What makes lemons malformed?

Our lemon tree is over 30 years old. There are 2 different varieties of lemons on the tree nearly year round. One is thinner skinned and very juicy and the other is quite large, thick-skinned, and sometimes misshapen. Often a normal-appearing lemon will be bad when I cut into it, with black, moldy-looking fruit inside or fruit that has a pinkish color and tastes "off".

Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

We've come up with two potential causes of your lemon problems, but it's tough to diagnose. The first idea we had is citrus thrips. They're a tiny insect that cause scabby, streaked, and deformed fruit. But generally you'll also see brown or gray curled leaves. Tap a branch over a clean white sheet of paper and look for tiny insects. If you see tiny brown sliver-shaped things crawling around, you've got citrus thrips. They can be treated with insecticides labeled for citrus trees or predatory mites available from insectaries. The second idea is cold damage. It can cause the fruit to look normal on the outside and dry on the inside, but it can also cause sunken lesions on the rinds. Generally, though, you'd notice withered foliage when the cold weather strikes.

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