How to Revive a Sick Citrus Tree

How to Revive a Sick Citrus Tree

How to Revive a Sick Citrus Tree

Has your citrus tree gotten sick? Not sure what to do? Read on to learn a few methods on how to revive a citrus tree and have your tree start thriving again.

Cultivate a mother-baby relationship to learn what made your tree sick...

“Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

You are my sunshine

Sleep, baby, sleep!”

I am echoing millions of new mothers here.

As a dad, I can vouch that my wife had experienced a special link between her brain and the cry of my new-born son or daughter. I don’t have the science behind the hormone, but you can get plenty of published information. I suggest you start with Nature magazine. Reference, Kosfeld, M; Heinrichs, M; Zak, PJ; Fischbacher, U; Fehr, E. Oxytocin increases trust in humans. Nature 2005, 435:673-676. Reprint available at

Why do babies cry, and what happens when they cry?

A baby will cry when he/she is fussy and happy when held, fed, or diaper changed.

STEP 1. Remember, your sick citrus tree is a baby.

Unlike your baby, your fussy citrus baby has no mechanism to cry.

It needs your attention always.

Make sure your citrus tree, whether your year-round fruit giving lemon, lime, kumquat, or seasonal orange or grapefruit or any other specialty citrus.

There is a lot that goes into growing a citrus tree successfully. The soil composition, weather, nutrient status, pests or diseases and even the plant location are just some of the factors that could impact how your citrus tree grows. Anyone would love to have their own personal lime tree or lemon tree, but getting to that point is not always easy.

It's always upsetting when you notice that your citrus trees are starting to look sick. But it can happen to everyone, from first-time growers to growers with years of experience. If you do notice that your fruit tree is looking under the weather, don't panic. There are methods for bringing them back to life.

Below, we're sharing a few methods for how you can best revive a citrus tree. Read on to learn more about how you can take a fruit tree from sick to well again.

1. Prune at the Right Time

If you want your citrus tree to grow successfully, it's important that you stay on top of pruning them at the right time. Each year, set aside a time in early spring that you can dedicate to this task. In commercial orchards, citrus trees are not pruned yearly for various reasons. The situation is different in your backyard settings, especially, when your tree is sick.

You'll want to be sure to remove any diseased or crisscrossed branches. The best tools for pruning are gardening shears or a fine-tooth saw, depending on the size of the branches. Pruning can be a tedious task, but it's well worth it to ensure that your Meyer lemon tree or Kaffir lime tree, for example, stay healthy. This strategy works well when you have a new pest on a twig or two, for example, when you see a new infestation with a cistus pest called mealybug, citrus aphids on citrus leafminer. Take a clipper, a plastic bag and cut off the infested twig. Job done, you just have removed a twig and at the same time future headache from rapid increase of pests.

2. Check for Weeds Regularly

When you're growing citrus trees, it is vitally important that you stay on top of weed management. If you really want your fruit trees to grow successfully, you cannot just pull weeds occasionally and expect that will be enough. Weeds compete for water and nutrients. Besides, weeds increase relative humidity around the trunk and predispose trees to fungus like Phytpophthora.

Check for weeds on a regular basis, and be sure to keep the area beneath the tree's canopy clear of damaging weeds. This is especially important for a young lime tree or lemon tree. Young trees have smaller canopies, so more light can get through, which promotes greater weed growth.

3. Protect from Frost Damage

Citrus trees grow best in warm climates, so frost can cause serious damage. If you can, consider keeping an indoor citrus tree during the coldest time of the year, to prevent frost damage from happening. Here is a catch-22 situation. Your indoor is engineered for human comfort factors (74 F and 50% relative humidity). Citrus trees won’t do well at 50% RH; therefore, let the pot be in a water pan to bring a difference in the relative humidity.

If you can't bring your tree inside, you can still protect it from frost by covering it with a cloth blanket and continuing to water it well. As tempting as it may be to prune frost-damaged areas right away, you should wait until the following spring when you are doing the rest of your pruning.

Want More Tips for Growing a Citrus Tree?

There are lots of benefits to growing citrus trees. A citrus tree makes a beautiful addition to your garden or to the landscape of your home. When well taken care of, your trees will also produce delicious fruit that you’ll be able to cook with and bake with, which can ultimately be good for your health.

For more helpful tips to get started on growing citrus fruit trees, check out our citrus blog!

 Growing Trees is fun, and every tree we send comes with a 20-page care guide


  • My indoor potted clementine tree dropped ALL of it’s leaves this winter and started to die. I just repotted it after rinsing the roots with clean water. I used new soil. I have trimmed the bare stalks back, they are still green and the core looks alive as it is also green. Any more suggestions to try to “bring it back”?

    Phyllis on

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