Suckers on Lemon TreesSuckers on Lemon Trees

Suckers on Lemon trees are small tree sprouts at the core of a lemon tree. You can glimpse a strange-looking branch growing low on the tree shaft.

Sometimes suckers on lemon trees grow from the roots of a tree, come out of the core, and around the tree. 

Suckers are more common in fruit trees.

Suckers on lemon trees develop because your lemon tree is too shallow.

But building up a soil bed and mulch around the lemon tree helps you determine whether your tree is too shallow.

On the other hand, suckers on lemon trees come when new shoots grow when you cut the layer under the bark.

This growth happens when you use trimmers, towels, mowers, and shovels in the root area and damage.

Lemon tree Suckers also grow from the trunk of the tree below a graft union.

Since some lemon trees are out of grafting of a more hardy and resistant rootstock, suckers develop under the grafting line. 

How to remove suckers on lemon trees?

You need to remove these suckers by cutting or snipping them off a lemon tree

You should remove any suckers which grow below your lemon tree graft union. The shoots proliferate and steal nutrients from the lemon fruit tree. 

They have thornier branches and do not produce the same fruit as the original graft lemon tree.

If you ignore suckers, they grow hastily and take over your lemon tree.

1. Cut suckers on lemon trees

Removing lemon suckers is very easy because you can use the hand cutting method. Cut them off the tree, and if the lemon suckers are coming directly from the roots, you can control them by trimming.

2. Use Chemical products to get rid of suckers on lemon trees

There are chemical products to use, which you can purchase from garden centers or hardware stores. The chemicals will help in doing away with the lemon tree suckers.

But keep in mind that lemon trees are susceptible to chemicals that could damage the fruit tree and so you could be better off using the hand method.

3. Snip suckers on lemon trees to the branch

Lemon tree suckers that grow from the tree trunk need snipping them back to the branch collar using sharp and sterile pruners.

Dig deep down around the tree and find the base of the sucker to remove it.

Some scholars believe you should snap off the suckers instead of cutting them off. 

But whether you choose to cut suckers off or snip them, all you need to ensure is to do away with them as soon as you spot them.

Lemon tree pruning

Lemon tree pruning

Lemon trees need pruning to improve the branch set, reduce the tree breaking chances due to heavy branches and fruits, improve access to light, and enhance the aeration.

Pruning a tree also helps improve the quality of its fruits and have the tree produce healthy fruits.

Pruning will help your lemon tree not break because of too much weight from heavy branches and fruits.

You can prune a lemon tree periodically because you do not have to cut back the tree.

These tree fruits all year round because you might unknowingly cut off buds to produce fruits.

Prune out any crossing, weak, dead limbs and woods plus any sprouts off both young and mature lemon trees to give it a new fresh look to have a healthy growth.

Lemons also need enough light penetration, so you need to cut off overgrown branches that obstruct the tree from accessing enough light.

How to Prune a Lemon Tree

1. Use sharp shears

When pruning a lemon tree, use powerful and clean pruning shears or sows while cutting back the tree.

Remember to wear gloves since these trees are thorny. A neat tool is to prevent any disease infection to the tree.

The tree’s bark is thin and easy to damage, much as the tree’s wood is vital, so you need to be careful not to damage the crust.

2. Make an angled cut

Start by cutting 10-12 inches out of the branch union.

Make an undercut ⅓ way through the branch from the other side. Then you can move a few inches upwards the length and cut the stem from above.

3. Prune the tree in its first or second year

You should only prune a lemon tree occasionally and target to do it in its early stages of growth to train the tree how you wish it to evolve.

Keep the tree 8-10 feet tall to make it easy for you during caring for it and harvest time. Please don’t cut off healthy branches during pruning.

Even when you are pruning a container lemon tree, the process is still the same; you need to remove weak, crossing, and dying sprouts and limbs.

Trimming lemon tree roots

Remove weak roots before re-potting a lemon tree

Trimming of lemon tree roots is most times necessary when re-potting or transplanting the plant.

When you want to re-pot a lemon tree, trimming its roots is one thing you shouldn’t miss while pruning the top of the tree.

Trimming the roots of a tree helps remove the old seeds and rejuvenate the lemon plant to get new growth.

1. De-pot the lemon tree plant

Remove your plant from its container at least ⅓ of the root mass using a saw. Remove all the soil and trim the old roots from the wedge-shaped areas around the bases and leave some origins. 

It would help cut the roots but not smash and hack them to use a small hand rake for trimming.

2. Put back the tree in the container.

After clearing some of the lemon tree roots by trimming them off, put new soil into the pot before placing the tree back to help it have a base and have it not sit very low and not very high.

Return the tree to its jar while gently tamping the soil into the compartment to hold the plant and add enough potting soil mix.

3. Please put it in the right place.

After having the lemon tree ready from trimming its roots, you need first to wait till it’s ready for full sun. 

4. Water the lemon tree plant

The lemon tree needs enough water to help it settle into the soil and prevent it from drying out and dropping its leaves due to lack of water. Water at least once a week to keep the surface moist but not soggy. 

Continue to give proper care to the tree and keep it healthy, and you will see blooms and eventually fruits.

New growth on the lemon tree is yellow

When your lemons grow and healthy, they produce and make your lemonade, which is very rewarding.

Before you know a yellow color attack, your lemon tree leaves, and now you are wondering how it came about! 

This yellow foliage in the lemon tree is due to specific issues, but you can still correct, so you don’t have to worry so much. If you give your tree attention and give proper care, the yellowing is not a difficult problem.

Here are the reasons which make your lemon tree yellow and their treatment;

1. Over watering

Whenever you leave a lemon tree soaking wet in water, its roots will rot, and the tree will not be able to pull its nutrients from the soil. It slowly begins to yellow and eventually dry up.

