How to Transplant a Lemon Tree

Citrus trees, such as orange, lemon, or grapefruit are available in many varieties and are very popular in warm southern climates. They provide beauty, shade, and fresh fruit to their owners. However, if a citrus tree is not getting the proper sunlight it needs to grow or other plants have been placed too close to the tree, transplanting may be necessary. Transplanting a small tree is a large endeavor but can be done successfully if certain precautions are taken.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Tarp or canvas

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Remove any fruit from the tree to make it lighter when moving and so the growing power from photosynthesis will be concentrated on the root system and not the fruit.

Use a shovel and dig around the tree in a circumference the same size as the foliage. Dig down far enough so that you will end up with a root ball (soil and roots) with a diameter equal to the circumference of the dig. Cut through large roots with the sharp end of a shovel if needed.

Use as many helpers as needed and lift the tree onto the center of a large tarp or a piece of canvas, keeping as much original soil around the roots as possible. Drag the tarp or canvas to the new location.

Dig a hole with a depth equal to that of the root ball at the new location. Use help and slide the tree and soil into the hole. Have helpers lift up on one edge of the tarp while others guide the tree off of the tarp and into the hole.

Back fill the hole using a shovel and the dirt originally dug out of the hole. Keep the tree watered, making sure the soil is moist but not soggy. Do not fertilize the tree until after a burst of growth. Remove the flowering blooms on the tree for one year after transplanting by pinching them off by hand.

Tips & Warnings

  • The larger and more established a tree is, the less chance it will have of surviving a transplant.


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