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Lemon tree guild

tiffany thrasher
Posts: 19
Location: central california - zone 9a
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It's really hard to find info on what plants grow well with citrus trees, lemon in particular.

I live in a rental place with a fully mature lemon tree, and really want to plant beneficial companions around it so I dont have to deal with the grass and burr clover that are taking over everywhere. The lemon tree is about 50ft. away from a fruitless (so annoying) mulberry tree and like 10ft. from a juniper. There are also rose bushes about every 10 ft. on this property.

So far I've found that these are companions for citrus trees:
clover, alfalfa, peas (legumes in general)
lemon balm (or any mints)

Anyone know of anything else or if any of these are wrong? Maybe some other perennials?

I want to draw up a little guild map, when I do I'll post it up here..
Casie Becker
Posts: 732
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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Citrus are fairly shallow rooted for trees. Something to keep in mind when planning companions.

I will weigh in on the dill, though. It's in full flower right now in zone 8b. After it sets seed the whole plant dies. In warmer zones it's a cool season plant.

Marco Banks
Posts: 322
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Those are all great choices for a citrus guild. You'll want to attract ladybugs, wasps and other predator insects to keep the aphids in check.

What kind of lemon? If it's a standard Eureka lemon, they are very hearty and outcompete and outgrow just about everything. Meyer lemons, in my experience, as much less aggressive growers. I killed 3 Meyer trees before I finally got my existing tree to take off—and that's saying something because I never loose trees. It was so frustrating.

Nasturtiums self seed and are a nice bio-mass producer. The flowers are edible and make a nice companion for citrus guilds.

stinging nettle does well in deep shade and seems to do well in dry conditions as well. I just posted my stinging nettle pesto recipe in the kitchen forum. Lady bugs like it.

If left untended, lemon balm can be a bit invasive, like mint. Stay on top of it.

If you're growing thyme, throw in a couple of rosemary plants as well. One upright, and one creeping. They are good friends in the garden, and once established, they'll do well in dryer conditions. A well established lemon tree will suck the water out of the soil pretty quickly.

Fennel is a nice dynamic accumulator. Once it seeds, you'll forever get volunteer fennel plants coming up. But try to pull the ones you want out while they are young, as they send a thick tap root pretty deep and are tough to thin once they've taken deep root.

I think its lovely that you'll have a little herb garden under your lemon tree. Once established, herbs don't need much water --- at least perennial herbs tend to do well in dry conditions.

Happy guilding!
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