Do Lemon Trees Have Invasive Roots? Stop Invasiveness!

If you are someone who uses a lot of lemons, planting your lemon tree very close to your house could be an advantage. However, is it safe to do so?

Generally, lemon tree roots are not known to be invasive. However, when situations call for it, their roots may become invasive. 

But, no need to be too worried about this as there are ways to contain the roots.

It is an ongoing process that will require you to start when your lemon tree is still small.

How a tree’s roots behave is sometimes purely based on survival. Roots may start to branch out in search of some resources. 

So, if you provide your lemon tree with whatever it needs throughout growth, it won’t become invasive. 

Don’t know what to plant next to your lemon tree? Here are the best and worst companion plants for lemon trees.

Why Do Lemon Tree Roots Become Invasive?

The roots of any tree may become invasive as a result of survival instincts. When resources aren’t available for a long time, the tree may take some drastic steps.

This for gardeners could end up being rather destructive! Here are some instances that lead to invasiveness.

Lack of Water

Water is one of the most important resources whose absence will undoubtedly cause problems for any plant. When your lemon trees are not provided with water for a long time, they will go out of their way to find it! 

Unfortunately, if they can sense water, they will pursue it at any cost! This could lead to damage to pipes or walls in the vicinity of your lemon trees. 

Lack of water is not the only time you might find your lemon tree’s roots wandering around. Sometimes insufficient water or just a water-greedy lemon tree could become a nuisance and invasive. 

Inadequate Space 

Lemon roots do not grow excessively deep. So you won’t need to give them much depth. However, the roots do spread around quite a bit! 

You will have to provide enough space for roots. An adult lemon tree should be planted 40 feet away from structures. Plant a dwarf-lemon tree 20 feet away from structures. 

When restricted, a growing lemon tree may have invasive roots.

How Deep are Lemon Tree Roots? 

Contrary to what people think, invasive roots are not determined by root depth. Roots can be equally invasive whether they are shallow or deep. 

A lemon tree’s feeder roots are heavily concentrated in the top section of the soil (2 feet); however, the drip line may extend to a depth of 40 feet for very old and large lemon trees!

The depth of a lemon tree is not a fixed quality and will greatly vary depending on the conditions. A few of these are as follows:

Tree Type

Is your lemon tree dwarf or regular-sized?

This does matter as it will definitely decide the root system’s structure. Obviously, dwarf lemon tree varieties will have roots that are less deep as compared to normal-sized lemon trees. 


The older a lemon tree is, the deeper the roots are bound to become.

This is the general rule. Young lemon trees will not have roots as deep as mature lemon trees. This is usually why younger lemon trees will not be giving much of a problem regarding root invasiveness!

Resources Provided

If a lemon tree is provided with everything it needs, including space, there is no reason for it to wander far from its taproot. It is usually a lack of resources that drives it to stray from its original place.

We hope that you are providing enough water to your lemon trees. But even if you are, a nutrient deficiency may be enough to induce invasive nature in lemon roots. This may result in damage to surrounding infrastructure as well. 

Can Lemon Trees Grow In Shade? Explained

How to Prevent Lemon Tree Roots From Becoming Invasive?

Having damage to infrastructure and foundations is the last thing you need. Rebuilding or having to remove an established lemon tree is both exhausting as well as expensive. But, luckily there are a few ways to tame your lemon tree’s roots.    

Keep Lemon Trees Away From Water Sources and Houses

Given the nature of lemon tree roots, it’s best to just not tempt them. Keep a reasonable distance of 10 to 20 feet between lemon trees and housing structures or anything with water for that matter. 

This will instantly reduce the chances of invasive roots uprooting or breaking through walls and other structures. 

Stick to Dwarf Lemon Tree Variants

Picking the right lemon tree to grow can just save you from invasive root problems. Dwarf lemon trees are smaller in size and so are their root systems.

If you have a small yard and cannot afford a decent spacing, dwarf lemon trees are most appropriate for you. 

These types of trees usually do not exceed a height of 6 feet. Furthermore, trimming lower branches at the end of fall can keep things compact and manageable.  

Grow Lemon Trees in Pots

Planting a lemon tree in a pot is a better idea. It allows you to control the roots by making them grow in circles rather than growing deep. But, be sure to keep the pot large enough to accommodate your growing lemon tree. 

Eventually, as your lemon tree grows you will have to swap out the pot as well as the soil to suit its needs. 

Check out the best lemon tree potting mix.  


Lemon tree roots have a tendency of doing what they need to do to survive and thrive! So, this includes spreading its roots and becoming invasive in some instances. 

When lemon tree roots become invasive, it could result in the destruction of property. But, this can be expensive to repair and correct.

Also, it takes time and effort. Fortunately, you can use the following tips to avoid lemon roots becoming invasive:

  • Plant your lemon tree away from structures (houses, water tanks, and pipes).
  • Choose dwarf lemon tree variants.
  • Place your lemon trees in pots. 

Doing this should be able to keep your lemon tree’s roots from becoming invasive and out of control!  


How far do lemon tree roots spread?

Planting your lemon trees 40 feet away (for mature full-sized trees) and 20 feet away (for dwarf lemon trees) should suffice. On average, their roots can spread between 10 and 20 feet. This of course can differ based on tree variant and other conditions. 

Can you plant a lemon tree close to your house?

Planting your lemon tree behind your house is a good idea given their intolerance towards the wind. However, planting them too close to the house is not a good idea at all! If they lack resources, they could damage your house while trying to get resources.