Meyer Lemon Lost it's Leaves

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by Davidgriffiths, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. Davidgriffiths

    Davidgriffiths Active Member

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    I have several Meyer Lemons, all in doors, in similar parts of the house.

    The largest is in a slightly larger pot, and the smallest is in a smaller pot.

    The smaller is about to bloom, and is doing reasonably well.

    The larger has dropped all it's leaves - they were dry and curled up when they came off.

    Both plants have a similar watering schedule, but I've noticed that the water runs out of the pot much faster on the Meyer that's lost it's leaves.

    Both are in exactly the same potting mix - compost, coconut husk and were potted at exactly the same time.

    Neither plants are against a cold window, and the lemon that's lost it's leaves actually gets a bit less sunlight. I don't think it's cold roots and warm leaves.

    Any suggestions?

    I'd like to try to re-pot the Meyer, but I'm afraid it would finish it off.

    I was hoping to plant it outside, but temps here are 8 celcius for highs, and 1 celcius for lows, which I think might be too much for the plant.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    My experience, is patience, but if the large plant is drying up, check the root system for vigor and overall health. It you have mold or rot in the coir, it may have become a systemic issue. I almost never use chemicals to fend off disease, but that is my own approach, which does not work for others. Therefore one option, which requires, washing the roots, (one exception is a fungicide mixture for the roots) and repotting from scratch. If not, then fertilize and prepare to transplant into the garden by late April or early May. I brought my citrus indooors on Dec. 16th, since the deep freeze, and none of them suffered, the Meyer stayed in the garage, and is very healthy, but no blooms, the rest are indoors which resulted in the usual scale and sticky sap build up. If the tree isn't diseased or dying, it may easily come back during the summer. I hope this helps.
     
  3. Davidgriffiths

    Davidgriffiths Active Member

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    Thanks for the reply

    How would I check the roots for vigor and health? I have always had an aversion to exposing roots - like I'd have an aversion to exposing my brain.

    No chemicals, other than horticultural oil. I had some spider mites earlier this year (as an FYI, the Eyclops toy is amazing - I could see them crawling around), but it was on both plants, and again, only one suffered.

    I'll check the roots after I investigate. If the tree does appear ot be drying out, I might need to take it outside and give it a good soaking, then bring it back in.

    We need some 14 degree weather so I can just put it out, up against the foundation, and get a little greenhouse for it in the winter.

     
  4. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years of Activity

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    I answered your other post first. In this post I see that the Meyer having trouble, has a medium with rapid drainage. This is the opposite problem, to a tree growing in a container with poor drainage. If the water pass through is so rapid that the coconut husks do not have a chance to absorb enough water, then, of course, the roots cannot supply the tree's foliage with the required amount water to accommodate the leaf transpiration. Fortunately, this problem is not as bad as a medium with poor drainage. To over come an excessive pass through, soak the entire container in a larger tub of water (with, or without fertilizer). Leave the tree soak for 2-5 minutes. This will saturate the CHC medium. Then keep a check to make sure that the roots do not become to dry. NOTE: It is not over watering that kills a container tree, it is low soil oxygen, caused by over watering a tight and poor draining medium that kills a tree. It is VERY DIFFICULT to over water a porous CHC medium. What size husk did you use, and what is the mixture of the medium. - Millet (1,399-)
     
  5. Davidgriffiths

    Davidgriffiths Active Member

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    Thanks for the response. I've read this response, and the one in the previous thread.

    This is what has me stumped:

    The plant is about 10 months old, and was fine until about a month ago. I don't recall changing anything.

    The main component of the medium is coir, not CHC.

    If I dig my finger an inch down, it's damp. I put about 2/3rds a litre on per week. Every couple of weeks I do a fertilizer mix, using a fish-based fertilizer that's pretty close to 5-1-3 (2 tsp per liter of water).

    As best as I can remember, the drainage pattern has changed. I used to be able to water more, and it wouldn't overflow the bottom of the container.

    Anyway, I will try soaking it. I think I need a medium change regardless - Lee Valley sells CHC, and I read your posts on soaking for a day, with some epsom salts.

    I am curious about an outside planting, tho.

    I'd love to have a lemon plant outside. I can plant it against the foundation. Costco sells an up-against-the-house greenhouse for the fall, winter, and early spring when temps dip down to the 30's and 40's Fahrenheit - I can also put straw down over the topsoil to help insulate it.

    I have a couple of concerns - soil in the ground is not that airy. I can do CHC etc, but it will break down over time. In the winter, we occasionally get arctic air - cold, but sunny. I am concerned about cold roots and dropping leaves.

    Any thoughts?

    I appreciate the response.

    David

     
  6. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years of Activity

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    Adding 2/3rds of a liter per week can cause serious problems, with high soluble salts, especially the larger the container. The longer a container is watered in this manner the worse the problem becomes. When a container is watered, the container needs to be watered throughly, with enough water so that at least 10 percent of it passes through the medium and drains out the bottom. This helps to flush out the soluble salts. In addition, all containers need to be throughly flushed 2 - 3 times a year with clean clear water in the amount of 4 times the volume of the container. Fertilizers, both organic and inorganic, are noted for their potentially high salt content. (the term doesn't refer to table salt, but describes the results of a chemical reaction occurring when acid compounds react with alkaline compounds.) Soluble salts come from the fertilizers applied, and also from having a water source that contains higher levels of salt compounds. When applying irrigation water in small amounts (hoping not to over water) so that not enough is being flushed out the bottom drainage holes, salts accumulate in the root zone with each and every watering. Salt concentration also rises as your soil becomes drier. If a lot of water has been evaporating from your soil surface, you may actually see white salt crystals on the soil surface. Remember it is not over watering that causes a problem, it is poor drainage that causes the problem.

    Symptoms of Salt Damage:
    1. Leaf tips and leaf margins brown.
    2. Leaf drop
    3. Slow growth
    4. Root damage
    5. If soluble salt continues a surface buildup of white powdery residue.

    If you plant your tree outside, you do not need to worry about soil aeration, most soil have adequate aeration. You also DO NOT want to amend the soil. Only dig a hole just large enough to hold the root ball, and back fill using ONLY the soil that you dug. Do not add any amendments. Make a soil ring to hold the irrigation water. You will need to protect your tree several time a year when the temperatures fall below 28F, or below 32F for any considerable time. Christmas lights and a covering of some type work well. Talk to GregN on this forum. He has many citrus trees outside in the ground in North Vancouver. Meyer lemons are quite cold hardy. - Millet (1,398-)
     
  7. Davidgriffiths

    Davidgriffiths Active Member

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    I gave it a soak earlier tonight, letting the water run through. Here's what's weird -the water pooled on the surface, and all these tiny white worms appeared. I've attached a picture - fungus gnats? That would imply soil that is too damp.

    I also notice that the branches, while green, are brittle. Not nearly as supple as my other plant.

    I am still waiting on a reply from GregN on planting outside (private message). In the meantime, anyone want to provide an opinion on the likelihood of this plant coming back in either a CHC/coir mixture, or outside?

    David



     

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