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It takes a brave person to bite into a fresh lemon, unless it’s the unique local variety ‘Lemonade’.
‘Lemonade’ is surprisingly sweet tasting; it doesn’t have the intense sourness you'd expect from most other lemons, just a touch of acidity. You can eat Lemonade lemons straight from the tree without making a face.
'Lemonade’ trees are great for backyards as they don’t get much taller than 2.5m, and produce great yields of fruit, which can be peeled, segmented and devoured, or juiced.
'Lemonade' (Citrus limon x reticulata) is a natural hybrid of a lemon and a mandarin, claimed to have been discovered by chance and cultivated here in New Zealand during the 1980s.
‘Lemonade’ is also available as a compact dwarf plant, which grows happily in a pot. ‘Lemonade’ does best in a sunny spot, with well-drained soil (or potting mix) and it'll grow in all but the coldest areas of the country.
How to grow:
When planting a new ‘Lemonade’ tree, mix some Yates Thrive Natural Blood Bone with Seaweed into the planting hole (or potting mix) to help improve and enrich the soil.
When planting citrus into containers, choose a well-drained pot that’s at least 40 cm in diameter and use a good quality potting mix like Yates Premium Potting Mix.
Like all citrus, ‘Lemonade’ lemon trees are heavy feeders and require lots of nutrients to stay healthy and productive. Diluting 1 – 2 capfuls of Yates Thrive Citrus Liquid Plant Food in a 9L watering can and applying over the foliage and root zone each week will help to encourage healthy green leaves and a great harvest.
Keep the new tree well-watered, particularly during its first summer. Citrus trees have a shallow root system which can dry out quickly.
It’s beneficial to apply a few centimetres of mulch over the soil (or potting mix) under the tree, which helps the root zone stay moist. Keep the mulch a few centimetres away from the trunk, to allow good air flow and reduce the chance of collar rot disease.
Citrus trees are continually busy throughout the year and during late spring they're setting delicious fruit for the next harvest.
Here are 5 citrus care tips that will get you through November and the warmer weather to come:
Citrus trees have a shallow root system and water stress can lead to trees dropping their small fruit, so they’ll need a good deep soaking at least once a week (more often for potted citrus) if there isn’t adequate rainfall to supply their water needs.
Lucerne hay or pea straw spread 50mm deep over the root zone helps retain soil moisture and protect the citrus’ vulnerable roots.
Protect new citrus foliage from aphid damage by spraying each week with Yates Nature’s Way Citrus, Vegie & Ornamental Spray. Based on natural pyrethrin (from the pyrethrum daisy) and vegetable oil (boosted with the goodness of seaweed), this spray is BioGro certified for use in organic gardening.
Yates Nature’s Way Citrus, Vegie & Ornamental Spray will also control sap sucking scale insects on citrus. Tell-tale signs of scale include ants running up and down the trunk and stems and also sooty mould, a black ash like film which develops over stems and leaves. Spray over stems and foliage (including the undersides) as soon as scale and aphids are noticed and reapply each week if required.
Regular feeding of hungry citrus will really help to promote a fantastic harvest so it’s important to make fertilising citrus trees a priority. It’s as simple as diluting 2 capfuls of Yates Thrive Citrus Liquid Plant Food into a 9 L watering can and applying over the root zone each week.
For large and extra-juicy fruit, feed your citrus with Yates Fruit and Flower Booster Liquid Potash. before flowering, and after fruit set. Plants need potassium to encourage prolific flower development and improve fruit quality. Potash also strengthens plant cell walls, which helps protect plants from disease and environmental stress. Yates Flower and Fruit Booster Liquid Potash is an easy to use liquid. It delivers potassium in a format that is easy for plants to absorb and can be applied to both the soil as well as the foliage, delivering fast results.
If new foliage on citrus trees remains yellow and leaves are small or mottled, it may indicate a zinc or manganese trace element deficiency. To restore the foliage to a healthy lush green, apply Yates Citrus Cure Zinc Manganese Chelate. This is an easy to use liquid trace element mix that's applied as a foliar application, for fast results.