My Son planted a lemon tree in his yard about 10 years ago. Somewhere along the way of becoming a big tree it now appears to be producing lemons on the lower part of the tree and big oranges on the upper part. Problem is the oranges are nasty. They are big and orange with a deformed looking skin. The inside is white and very sour. It’s such a big healthy tree we hate to do away with it but the fruit it produces is worthless.
Within about 50 ft from this tree is another much smaller orange tree that produces very good oranges. Don’t know if that had any significant??

Any suggestions on fixing the big nasty orange tree???

  • 2
    Welcome! Sounds like something went wrong with grafting. Can we get a picture of the tree and - if you can find it - the place(s) where it was grafted, please?
    – Stephie
    Commented Dec 12, 2018 at 5:57
  • Some kind of lemon/orange hybrid sounds awesome!
    – Rob
    Commented Dec 12, 2018 at 21:04
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    Either the tree is grafted and you've got sucker growth, or there's been some genetic reversion or blip in the upper parts... if the oranges are growing off particular branches, especially if they all come from one main branch, I'd cut back to get rid of that part and just leave the lemon producing parts behind, if that doesn't create something too hideous to look at.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Dec 13, 2018 at 0:53

1 Answer 1


Based on your description of the problem, I agree it must be a lemon tree which was grafted onto an "orange tree" root.

That type of grafting is very common for citrus trees.

It's not a freak of nature nor does it have any relationship to the orange trees near by.

To "fix" the problem, you simply need to cut off (cut back) the part of the tree which is producing the "oranges".

You could prune it back slowly to keep a "nicer looking tree", or you could do some heavy pruning to remove most/all of the part of the tree that is growing the "oranges".

Note: one other idea would be to just leave the "orange tree" branches alone. You could take off the fruit once it started appearing on the tree. There would be some benefits to this method including:

  • increased bee visitation to the tree
  • greater photosynthesis by the tree

The "oranges" being produced by the tree do take up some of the nutrients that you are providing to the tree (I'm assuming you fertilize it periodically).

In conclusion, it sound like a pretty cool tree to me and I might just prune back the "orange tree" portion a bit, and maybe try to find some use for the horrible "oranges".

Hope this helps.

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