Citrus fruits such as lemon are easily grown in soil with the proper climate, but they will face with some troubles in the area with a cold climate.
The lemon tree is grown both for its fruit and as an ornamental plant (because it has a sweet fragrance). Commonly found in warm or tropical areas, lemon is extremely sensitive to cold and frost. There are, however, several ways to protect this plant in the cold season.
1. The mature lemon
Young trees are the main victims of the cold. That’s why when you grow lemon outdoors you need to plant them in the spring, because they will be “grown-ups” in the winter. Otherwise, the plant may die or be unable to make fruit.
2. Follow the weather forecast
To protect the lemon or other citrus plant, watch the weather forecast to see when the frost is coming. Even a temperature of 55.4 degrees Fahrenheit can cause serious damage to the tree.
The lemon tree is more sensitive to cold than the orange tree. The plant loses its leaves at temperatures of 23 degrees Fahrenheit, and at temperatures of 21.2 degrees the woody part of the lemon tree will suffer a lot. Flowers and small fruit can’t withstand temperatures of 28.4 degrees Fahrenheit, and the mature fruits will be destroyed.
3. Wrap the lemon tree in blankets
Wrap the tree with blankets when it’s cold outside. But, from time to time un-wrap it because the lemon tree may sweat and it will destroy the plant.
There are specially designed bags to protect trees against the cold. So, you may purchase one.
3. Use light bulbs
You can create some sort of a tent for the lemon tree, and put some light bulbs inside. There may even be Christmas lights. The plant will stay in this slightly heated microclimate by light bulbs and will protect the lemon tree from cold.
4. Use earth
Young trees can be protected from cold even with soil. Put soil around the stem, up to a height of 15 cm. Earth is a good insulator and absorbs the sun’s rays. Therefore, the ground around the citrus plant must remain completely uncovered. The method is simpler than the one with the blankets.
This soil isolation method should be done at the end of the autumn before the first frost, and is removed in the spring, when there is no risk of frost. You will therefore have less work to do.
5. Use ice as an insulator
Another method to protect the citrus of frost is ice. Sprinkle water all over the lemon tree before freezing, so that a film forms on its surface. After freezing, the plant is protected from the cold outside of this ice sheet. Some branches may break because of the weight, so, be careful! This method is particularly suitable for mature, large-sized lemon trees whose coating is more difficult to achieve.