Unhappy Meyer Lemon Tree

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by ssilver, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. ssilver

    ssilver Member

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    I have a Meyer Lemon Tree I bought about a month ago. It was all happy and healthy when I bought it. BUT it is now losing leaves at a steady rate. I have watered it when it is dry about 3 inchs down in the soil. It is sitting in front of a great window. It gets wonderful light all day, and at night I slide it over so that it won't get cold drafts.
    I have not fertilized it yet. It is full of blooms ( dozens and dozens). They are not dropping yet. It had 2 huge lemons on it. I have already picked one. The other is not ready quite yet. Help, what am I doing wrong?
     
  2. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Rising Contributor 10 Years of Activity

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    Your treatment of the plant sounds reasonable. A description of the condition of the leaves would be helpful. (e.g. Are they yellowing? Have dry edges?) The tree should be fed on a regular basis with a high nitrogen fertilizer such as 30-10-10. Although at this time of year, when growth is slower, you may want to reduce the rate or feed at half-strength.

    You mentioned cold drafts but didn't say whether the room is heated or not. Citrus enters dormancy at 13C/55F which may pose a problem if the room experiences wide temperature fluctuations. If the roots are at or below this temperature as the room heats up, they will not pump the moisture necessary to cool the leaves and they drop as a result.

    Have a look at the thread I maybe killing my grapefruit tree | UBC Botanical Garden Forums in which I mention conditions in which I have had success with citrus.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015
  3. ssilver

    ssilver Member

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    Thanks for your reply. The leaves are exactly the way they are on the tree. Not dried or yellow. Very soft dark green and normal, just on the floor! The tree is in our heated home. Central air, not near any of the vents. Out home is 68 degrees during the day and at night 62 degrees.
    It looks very healthy otherwise. It is about 2 feet high about the dirt. Probably at least 2 dozen blooms. I picked one of the lemons that was ready, one is not quite ready to pick but nice and yellow. The lemons are huge, about the size of my fist.
    The first 2 weeks I had it I watered it about once a week. I take it to my laundry room
    sink and use the hose to water thoroughty. (The soil, not the foliage.)Let it drain a while and then put it back in its normal spot. This past week after only 3 days it was dry again 3 inchs down in the soil. So I watered the same way again, but I went back and saturated it a second time and let it drain then put it back in its normal place.
    If it doesn't stop this soon I may just take my chances and plant it outside.
    I have a friend 15 minutes away from me that grows them in his yard and has lemons year round.
    It does from time to time get down to freezing here, so I don't know how he does it.
     
  4. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Rising Contributor 10 Years of Activity

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    Maybe this is what people mean when they say Meyer trees are tempermental. Do the fallen leaves retain the leaf stem? If yes, it's normal leaf drop otherwise it's a sign of plant stress. Sounds like the root system is healthy though if the soil is drying up in 3 days which also suggests the plant is quite active. How about the humidity? 40-50% RH would be good. I don't know what else to suggest other than to give it some liquid fertilizer. BTW, I should have mentioned earlier that it's important that the fertilizer include trace elements. The only other thing I can think of is to pull the tree out of the pot and make sure the bottom portion of the soil isn't soggy when the top is dry - you probably already know they need good drainage.

    I'm not sure it's a good idea to plant it outside under the circumstances. Good luck.
     
  5. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years of Activity

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    Your tree's problem is more than likely in the "soil". Take the temperature of the growing medium first thing in the morning, using a SOIL THERMOMETER, and then let us know what the root zone temperature is. Soil thermometers have a 6 or 8 inch probe that gives the actual root zone temperature. Even though your tree is setting in a 62F room, the soil temperature will be cooler because of evaporation. - Millet
     
  6. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Rising Contributor 10 Years of Activity

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    Good point, Millet. Thanks for noting that detail. I didn't pick up on it earlier but central heating is known to reduce humidity to dangerously low levels. Worth checking out with a hygrometer.
     

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