Why choose the best fertilizer for lemon trees?
It is true that lemon trees are some of the easiest fruit trees to grow in the home garden. With citrus being so important in everyday diets, it’s easy to see why growing lemon trees have become so popular.
The trees themselves make a beautiful addition to any landscape; they are beautiful ornamental with dark green, shiny leaves, and exquisitely fragrant flowers.
Strong, healthy trees are the product of good management practices, especially proper fertilization, and strong healthy trees will produce more fruit.
So what is the best lemon tree fertilizer to make your plants thrive? In this post, we are going to discuss what to look for in a good fertilizer and a few of the best options on the market.
What is the best fertilizer for lemon trees?
Here is a quick preview of our top 6 options on the market
- BGI Fertilizers CitrusGain
- Jobe’s Organics Fruit & Citrus Fertilizer
- Espoma Citrus-tone
- Dr. Earth Blood Meal
- Down to Earth Organic Citrus Mix
- EZ-Gro Citrus Fertilizer
Before we talk about why we think these are the best, first let’s talk about what to look for in a citrus fertilizer.
What to look for in a good fertilizer for lemon trees
Fertilizing lemon trees follows the typical protocol growers use to keep citrus trees healthy and strong.
Citrus trees are heavy feeders; it is best to fertilize them every 4-6 weeks during their active growing season (spring and summer) and every 1-3 months during the dormant period (fall and winter).
Lemon trees need a fertilizer containing a good quality source of nitrogen.
The nutrient ratio of fertilizers used to feed lemon trees should be no higher than 8-8-8 for optimum growth. These numbers found on a fertilizer label are the N-P-K ratio; the consumer can look at this ratio and determine the percentage, by weight, of the nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) in the fertilizer.
For example, in an 8-8-8 formula, a 10-pound bag of fertilizer would contain the following: 0.8 pounds of nitrogen, 0.8 pounds of phosphorus, and 0.8 pounds of potassium.
All plants have essential nutrients needed for growth. Nitrogen is one of the main essential nutrients; its main responsibility in a plant is vegetative growth.
It is used in the plant to construct amino acids which are the building blocks for protein; nitrogen is a major component of chlorophyll and helps to make the foliage green, and it is also necessary for the plant’s enzymatic reactions.
Phosphorus is a component in DNA and RNA (the genetic building blocks within plant cells) and is needed for root growth and flowering.
Potassium works more indirectly than the other two nutrients. It is not a component of any plant parts but activates many of the enzymatic reactions that occur within the plant, making it imperative for overall plant health.
Learn more about fertilizing your citrus tree in the following video:
When it comes to choosing a fertilizer for lemon trees, there are many options available. A consumer can buy traditional fertilizers or organic products; they can purchase all-purpose fertilizers geared towards a wide range of plants or products specifically formulated for citrus, and they can purchase either granular or liquid formulations.
These options allow gardeners to choose products that fit their budget, and gardening philosophy.
- Nutrient Ratio: 8-3-9
- Specifically designed with citrus trees in mind
- Nutrients to improve roots and fruit output
- Apply every 4 to 6 weeks for best results
The first plant food that we want to take a closer look at is the BGI Fertilizers CitrusGain.
Does it have want it takes to be the best fertilizer for lemon trees? We think so.
Let’s take a closer look.
This fertilizer is an 8-3-9 nutrient ratio fertilizer, is specially formulated for citrus and trees, meeting the specific needs of these plants.
Citrus trees/plants need adequate amounts of essential nutrients to develop strong root systems, maintain overall tree health, and produce high-yielding, high-quality fruit.
CitrusGain contains nitrogen, potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, zinc, sulfur, other macronutrients, and micronutrients to meet these needs.
Application Tips: Apply every 4-6 weeks during the growing season. Sprinkle evenly, in a circular pattern, under the tree/plant outward to the drip line; do not apply directly against the trunk or base of the plant.
Jobe’s Organic Fruit & Citrus Fertilizer
- OMRI certified Organic Plant Food
- Contains Biozome
- Apply every 2 – 3 months
Jobe’s Organics Fruit & Citrus Fertilizer – An OMRI certified organic, granular fertilizer. In other words, it is safe for the environment and because it is granular it is a slow-release fertilizer meaning your trees will be receiving food over a longer period of time.
In addition, it is specially formulated to provide fruit-bearing plants the nutrients they need to yield abundant, healthy citrus fruit.
It contains Biozome, bone meal, feather meal, potash, and manure with an N-P-K ratio of 3-5-5. Biozome is a proprietary product containing a combination of healthy bacteria, mycorrhizal fungi, and microorganisms that helps to improve soil texture, and also increase water infiltration and retention.
Application Tips: Apply every 2-3 months for optimum results.
Espoma Citrus Tone
- Nutrient Ratio: 5-2-6
- Slow Release
- Apply 3 times a year
Espoma Citrus-tone – An all-natural, organic plant food based on leading university recommendations and formulated for citrus, fruit, and nut trees.
