Some lemon trees can handle Maryland winters

garden q&a

December 27, 2008|By Ellen Nibali and Jon Traunfeld | Ellen Nibali and Jon Traunfeld,Special to The Baltimore Sun

I've had a lemon tree growing by my driveway in Southern Maryland for at least five years. It's 20 feet tall and bore fruit for the first time this summer. Obviously it can withstand snow, freezing temperatures and drought. The lemons are mostly large and delicious. Isn't this unusual in Maryland?

Lemon trees are classified as tropical. They normally need to be placed indoors as protection against Maryland's winters. However, a couple of cultivars are hardy down to 17 degrees, namely, Meyer and Lisbon.

We have had several mild winters in a row. Be prepared to protect your lemon tree should a severe winter arrive.

Ellen Nibali, a horticulture consultant, works at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, and Jon Traunfeld is the director of the Home and Garden Information Center. The center offers free gardening advice and information to Maryland residents. You can call the center's help line at 800-342-2507 (8 a.m.-1 p.m. Mondays-Fridays) or you can e-mail plant and pest questions at hgic.umd.edu. Attach a digital photograph, if possible.

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