Why Are My Meyer Lemon Tree Leaves Turning Yellow?

No matter how green your thumb, 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. 

Why are your Meyer lemon tree leaves turning yellow? Let’s take a closer look.

Yellow leaves on Meyer Lemon treesPin

Why Does The Yellowing Leaves Condition Happen?

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


Overwatering is a common occurrence with 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.

When lemon trees soak in too much water, the roots rot. That makes it difficult for the plant to pull nutrients. Hence, Meyer lemon tree yellow leaves, drying up, and falling leaves.

Seasonal Changes

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

Causing the leaves to turn yellow 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.

Nutrition Deficiency

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

Taking a good look at your plant food (or starting a regular feeding schedule) can help.

Insect Pests

When sap-sucking pests like plant scale find your tree, they can create damage. Enough that 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.

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 citrus leaves are yellow with green veins, that’s iron deficiency.

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.


If your 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

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 not sure if your tree is healthy or not. 

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

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.


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

Apply a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or soap diluted in water directly to 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. 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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