Growing lemon trees in Qatar, despite the country’s harsh desert climate, is possible. With the right care and attention, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor from either potted or in-ground lemon trees.
Understanding Lemon Trees and Qatar’s Climate
To start with, bear in mind that although lemon trees are native to Southeast Asia and generally tolerate heat and sun well, they have their limits, so they can suffer under the extreme heat of Qatar summers.
Location and Planting: In Pots or In-Ground
You can choose to grow your lemon tree in the ground or in a pot. Pot-grown trees are more manageable, mobile, and easier to protect from harsh weather conditions. For in-ground planting, choose a location that gets plenty of morning sun but is shielded from the harsher afternoon sun, perhaps the east or southeast side of your property.
Both in-ground and pot-grown lemon trees require deep and frequent watering, especially during the extreme summer heat. Ensure the soil is moist but not waterlogged to prevent root rot. In temperatures higher than 38-40 C, watering is necessary daily.
No strict pruning is required for lemon trees in Qatar. Trim the dry ends of the branches regularly to maintain the health and shape of your lemon tree. Fertilizing:
During the gardening season (September-April), apply manure or compost every three weeks, to encourage leaves growth and health. Remember to spread the manure a short distance away from the trunk, to avoid burns. Also offer calcium and magnesium (calmag) supplements every two weeks to ensure it gets all the essential nutrients for growth. Some members of the Gardening Club Qatar use Epson salt purchased from any super market with success. Patience with Young Trees: If you have grafted trees, be aware that they usually take three years to start bearing fruit. If your tree is still small, focus on letting it grow and mature before expecting any fruit.
Combatting Pests and Diseases
Potential growers should also be aware of the common pests and diseases that can affect these trees.
- Citrus Leaf Miner: This pest causes serpentine mines on young leaves, distorting their growth. To control leaf miners, use yellow sticky traps and apply neem oil.
- Leaf Curling: Leaf curl can be a sign of water stress or a pest infestation, like aphids, mealybugs, or scale. Regularly inspect your tree for pests and ensure it’s adequately watered.
- Fungal Diseases: Qatar’s humid summer can favor the development of fungal diseases like sooty mold or citrus canker. Promote good air circulation through pruning and consider using a fungicide if necessary.
Growing lemon trees in Qatar might present challenges, but the rewards of enjoying fresh lemons plucked from your own tree make it a journey worth undertaking. With these guidelines, your lemon tree will stand a great chance of thriving, even under the Qatari sun.