Lemon trees prefer and thrive well soil that is both free of weeds and well-drained. Possession of shallow feeder roots by citrus trees allows them to access nutrients in the topsoil, so utilizing traditional deep mulch is not the best way to go with citrus crops. Because Lemon tree is susceptible to root rot, damage to tree trunks, and bases from excessive wetness, it is advisable to take precautions when mulching the ground under citrus trees.
Lemon trees require well-drained soil to prevent root rot and dieback. A proper mulch layer ensures water movement through its structure while preventing major evaporation of soil moisture. A 2 to 4-inch mulch layer is enough to reduce the growth of weeds and retain a moist environment around a lemon tree. Any mulch that builds up into a thicker layer adversely affects the root system because roots will begin to grow up into the mulch in search of moisture that could not reach the lower soil space.
Guide For Mulching Lemon Tree
Generally speaking, the application of mulch in the garden provides many benefits. Lemon trees grow best when soil is fertile and consistently moist and when weed competition is low. These conditions can be improved with the use of mulch. Using too much mulch or the wrong kind of mulch can create less than desirable outcomes, so care should be taken.
#1. Mulch Away From Trunk
Root and soil fungus is a major concern for all types of citrus trees in the home landscape. The risk of lemon trees developing fungal problems increases as soil moisture increases. Depending on the soil and the specific irrigation system used in the garden, mulch must be kept well away from the trunk of citrus trees.
This is a perfect balance between the benefit of mulch slowing the growth of weeds and retaining soil moisture for the roots while also allowing the soil and tree trunk to dry readily and not harbor fungus. Mulch must be kept at least 1 foot away from the lemon tree’s trunk, and if soils are always irrigated, the soil under the tree’s canopy must be kept free from mulch.
#2. Mulch Depth
Within the lemon tree orchard, mulch must be scattered to a depth of 2 to 4 inches. This depth is deep enough to shade the soil, slow down weed germination, and reduce soil moisture evaporation but not so deep as to reduce the level of oxygen in the topsoil or keep soil moisture levels too wet and encourage fungal issues.
Mulch Used For Lemon Tree
#1. Wood Mulch
Wood chips and bark are good organic mulch for a lemon tree. They make the area look neat and their slow decomposition process permits the soil to benefit from a constant supply of nutrients. Normally, bark and chips are sold in large fragments, like nugget sizes, so they do not require to be replaced as often as finer mulches, such as sawdust, which easily gets blown away in high winds.
#2. Yard Waste
Lawn clippings can be used as mulch for a lemon tree. Fallen leaves raked from the ground which is shredded with a lawnmower also work well as mulch. Wood chips made from local trees can also be used as mulch for a lemon tree. All these types of natural mulches will decompose over time, adding more nutrients to the soil.
A layer of compost around lemon trees does everything mulch should do from preserving soil moisture to increasing the soil temperature and blocking weeds from growing. A layer of compost also adds nutrients to the soil. Compost from the backyard can be used or it can be purchased.
#4. Use Organic Mulch
Organic mulches that are derived from dead plant materials may be better than using plastic, rubber, or rock, depending on the soil and climate. Organic mulch degrades to improve the nutrition and texture of the soil as well as encourage beneficial microorganisms in the soil. Inorganic mulches do not and can retain heat from the sun, increasing soil and surface temperatures, which may lead to the citrus trees demanding for irrigation.
#5. Use Acidic-Forming Mulch
Unless the native soil is already quite acidic (pH below 7.0), using organic mulch that decomposes and lowers pH can reduce nutrient deficiencies that cause chlorosis, or yellowing of leaves is advisable to use. Soils that are acidic tend to allow freer root absorption of iron, magnesium, and manganese.
In neutral to alkaline soils these micronutrients are not readily absorbed and sickly yellow-green to pale yellow foliage develops. Acid forming organic mulches include pine bark, pine bark fines, pine straw, coffee grounds, and oak leaf mold.
How To Apply Lemon Tree Mulch
Mulch should be spread evenly at a depth no deeper than three inches. It is a good suggestion to mulch out to the drip edge of the lemon tree, where the farthest branches fall. Mulch should not be stacked up against the citrus tree base and trunk. This can cause root rot, encourage pests, and initiate certain citrus tree diseases.
For this reason, the base of the trunk must be ensured free of mulch to a distance of at least one foot all the way around. Any stacked materials, such as fallen leaves or fruit, from the tree base, as well must always be removed.
By following these simple guides, under citrus trees can be mulched without causing root or trunk damage. Proper lemon tree mulching will help to retain moisture, prevent weeds, reduce weeding and hoeing, and help citrus trees become healthy and productive.
When mulching lemon trees, the mulch must not be allowed to touch the trunk of the tree. 12-to-24-inch-wide rings free of mulch must be kept around the trunk of the tree to prevent fungi from wet mulch coming in contact with the trunk. A 4- to 6-inch layer of organic mulch should be used for best weed prevention while still allowing water to reach the roots.
Benefits of Mulching Lemon Tree
Proper and adequate mulching under the lemon tree can help to retain soil moisture while at the same time preventing the onset of weeds or grass, thereby allowing the feeder roots to do their job. At the same time, eliminating weeds preventing the need to dig or hoe around citrus trees, so the surface roots are left undisturbed. This ensures a healthy tree that can get the nutrition it needs without competition from weeds or grass.
Organic mulch that will quickly break down is suitable for lemon because it also adds nutrients to the soil. Grass clippings, leaves, and composted vegetation can be used as mulch. Commercially produced mulch from tree materials are suitable, but products that have been dyed or treated with systemic pesticides, which can find their way into fruits should be avoided.