Did lemon trees recently catch your fancy and want to try your hand at growing them? You might be asking, ‘can you grow a lemon tree in Massachusetts?’ Let’s take a deeper look to find out the answer.
Can You Grow a Lemon Tree in Massachusetts?
The lemon tree will not tolerate cold conditions and will start showing displeasure when temperatures drop to 20 degrees F and below. If you live in Massachusetts you’ll then know that you can’t grow them outdoors, since winters can drop to zero degrees F.
That said, you won’t be able to grow lemon trees in Massachusetts because the plant will sustain cold injury and die in the process. All it takes is a light or unexpected frost to kill the citrus plant.
However, you might be able to grow a lemon tree in colder regions if you grow it indoors and in a container.
With this in mind, the best lemon tree species you should get is a dwarf variety that won’t mind being potted. As soon as the risk of frost has passed and outdoor temperatures are warming up, you can bring your lemon tree outside and give it full sun from spring to fall.
Then, when winter is coming you can ‘overwinter’ and bring it indoors so the plant will be protected from the elements.
Where Can Lemon Trees Grow?
Lemon tree, or Citrus limon species are classified as subtropical plants, which means they thrive in warm climates and are weak against the cold. In the US, lemon trees are classified as hardy in zones 9 to 11.
The good news is that citrus trees have a degree of adaptation and can live in less than optimal conditions. You might not be able to get a lot of fruit, but the tree will likely survive and live a long time.
Lemon trees like a temperature range of 77 to 86 degrees F (or 25 to 30 degrees C), but they’re known to tolerate temperatures of up to 100 degrees F (or 38 degrees C).
Lemon trees prefer a site that gets full sun or else they won’t produce as much fruit. In the cold aspect, lemons become inactive when the temperature reaches 55 degrees F (13 degrees C).
Bud drop and fruits become damaged when temperatures drop from 26 to 28 degrees F, and finally, the tree loses its leaves and stems in temperatures ranging from 20 to 26 degrees F.
As a reference, the whole of Massachusetts has a USDA growing region of 5 to 7. Most of the western parts are assigned zone 5, while the eastern part is considered zone 6. The west part experiences minus 10 degrees F and lower, while the eastern areas can experience 0 and minus 5 degrees F on average during winter.
All is not lost when you’re trying to grow a fruit tree in Massachusetts, though. You can try planting cherries, peaches, pears, and apples, which are more likely to grow and thrive within their recommended USDA growing zones.
Related Article: Lemon Tree Dropping Leaves