Permaculturing in Portugal

One family's attempts to live in a more planet-friendly way

It’s alive!

All of a sudden, our lemon tree has burst back into life.

Recovering lemon tree after frost damage

I had almost completely written it off. The tree was producing a good crop of lemons for its size when we first bought this quinta, but several days of heavy frost in January 2009 proved too much.

Lemon tree in frost

The following year it gradually lost all its leaves. I wondered what I could do about it. Prune? Fertilise? Irrigate? A lot of Googling later, I learned that the consensus view was just to leave the tree well alone and if it was going to recover it would. So I did.

By this last winter, all that was left were half a dozen or so very yellow leaves on the tips of the uppermost branches. With no sign of life this Spring, and reports from other people in the area saying they’d lost their citrus trees last winter, I was thinking I’d definitely have to be replacing it.

We went back to Scotland in late April and came back 3 weeks later to discover the tree had suddenly burst into flower. Now new leaves are budding all over as well. I’ve pruned the dead wood and made sure it’s got a good supply of water. Shortly I’ll be heaping some good well-rotted manure around it and sowing white clover for additional nitrogen and weed suppression and will be looking forward to a new crop of lemons this winter.

Recovering lemon tree

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