Lemon trees do not enjoy too much water, so if the soil is not well-draining and the pots have no holes, the surface will become muddy.

Treatment: Fix overwatering by re-potting the tree into a dry soil mixture. Put it into a pot with holes to support drainage and ensure the soil is light loamy soil. Water appropriately and always wait for the soil to dry before watering again.

2. Seasonal conditions

When it’s the winter season, a lemon will find a hard time to thrive since they enjoy warm temperatures. Since most lemons are grafted onto deciduous root stocks so during the winter season, they’ll hibernate. 

When the winter comes, it slows down the growth of a lemon tree, and the flow of nutrients to the leaves reduces, which makes them become yellow and fall. The tree will become yellow after winter when you place it outside for the sun.

Treatment: When the winter goes, the leaves will start settling slowly so long as the tree still has healthy ones, you do not have to worry much. 

3. Parasites

Insects like lemons as much as humans do; they also attack the lemon trees, damage them, and develop yellow spots, forming large yellow patches while growing.

Pests such as aphids and whiteflies are some of the most common ones who attack lemon trees and make them yellow.

Treatment: You can treat these parasites by spraying them with regular garden hose blasts and use chemical treatment or horticultural oil. Pests such as mites you can dispatch them with a soap-based miticide.

4. Nutritional deficiencies

Most citrus trees are heavy feeders, and lemon is inclusive in this family. If a lemon tree is not getting enough of the right nutrients, the tree will have pale and yellow leaves.

Lack of iron, magnesium, nitrogen, and zinc cause deficiencies to the tree hence yellow leaves. When the soil pH level is not balancing still, the lemon tree will not be healthy.

Treatment: Treat the problem of lack of nutrients by adding fertilizers and organics rich in magnesium, iron, and nitrogen, and potassium, and the leaves will regain its color and also bloom. Also, test the soil before planting to fix low soil pH and if the soil is very acidic, reduce the acidity.

Lemon tree dropping leaves in Summer

 Lemon trees drop some leaves when they are blossoming and producing fruits. However, if the tree is dropping most of its leaves during this process, it turns into an alarming situation.

Lemons thrive in frost-free areas like the United States Department of Agriculture’s hardiness zones 9-11. Leaves might start dropping during the winter season, and if the drop is heavy and massive, then it’s too abnormal and needs your attention.

Several reasons cause a lemon tree leaf drop, such as lack of enough care and diseases. Let’s look at the major ones;

1. Excess fertilizers to the tree

Young lemon trees need minimal fertilizers, especially in the first year of growth, so if you exceed the number of organics desirable, it will lead to leaves dropping.

During the early stages, fertilize occasionally. As time moves slowly, increase the fertilizers and be sure to use citrus fertilizers. 

Use them evenly, covering the entire root zone, and avoid piling fertilizers right at the tree base because it causes damage. If you fertilize the right way, you will prevent lemon leaf drop.

2. Lemon tree Root rot

When you over water a lemon tree, it will soak into the water, and its roots will rot. The rotting is due to a fungus, which affects the trunk being very wet for a long time.

Reduce the watering and do it only when the soil is dry.

3. Nutrition deficiency

Lack of nutrients also causes lemon leaf yellowing and dropping. Iron deficiency is the most common in lemon trees when the plant is in a low drainage area.

4. Pests

Insects cause lemon tree leaf drop. Pests attack the tree mostly in the summer season. In the early fall, the common problem is the California red scale. 

Thorns on a lemon tree

Having thorns on a lemon tree should not cause an alarm to you, but it’s a reminder to prune the tree. You need to consider if the lemon you are growing is a variety prone to thorns to help you deal with them appropriately. 

You need to be aware that lemons and other citrus plants grow well in the US Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11.

Causes of thorns on lemon trees

1. Variety

Different types of lemon grow differently, and this determines where the tree will be thorny or not. Lisbon lemons are naturally more intricate than Eureka, which is thornless. So before purchasing the tree, you need to be sure of which variety you are taking.

2. Canopy shoots

Canopy shoots grow above the graft union on a lemon tree. They usually have thorns, so you need to remove them as soon as they start developing.

If you leave them to grow, they will produce branches that will break the tree’s fruits. Cut them off during pruning, and all will be well.

3. Graft union

When you graft a lemon tree onto a rootstock with thorny characteristics, it will send up the suckers from under the union. So again, you need to cut off these suckers as soon as you see them before they take over the whole fruit tree.

Remove the suckers with thorns because they can prick the fruits and bring bacteria to the entire tree, which results in black spots for all the fruits. This bacteria is a “bacteria blast.” Prune and fertilize the tree, and it will be healthy.


Lemon trees grow well in frost-free areas, with well-draining soils and proper watering. As a result of reasonable care, the trees produce lemonade, which you can use for juice and other flavoring purposes.

If you notice any suckers on your lemon tree, remove them immediately, as the guide shows above. Remember to prune the tree carefully to remove dead, crossing, and weak branches.

Feed the tree rightfully, and you will avoid yellowing and dropping leaves off a lemon tree.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I prune a Meyer lemon?

Meyer lemon tree doesn’t have to be tall, so you need to prune it, keep it complete with fewer branches. Cut off branches growing straight and upwards, weak, dying, and overgrowing stems in the early fall or early spring.

What is a lemon tree graft union?

A lemon tree graft union is a distinct scar on the tree trunk where the bud is joined together to the rootstock. A graft looks like a bump around the trunk.

What is the difference between Meyer Lemon and Eureka Lemon? 

Meyer lemons are the type with orange, yellow fruit, a skin thick, sweet, and less acidic. In contrast, Eureka lemon is more acidic, produces more juice, has a medium gold color, and the coat is thicker than Meyer lemon.

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