Q. We have a lemon tree which is about five to six years old. It has been giving us a very good quantity of lemons for some time now. Recently, its leaves have started drying out. Most of the leaves are curling and falling out. This plant is in our house in Karachi. Can you please let us know what we can do to stop it? Does it require any type of pesticide or some sort of fertiliser? Your help in this regard will be greatly appreciated.

A. Nothing to worry about, this is all part of growing lemons at home. Lemon plant leaves are generally susceptible to extremes of temperature. In case of scorching heat or a quick fall in temperature - especially during winters - leaves of lemon plants may start curling up. Sometimes but very rarely, pests and insects may attack the plant, resulting in the leaves curling. This is especially true when it comes to leaf curl attack. Excessive watering can also cause leaf curling in citrus plants.

Firstly, you need to ascertain the exact cause of the leaf curl. Usually in Karachi, summers or extreme heat is primarily the main cause of curling leaves. The plant should be provided shade with the application of green net overhead. Humidity, in this case, should be corrected with repeated misting of the plant. Pest attack may be identified with bitten or pest marked leaves, in which case you may remove the pests with a stick. After complete removal, spray the leaves and the undersides of the leaves with an organic pesticide such as neem oil after every 10 to 15 days, till the complete removal of the pest is ensured. In case of excessive watering, you would need to adjust your watering quantity as per the weather and also ensure following a strict schedule.

Q. Your article published in Eos, on the impressive health benefits of karelas doesn't mention a single health benefit. Please send me the details of all benefits.

A. Thank you for your email. Please note that the article was primarily focused on how the readers can easily grow bitter gourd vines at their home by sowing seeds. It discussed the entire process till the eventual harvest, the fertilisers required and the growing tips, all included. It was mentioned that bitter gourd has lots of health benefits. Due to the word limitation of the section, we cannot incorporate detailed discussion of each and every aspect of an individual herb, flower, vegetable, fruit or any other plantation in a single article. Rest assured, your suggestion has...

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