Meyer Lemon Tree dropped most leaves

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by Kitchenchick, Jan 27, 2017.

  1. Kitchenchick

    Kitchenchick New Member

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    Help! I live in NY and purchased my Meyer Lemon tree in July. It was doing great, flowering and had a few small lemons on it. It did beautifully outdoors on my deck and grew a few more lemons. We also repotted it and all was well.
    In anticipation of the winter I started to bring it into the shade trying to acclimate it to its new indoor environment in November. Once I brought it indoors it was doing fine. A few weeks after being inside it dropped a few leaves. I figured that would happen. Then any little buds on it started turning black and died off. All the while, the lemons that were on the tree were doing wonderfully and growing well. Well now it's the end of January and there are about 10 leaves left on it! Researching it onlne I have fertilized, watered when dry to my second knuckle and have recently bought a fluorescent light to give it light 8-10 hrs a day.
    It has quite a few little lies around it and I have yellow sticky strips in the soil to trap them. I had to put the foil around the pot because my dog kept taking the traps out and eating them!!
    There are still a few lemons on it that are healthy, just not turning yellow as quickly as they were.
    What could be the problem :(
    Thank you for your input
    Ps. I have attached 2 pics (I hope lol)
     

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  2. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Contributor 10 Years

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    The method of watering you described seems reasonable. However the presence of fungus gnats (flies) indicates there is too much moisture in the soil. Is it possible that the soil is heavy and compacted such that it remains wet for an extended period after watering? If that is the case, then the tree is susceptible to root rot, which would explain the slight wilting of some leaves in the photos. The fungus gnats will also damage the roots to some degree. If possible, ease the tree out of the container and check on the health of the root system. However I'm not sure root rot would result in blackened growth. I've had that happen once and I believe it was caused by low humidity levels.

    Is the tree exposed to drafts or extreme temperatures? Aside from the fungus gnats are there other pests present? Is there any stickiness under the tree?
     
  3. Kitchenchick

    Kitchenchick New Member

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    Thanks for responding! I will try to lift it out of its pot tomorrow when my husband is home. It is very possible there's too much moisture. As a matter of fact I just noticed that the drip tray under it has water in it and I haven't watered it since last weekend. It must be still draining. The pot is pretty deep so maybe its giving me a false finger reading lol.
    I guess I will know if the roots look rotted when I pick it up? The tree itself still is green and looks pretty healthy.

    Right now the tree is near the back deck door where we let the dogs outside. The room itself is generally kept at 64-65* fahrenheit. I tried different places in the house trying to find more sunlight but I just don't have a south facing window. Where it is gets the most sun daily.

    On the remaining leaves I can see a few sporadic white specs, aphids?? Not too many though.

    I really don't have a green thumb but am hoping this will make it. If not I am willing to buy another one in the summer to hopefully do it the second time correctly!
     
  4. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Contributor 10 Years

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    An over-sized pot will tend to retain moisture for longer periods. It's best to use a proper sized container. Instead of the finger probe, consider using the container lift method to determine the amount of moisture. Lift the container after it has been well watered and use that as a reference on whether irrigation is required. Rotted roots should be evident as they will be soft and mushy. Healthy roots are firm and have light colored tips. If you choose to repot, consider using a medium that is more porous. Typical peat-based mixes can be amended with medium sized bark chips and perlite or calcined clay to improve drainage. Citrus will do better in such a medium.

    The temperature should be all right as long as it's consistently in that range. Night time temperature may go lower as the plant is placed next to a window. Citrus is known to suffer leaf drop when a tree with cold roots is exposed to light.

    White specks? Are they alive? I assumed the flies were black when I said fungus gnats. Perhaps you also have a white fly infestation.
     
  5. Kitchenchick

    Kitchenchick New Member

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    We lifted the tree and the roots seemed ok. They weren't soft or anything. The soil was very damp, not necessarily wet but definitely dark. Yeah, I am assuming this soil is too heavy and that it was ok outside because the sun was drying it out in between waterings.
    Yes, the tiny flies are black.
    As far as the little white specks, they were dried up when I saw them and I don't see anymore on my 10 leaves that I have left! There is no sign of any pests on the branches themselves.
    I am going to order some perlite from amazon tonight. I will look into calcined clay.
    Someone was telling me that in the winter I don't need to water as much, now especially since I have next to no leaves.
    In the meantime I am going to take one of these beautiful lemons and make myself a rum and coke right now!
    Thanks so much for your help!
     

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  6. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Contributor 10 Years

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    You can find calcined clay under the name Turface. Don't over do it with perlite as it tends to float to the surface when used in large amounts. I highly recommend adding bark chips to the mix.
    Good advice. Keep watering to the bare minimum and do not fertilize until the tree shows signs of recovery. At this point, you''ll want to give the tree as much light as possible. Also, it would help to keep the root zone warm. This can be done by wrapping a string of small incandescent Christmas lights around the container, keeping in mind not to over do it with the heat.
     
  7. Kitchenchick

    Kitchenchick New Member

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    Thanks for all of your help! Hopefully in the spring I can show you a healthy, thriving tree!
     

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