Why Are My Meyer Lemon Tree Leaves Turning Yellow?

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No matter how green your thumb is, the leaves on a Meyer lemon tree can turn yellow. Changes in nutritional intake, parasites, pests, or a shift in feeding can all play a role.

Yellow leaves on Meyer Lemon treesPin

Now, you may ask, why are my lemon tree leaves turning yellow? Let’s take a look.

Why Does The Yellowing Leaves Condition Happen?

Here are a few reasons why you may find yellow leaves on Meyer lemon tree.


Overwatering is one of the most common reasons for inexperienced gardeners who believe a plant can take all the water in the world (drown them, and they’re good for the week!).

Lemon trees, like many plants, aren’t comfortable or safe in bogs.

Dewy leaves and buds on a bush.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @joelmckmiller

When lemon trees soak in too much water, it can lead to root rot. That makes it difficult for the plant to pull nutrients. Hence, the Meyer lemon tree leaves turning yellow and falling off.

However, underwatering can also cause your lemon tree leaves to turn yellow, as the foliage lacks moisture.

So, it’s important to provide proper watering to avoid your meyer lemon leaves turning yellow.

Seasonal Changes

Lemons are grafted onto deciduous rootstocks. The rootstock, feeling the coming winter, instinctively reduces nutrient flow to its leaves.

Causing the meyer lemon tree yellow leaves as well as fall off. This doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the lemon tree.

Discoloration can also come about in the warmer months or on bright, sunny days. If this happens, your lemon tree is likely suffering from sunburn.

Don’t panic. As long as healthy leaves remain, your tree should recover.

Ripe lemons on a tree, sunny sky.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @harvest_to_table_com

Nutrition Deficiency

Lemon trees are heavy feeders. If your Meyer lemon tree leaves are turning yellow, they may not be getting enough food.

It’s important to note that nutrient deficiencies can be caused by improper soil pH, imbalance with other nutrients, overwatering, or compacted soil. It may also be due to nutrient competition from weeds.

Taking a good look at your plant food (or starting a regular feeding schedule) can help. More on fertilizing Meyers Lemons.

Insect Pests

When sap-sucking pests like plant scale, aphids, and spider mites, find your tree, these insects can create damage. 

Enough that Meyer lemon leaves develop yellow spots that eventually consume leaves with large yellow patches.

Related: Why Do Citrus Leaves Curl and Turn Yellow?

What Damage Do Yellowing Leaves on Meyer Lemon Trees Cause?

Some leaves may be yellow because of nitrogen. The plant can move nitrogen to new growth while older leaves go pale from nitrogen deficiency.

Lack of nitrogen diminishes fruit production and plant vigor.

Ripe lemons on a tree, sunny backdropPin
Photo Credit: Instagram @hellenic_world__

You may also see yellowing if zinc, manganese, or iron is deficient (chlorosis). The leaf tissue will show discoloration while veins remain dark green.

Mottling between large veins is zinc deficiency. If meyer lemon leaves are yellow with green veins, that’s iron deficiency.

If you notice the new leaves are yellow or have yellow veins, your plant likely also has iron deficiency.

Magnesium deficiencies can also be a common problem and may result in lemon tree yellowing leaves.

How To Control Yellowing Leaves on Meyer Lemon Trees

Whether your Meyer lemon tree is suffering from overwatering, seasonal changes, nutritional issues, or pests, there are fixes for each problem.

Here are effective tips on how to fix meyer lemon yellow leaves.

Fix the Overwatering and Drainage Problem

If your meter lemon plant’s drainage isn’t great, or you’re leaving it in a saucer of water regularly, check the roots.

Dig around the plant and see what’s going on.

If you find solid, white roots, it’s good! If you’re looking at slime or black or brown coloring, there’s an issue.

To fix overwatering issues,

  • Repot the tree in well-draining soil.
  • Use a pot that drains well and quickly with a special mix for citrus.
  • Avoid using too large a pot.
  • Citrus trees have far-reaching, shallow roots. They grow better when moved into slightly wider pots that aren’t much deeper than previous ecosystems.

Seasonal Changes: Apply Mulch in Winter

Growing citrus Lemon trees such as Meyer grafted to rootstock can experience unique problems in different seasons.

Knowing that such grafting leads to yellow leaves in winter can help avoid panic when you’re unsure if your tree is healthy.

Of course, discoloration from sunburn isn’t reversible. However, moving your tree can help it recover and begin growing new, green leaves again.

During winter, it’s important to apply mulch, especially when exposed to 

Fertilizer To Adjust Any Nutrient Deficiency

Test the soil. The condition of the root zone will tell you what adjustments need to be applied. Sometimes, it’s as simple as adding a citrus tree spike.

Sometimes, it’s not that the nutrients aren’t there; pH problems might make them unavailable.

Choosing a citrus fertilizer blend specific to lemon trees is also a helpful step toward a well-fed Meyer lemon tree.

Get Rid of The Pests

You can remove many pests with a garden hose blast or two. Some, like mealybugs with their waxy coating, could require horticultural oil, insecticidal soap, or a chemical application.

Apply a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or soap diluted in water directly to the bugs. This won’t hurt plants.

You can use a spray bottle containing your solution where you see bugs, yellowing, or white fluff.

If you do see some kind of infestation, move that plant away from others to prevent spreading.


As always, make sure your lemon tree is in direct sunlight to avoid meyer lemon tree leaves yellow.

Any filtering, such as a porch screen, can dilute the process, especially in the off-season.

And avoid putting your plant through drastic changes in setting. Minor changes in light, humidity, or water, and you’ll see your Meyer lemon tree leaves turning yellow.

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