Why are my lemon tree leaves curling?

Q.

Hi, I got a lemon tree a few months ago. It's leaves are curling and dull. I've given it citrus food and haven't noticed a change. What do you recommend? Thanks, April.

A.

Citrus leaves can curl when temperatures are cold or in extreme heat, some insect infestations such as scale, mealy bug, mites or aphids will cause leaves to curl and also over-watering. Other times it is leaf curl disease.

Adjust watering depending upon the weather. If it is heat, apply Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic regularly and keep it well watered. Also apply Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic regularly if cold, however watch the watering and make sure not to over-water it. Feed with Tui Citrus Food or Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser (suitable for pots and containers). However in frost prone areas avoid feeding any later than March as this will push soft new growth that will frost easily and won’t have had time to harden off.

Some varieties are more susceptible to leaf curl disease than others. Leaf curl overwinters in buds of infected trees. A copper based clean up spray is the most effective way of controlling leaf curl. Spray in autumn/winter using a copper fungicide and oil until bud burst in spring at 10-14 day intervals. Collect up any infected leaves that fall and burn or dispose of, do not compost as this will spread the disease.

If it is an insect problem check at your local garden centre for a suitable spray. If ants are crawling up the tree then there is a good chance there is scale insect or mealy bug or aphids.

Read our Lemon Growing Guide here >

 

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Why are my lemon tree leaves curling? Comments

  • What's your suggestion to dealing with the Guava moth problem I'm having with my lemons?

    Kevin Hill

  • Thanks for that information, my lemon tree is looking pretty sad as well. I have pruned it pretty hard, as the leaves were yellowing and curling too, It did have bugs. We have sprayed, so hopefully with the weather about to warm up a bit, it will look better soon

    Cherie Lochead

  • thanks having same problem

    alanjudy@clear.net.nz

  • Hi Cherie, an application of Seasol plant tonic now will also help boost your tree. All the best, Tui Team

    jenna

  • Hi Kevin, thank you for getting in touch. It is a shame your trees have guava moth! Prevention is the best method of control. Use a fine mesh (curtain netting is suitable) to surround your fruit so the moth cannot get into lay its eggs on the fruit. Secure with tape to the supporting branch. Remove fallen and rotting fruit, and dead leaves and mulch from under the tree as often the moths lay eggs in these areas. Guava moth pheromone delta traps with sticky bases are also available from garden centres and rural suppliers. All the best, Tui Team

    jenna

  • Hello Jenna. My citrus leaves are curling and slightly yellowish on the edges. I have covered it from the frost . We have had a lot of rain in ChCh could it be that? It is 2 years old . The little lime I planted this year is also covered but some of the new shoots have been attacked by the frost despite being covered. Will it be okay in the spring ? Many thanks.

    Dominique

  • Hi Dominique, it sounds like your soil is lacking in some sort of nutrient, more than likely it is iron or zinc. Feed with citrus fertiliser in October, once the frosts have passed. Apply Tui Organic Seaweed Tonic at least once a month, this will give the roots a boost but not force too much top growth, which you want to avoid over winter. It will also help your trees cope with the cold weather. ^Tui Team

    jenna

    • I had the citrus leaves curling problem due over watering. Thanks

      Aziz

  • Hi, I put my lemon tree in a pot and planted it using citrus potting mix. For the past three weeks it has been fine but four days ago the leaves started to curl and fall off. I have watered it frequently and the soil seemed damp but not boggy. I thought that I might have over watered it and left it for two days but the curling continues. There are no bugs etc near it and the leaves remain green but turn brown at the tips. Please help this is the second lemon tree I have tried to grow which been unsuccessful. I live in Christchurch and it has been been very warm so it could be stress. The soil is sandy and not suitable for direct planting.

    Quentin Findlay

    • Hi Quentin, the browning tips suggests that there is a physiological problem such as too much water, not enough water or poor drainage – are there sufficient holes in the pot for drainage.? Has it had too much fertiliser applied? Too much fertiliser can cause leaves to burn and drop off. Stress causes the plant to defoliate so it will be a process of elimination as to what is going on. If you think it may be too hot, try moving the pot to a shadier position (it will need to be moved away from the shady spot in the winter) or cover the tree with shade cloth to give it some protection from the sun and heat for now. Regular applications of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic always helps plants withstand temperature extremes.

      Tui Team