Lemon Tree?

I have a old concrete septic system tank that was filled in with dirt and sand. It was filled in when they installed a new system. It is in a perfect spot to plant a lemon tree since it would be protected from the north by the house. Would three be any problems planting a tree in the old septic tank? Also what type of lemon would you recommend? I live in Zone 8A and it drops to the upper 20’s during the winter here. I can build a greenhouse around it to protect it from the worst cold fairly easily. Lemon is about the only tree I don’t have already that I would like to grow except for grapefruit but I think it would get too cold for them here.

I’d plant there if a favorable spot as it seems to be. There could be issues with residues leftover from it’s past life. But I’m of the mind that uptake into the fruit of such things is very small.

I’m not a lemon grower but many think Meyer the best lemon.

Grapefruit does require high heat and not just summer. That’s why the lower valley has such good grapefruit. It’s in the 70s even in winter down there.

This guy has offerings that may grow in somewhat cold areas. Brady

I think your location is Texas though,insteng?In that case they can’t be sent there,but there is some information on the site about the plants.Maybe one of them can be picked up elsewhere.

I’d vouch for Stan, the guy who owns McKenzie Farms. He raises and sells good trees at good prices, and knows his stuff when it comes to cold hardiness and citrus. All my best citrus came from him - along with my fuzzy kiwis and pineapple guava. I meant to call him today to see if he’d be available tomorrow so I could pick up some more. I guess I’ll have to wait until next week.

@insteng - Jeff, lemon trees are one of the more cold sensitive citrus. I’m also in a zone 8A, and I think that by definition 8a means that the lowest expected overnight temps are in the lower teens, not upper 20’s. Most years we don’t get into the lower teens here, but we have had a few episodes of overnight lows in that range both this winter and last. I’m waiting until my satusmas get more mature before I put them in ground. If I lived in an area that really did only have lows in the upper 20’s, I would do what you’re thinking of with a lemon, especially if it was easy enough to build protection around it during cold weather. If you are in TX, you will probably have to purchase your citrus in-state, preferably from a nearby source. I wish you good luck getting your tree growing well.

Thanks for the replies. I might give it a try if it doesn’t grow right I can always plant one at my house in Houston. It doesn’t get as cold here.

Meyer should be good to 18F once mature (at least 4 years).

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if you have night time lows that dip into the 20’s for more than just a few hours you wont have much luck keeping a lemon alive without protection. Yes its true that a lot of citrus can survive temps that dip that low but only for a short period of time. you will have to find something local as your state cannot import citrus. Your plan of building a structure is a good one. I am in Tulsa and I plan to plant a few of my citrus in the ground with a hoop house structure over them that I can put the plastic on in fall and remove in spring.

Yes I figure it will be too cold to grow without protection in the winter. It will drop to the lower 20’s a couple times a year usually but it will have protection from the house. If it doesn’t make it I can always plant one at my house in Houston. I had Oranges and Tangerines at my old house there that grew to be about as tall as the house almost. I just want one in the country since I plan on retiring there later.

From what I have read, Meyers Lemon is about the most cold hardy, although mine stay inside in the winter so I can’t confirm that.

One concern may be drainage. Most cisterns/septic do not have water outlets at the bottom, only the top. So if your old tank was filled with dirt then leveled off to soil level, it might collect water in heavy rains, with no place for that water to drain out. Unless of course you put a few drain holes in the bottom of the tank before filling it with dirt.

It still has the old lateral lines coming out of the side so it will only fill up so far and then drain the water off. The tree seems to be doing great so far. If the water starts becoming a problem I can dig it up and move it to another area.