Espoma Citrus-tone contains a 5-2-6 ratio of nitrogen/phosphorus/potassium and is enhanced with thousands of living soil microbes to aid in the development of the entire tree, as well as enhancing the soil ecosystem.
It is a slow-release formulation, providing small, continuous amounts of nutrients to the lemon tree over a sustained length of time.
Application Tips: Apply at the recommended rates (2-8 pounds depending on the size of the tree) three times a year for optimum results: late winter as a pre-bloom application to enhance flowering, late spring as a post-bloom application to enhance fruit set, and then again in the fall to replace nutrients already used by the tree.
Dr. Earth Blood Meal
- Nutrient Ratio: 13-0-0 – contains a single nutrient
- Used to fertilize in the spring and summer and light in fall and winter
Dr. Earth Blood Meal – Organic gardeners have used blood meal as a natural fertilizer for a long time.
It is one of the most utilized single-nutrient fertilizers in home gardens. Blood meal is known for containing a quickly soluble form of all essential plant nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and many others.
Dr. Earth Blood Meal is an excellent source of organic nitrogen for lemon trees promoting dark, green foliage and excellent plant growth. It also contains five strains of beneficial soil microbes.
Use it to fertilize heavily in the spring and summer; fertilize more lightly in the fall and winter when the lemon tree isn’t growing as actively.
Application Tips: Application rates depend on the nutrient ratio of the specific product purchased. Dr. Earth Blood Meal contains an N-P-K ratio of 13-0-0. For lemon trees, work one cup of Dr. Earth Blood Meal into the soil, within the drip line, for every inch of trunk diameter.
Down To Earth Organic Citrus Mix
- Specifically designed for Citrus trees.
- Mixture of important plant nutrients such as, calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron as well as other micronutrients.
Down to Earth Citrus Mix is a 6-3-3 formula that is listed on the OMRI for those of us who are interested in organic gardening.
Down to Earth Fish Meal Fertilizer is carefully blended from natural, high-quality, organic sources so the nutrients are in the ideal proportions for plant use.
A high-quality formula such as this one means that it does not contain low-quality filler ingredients or synthetic fertilizers.
Application Tips: For optimum results apply 1-2 pounds of fertilizer per 1” of trunk diameter, sprinkling from the base of the lemon tree outward to the drip line. Mix well into the soil and water thoroughly.
EZ- Gro Citrus Tree
- Liquid Fertilizer
- High in Potassium
- Nutrient Ratio: 20-3-19
Lastly, let’s take a closer look at EZ-Gro Citrus Fertilizer.
This fertilizer has been specially formulated for a wide variety of different fruit trees such as grapefruit, kumquat, lime, orange, mango, and yes of course lemon trees.
The N-P-K ratio is 20-3-19. As you can see from that rating that this formula has a lot of nitrogen and potassium.
Keep in mind that not only does potassium help to strengthen the plant, but it also helps the plant to increase its yield. So if you would like to see your lemon tree yielding more fruit, you might want to give this one a try.
Lastly, it is a liquid fertilizer making it easy to apply.
Application tips: Simply, follow the instructions to dilute the concentrate with water, making sure to mix thoroughly. Apply the recommended amount of diluted solution to fruit trees either as a foliar spray or directly to the soil at the base of the tree.
Are Coffee Grounds Good For Lemon Trees?
Yes, coffee grounds are good for lemon trees. Lemon trees love soil that is acidic. Applying coffee ground mulch or pine needles around your tree can help to acidify soil that has a low pH level.
Keep in mind the target pH level is 6.5 for lemon trees. Always test your soil so that you are not adding too much acid.
When Should I Fertilize My Potted Lemon Tree?
You should fertilize your potted lemon tree once a year if you are using granular plant food. If you are using a liquid option you need to follow the recommended doses on the package, it most cases it is once every 2 weeks.
If possible, I recommend using granular plant food as it slowly allows the nutrients to be released into the soil without overfeeding your plant.
Are eggshells good for lemon trees?
Yes, eggshells are great for lemon trees. Placing crushed eggshells around your tree is a great way to give them natural organic nutrients that they need to thrive. One such ingredient is calcium.
Eggshells are high in calcium and are easy to slowly feed it to your plants.
As we mentioned earlier, growing citrus trees in your yard can be an easy, productive venture when trees are properly fertilized.
So, what is the best fertilizer for lemon trees? As you can see there are some good options on the market.
Choosing one of the previous products will help maintain strong, healthy lemon trees that produce a bounty of fruit.
With that being said, I really like what BGI Fertilizers CitrusGain has to offer. It is specifically formulated for citrus trees. Use this plant food and you will have a healthier tree and more produce.
Now it is your turn. Please share with us your gardening experience. What plant food would you recommend for lemon trees? Share your comments below.