Can You Over Fertilize Citrus Trees? Everything You Need To Know

Fertilization plays a vital role in your plant’s development. Aside from the quality of the fertilizer, the quantity is also essential. Can you over-fertilize citrus trees?

The answer is no. Applying too much fertilizer might destroy your plant. When taken up by plants, large doses of fast-release nitrogen can scorch the roots. When sprayed, over-fertilizing can potentially burn the leaves.

Swipe Garden will analyze the result of over-fertilizing. We also share some tips to fertilize your plants correctly. Join us to find out right now!

What Happens If You Over-Fertilize A Citrus Tree?

Over-fertilizing is a common mistake of beginners. This misconception results in severe problems for both your citrus trees and the environment. 

Citrus Trees

Plants can’t absorb water if there is too much fertilizer in the soil. 

To acquire water, plants work on the principle of osmotic pressure.

The amount of soluble substances in the soil surrounding the roots constantly grows to the root’s core. Water flows into the plant as a result of this.

The movement of water turns when the pressure around the plant roots becomes too intense. The phrase “burning plants” arises from this issue. 

Furthermore, if the fertilizer includes too much phosphorus and potassium, it might cause severe soil salts, which citrus trees and lemon trees may not be able to handle.


An excessive amount of fertilizer might be harmful to the environment.

The groundwater, lakes, rivers, and even the sea absorb excess fertilizers. The chemicals will pollute water, leading to severe environmental contamination. 

If the farmers are cultivating in a large area, the issue becomes much worse. 

Over-fertilizing is harmful to both plants and the environment - Over Fertilize Citrus Trees

Over-fertilizing is harmful to both plants and the environment 

What Are Signs Of Over-fertilizing?

Inadequate fertilizer application expresses itself in a variety of ways. 

The most noticeable signs include stunted growth, increased foliage growth with few flowers, and discoloration on the leaf edges. 

The root system suffers the most terrible damage. Much salt in fertilizers can cause the roots to burn and reduce moisture absorption. 

Plant growth will swiftly worsen due to the combination of burning and inadequate water absorption. 

The damaged roots also weaken disease resistance and cultural difficulties. 

You need to observe the symptoms of over-fertilizing on your plants - Over Fertilize Citrus Trees

You need to observe the symptoms of over-fertilizing your plants 

How Much Fertilizer Do Citrus Trees Need?

To prevent over-fertilizing citrus trees, you need to determine how much citrus fertilizer your trees need. 

Each year of their lives, a mature tree requires at least 1 pound of fertilizer:

  • Four years old: 4 – 6 pounds
  • Five years old: 5 – 7 pounds
  • Six years old: 6 – 9 pounds
  • Seven years old: 7 – 10 pounds
  • Twelve years old or older: 12 – 18 pounds

Young citrus trees need more fertilizer for their development. 

  • You need to apply about 1/2 pound of citrus fertilizer monthly between February and October in the first year. 
  • In the following year, increase the amount to 1 pound for each month.
  • The third year of their lives requires 2 pounds. 

A citrus tree requires different amount of fertilizer depending on its age - Over Fertilize Citrus Trees

A citrus tree requires a different amount of fertilizer depending on its age

How Do You Save An Over Fertilized Tree?

If your plant is suffering from over-fertilizing, try out the methods to save it.


A technique known as “leaching” can eliminate excess salt and nutrients. Leaching refers to the nutrient movement through soil by watering. 

This method can help wash the excessive nutrients out, allowing your lemon tree to start to recover their healing.

Learn more about soil leaching via this video: 

Use distilled water

It’s pretty easy and quick to save a plant with this method. Let’s follow these steps:

  • Fill the containers with distilled water. It would be best to use room-temperature water since it doesn’t contain any dissolved compounds. Your plant won’t face any extra stress.
  • Let the water flow from the fruit and lemon trees.
  • Repeat the process four times to wash out all the excess fertilizers.

Use a garden hose

You can attach a garden hose to the plant’s bottom. Then, run the water just long enough to get a slow stream. 

Next, allow the water to pass through the soil surface and leach the nutrients past the plant’s root system by letting the hose go for a time.

Can Plants Recover From Over-Fertilizing?

Over-fertilization is possible, but it will take time for the plant to recover its full vitality. 

The lemon tree cultivated in containers may suffer from more harm than those planted in the ground. However, it is easier to save potted citrus trees.

The recovery ability of your plant also depends on how severe the signs of over-fertilizing are. The fewer symptoms your plant shows, the simpler it is to heal. 


Over-fertilization is more of an issue than under-fertilization. It may ruin your crop. Don’t worry! You can still apply some techniques to save your plants. 

Hopefully, you will find this article helpful. If you need any further information, don’t forget to leave questions in the comments.

Thank you for your interest in the article!

Related Articles:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *