I'm on my 2nd lemon tree. I live in Melbourne, Australia and lemon trees are the norm around here. I suspect my first one died as it outgrew its pot, which was half the size of this one. I'm currently renting, so need to keep it in a pot until I buy then I'll plant it in the ground.

Bearing in mind it is Winter here, I spotted that the leaves are beginning to wilt and also have spots of white which then end up being holes. They look a little like burn marks, but I have not been watering in the sun nor has it been too sunny recently.

Any ideas on how to save this tree before its too late? Lemon tree and pot Close up of leaves showing damage Another close up of the leaves

  • looking at your photos & reading about "Greasy Spot" here: citrus-tree-care.com/care-insects-and-disease.html - could that be the problem (in its early stage)?
    – Mike Perry
    Jul 18, 2011 at 23:31
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    hmm, not sure. There is no greasy spot signs, id expect one of the symptoms to include the fact that the spots have a white-ash like texture before turning into a hole
    – jakc
    Jul 19, 2011 at 0:19
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    ok! how about any of the other pest/diseases listed in that article? Also have a read through: citrus-tree-care.com/care.html & citrus-tree-care.com/care-potted-citrus.html -- you may discover you're not doing something quit right, and simply correcting that will have the effect of bringing your Lemon tree back to health...
    – Mike Perry
    Jul 19, 2011 at 2:12

1 Answer 1


I'm in Adelaide so a similar zone. My citrus gets similar holes in the leaves and I don't know what's causing it -- looks like something is eating it, but whatever it is it's not actually causing the tree a problem in my case. Sorry this isn't definitive, but just saying it might not be the main problem the tree is facing.

Two other things that could be the problem, based on your picture.

  1. Pot not big enough: When I bought a lime tree for a friend the recommendation was it go in a half wine barrel or similar-sized container so that pot looks tiny. It's possible it's become root bound and/or not getting enough nutrients (eg. nitrogen) purely due to not having access to a larger amount of soil.

  2. Lack of sunlight: It's winter so is it getting enough? Is that wall it's next to casting a shadow towards the south? If so can you move it to a better position.

One other thing. It looks like you have a little sucker growing out below the graft in the first picture (not sure). That is basically useless for bearing lemons (and taking energy that would otherwise go to other branches) so I'd rip it off. No point cutting it nicely or it might try and grow back. Just rip it off to damage the sprouting point so it never comes back.

UPDATE: The holes appear to match pictures of snail-eaten holes. See http://www.flickr.com/photos/elaren/505383444 and http://cinnamonvision.blogspot.com/2011/03/common-citrus-pests.html

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