are right.

(Read my post on how to water lemon trees to find out how frequently to water your lemon tree based on the weather and conditions where you live.)

Lemon Tree Losing Leaves

  • Symptoms. Lemon tree leaves are fading, withering, and falling off. Leaves can suddenly start to fall, especially if they are brought inside for the winter.
  • Causes. Overwatering, drought, insufficient light, excessive wind, chilly temperatures, and transplant shock after being brought indoors

Lemon trees lose their leaves as a result of drought and excessive wind drying the foliage, which causes the leaves to fall. Because of the contrast in light, temperature, humidity, and watering when indoor lemon trees are brought indoors, they quickly lose their leaves.

Lemon trees typically lose their leaves abruptly when the temperature drops below 50°F (10°C) or when they are brought indoors for protection during the winter.

Lemon trees are able to adapt to a variety of environmental factors outside, including temperature, humidity, light, and rainfall cycles.

The lemon tree must adjust to the indoor temperature fluctuations, which can be cooler during the day and warmer at night due to internal heating, since they do not get as much light or air circulation and the air is much less humid, which dries up the leaves (which is the opposite temperature cycle they experience outdoors).

All these elements may cause the lemon tree to dry up much more quickly, causing the leaves to at first wilt before dropping as a result of shock at the sudden shift in weather.

If the lemon tree is outside, excessive wind can rob it of too much moisture, which causes the leaves to lose too much moisture and drop, resulting in the lemon tree withering back.

The leaves might fall off for a variety of reasons, including decreased light levels and dry soil.

How to Revive a Dying Lemon Tree Losing its Leaves

How to Revive a Dying Lemon Tree Losing its Leaves

If the lemon tree’s leaves have all fallen off after being brought indoors, adjust the interior conditions so that the lemon tree can recover (more light, humidity and keep away from sources of heat).

The lemon tree can adapt to its new environment as long as the conditions are improved, and the leaves can regenerate with new growth more likely to appear in the spring and summer.

Lemon Tree Leaves Curling

  • Symptoms. Lemon tree leaves that are perhaps sagging downward and curling inward.
  • Causes. most frequently linked to excessive wind or drought stress. Small pots, poor soil nutrition, and aphid infestations may all play a role.

Too much wind or dry soil are the usual causes of curled lemon tree leaves. Lemon tree leaves curl inward to lower their surface area, which helps to save moisture, if there is not enough moisture around the roots or if it is excessively windy (which dries out the leaves).

Lemon trees require a soil with good drainage, lots of organic matter (compost), and a structure that allows excess water to drain away from the roots, keeping the soil from being saturated with water.

The leaves will curl inward to conserve moisture if the soil dries up too soon, which is a drought-resistance mechanism and a symptom of stress.

This happens more frequently with lemon trees that are in pots because soil in pots dries out more quickly than soil in gardens, especially if the pot is too tiny. Smaller pots also have less soil capacity, which reduces their ability to hold moisture.

However, any lemon tree under drought stress will experience curled leaves. Additionally, wind causes the leaves to curl by removing moisture from them faster than it can be absorbed at the roots.

The roots of the lemon tree may exhaust the soil’s supply of nutrients if it is planted in poor soil or has been kept in the same container for an extended period of time without fertilizer, which will result in the leaves curling and turning yellow.

The growing season can also be affected by aphid infestations because they cause the leaves to curl in the spring by sucking sap from the young, delicate leaves and stems.

How to Revive a Dying Lemon Tree with Curling Leaves

  • Always water deeply in the spring and summer so that extra water can drain out of the pot’s base. By doing this, you can prevent the soil from drying up unevenly and the leaves from curling due to drought stress. When plants are watered too sparingly, the top inch or two of soil becomes damp and the water does not go to the roots where it is needed.
  • When the top two inches of your lemon tree start to dry out, give it a good watering. Establish the proper watering schedule for your lemon tree based on the environment by touching the soil’s moisture to determine when the top two inches of soil start to dry up. This aids in determining the ideal watering schedule so that the lemon tree receives just the right amount of moisture to prevent leaf curling while also allowing the soil to drain well enough to prevent root rot.
  • To absorb excessive wind, construct a wind break. If your lemon tree is in a pot, you can move the pot to a more protected location to assist the tree retain more moisture and prevent the leaves from curling due to wind by planting large shrubs or trees nearby.
  • Lemon trees in pots should be replanted in pots of a larger size. Repot your lemon tree if the pot is too small in relation to the size of the tree or if you observe that the roots appear to be confined to the pot. In order to rejuvenate the curled, drought-stressed leaves, a larger pot can hold more soil and consequently be able to retain more hydration.
  • Use a particular citrus fertilizer in the Spring and Summer to supply nutrients to the soil. In order to promote flowering and fruiting, as well as to provide the proper balance of nutrients to support the healthy growth of the lemon tree and address the nutrient deficit in the soil that is causing the leaves to curl, fertilizer is beneficial for lemon trees that are both planted in garden soil and those that are grown in pots.
  • To recover curled leaves, swiftly deal with aphid infestations. The best method for dealing with an aphid infestation is to personally disrupt the insects. When you disrupt the aphids, it not only solves the issue fast but also triggers the aphid colony to release an alarm response pheromone that attracts ladybugs and other natural predators, rebalancing the aphid population to lessen their impact on your lemon trees. In the spring and summer, aphids target new growth most frequently.

Make sure the roots have appropriate access to moisture and are shielded from drying winds in order to resuscitate a lemon tree with curling, fading leaves. The lemon tree has adequate nutrients, thanks to fertilizer applications in the spring and summer, for the leaves to grow healthily rather than curl inward.

If drought stress is the root of the leaf curling, the lemon tree should begin to recover in the coming days, whereas the lemon tree should suffer from a nutrient shortfall in the coming weeks.

Key Takeaways:


Will my lemon tree leaves grow back?

When lemon trees are protected from temperatures below 50° F (10°C), irrigated once each week with a generous soak, and misted with water on the surviving leaves, they can renew their leaves.

How do you save an overwatered lemon tree?

Lemon trees that receive too much water seem unhealthy and ugly. Your lemon tree’s leaves, fruit, and root system are all impacted by too much water, which slows the plant’s pace of growth. Repot the plant in a terra cotta container with a well-draining soil mixture to conserve it, and water it only when the top two inches of the soil become dry.

Is Epsom salt good for lemon trees?

Epsom salt, which is a kind of magnesium, is a practical and efficient soil supplement for treating lemon tree magnesium shortage. Your lemon tree needs adequate magnesium to survive and continue to bear fruit for many years.

How do I know if my lemon tree has root rot?

Signs and Symptoms of rot rot consist of diminished vigor, dull-green leaves, inadequate new growth, and twig dieback. The leaves on the tree will abruptly droop and dry if there is significant root damage. The disease typically begins in larger roots before moving towards the crown. The whole of a plant’s above-ground components, including its stems, leaves, and reproductive organs, is referred to as its “crown.” A plant community canopy is made up of one or more plant crowns that are present in a specific location. Wikipedia: (botany) Wikipedia: Crown (botany).

How do you revive a dying lemon tree?

Recreate the climate of a dying lemon tree’s natural Mediterranean region by providing full light, wet soil with adequate drainage, wind protection, and specific citrus fertilizer to guarantee the it has the nutrients it needs.