Help with my Lime Tree!

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by BenJoeM, Jun 20, 2006.

  1. BenJoeM

    BenJoeM Member

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    Hello,

    I am very new here. I good friend of mine has had a Bearss Lime Tree in his office for about 2 years. And suddenly the leaves turned brown and dropped off. He was about to throw it away, but instead he gave it to me. So now it is in my office. Now there is a huge office pool on whether or not I can revive this tree. The tree was getting about a quart of water twice a week in the past. The water does drain out ok. The tree still looks green in many of the limbs and through the trunk but not through the entire tree.

    My feelings are to repot the tree with some new soil and fertilizer. Then start it on a good watering schedule. But I have no idea if this is good or not. I am determined to try and bring this tree back to life. Any ideas???

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    BenJoeM
     
  2. BabyBlue11371

    BabyBlue11371 Active Member

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    Do you have any photos of the tree??
    IF it still has green on trunk and branches there might be hope.. you will need to look at the roots and see if there is root damage.. also trim back till you have about 1/4-1/2 inch of black/ brown on a branch.. so if it is going more brown you will know by how much..
    Do not Fertilize the tree till it shows new growth.. Citrus should only be watered when the top 2-3 inches of soil are dry.. setting a "schedule" is hard.. if it more humid or less humid more sunny or less sunny these things will change how much water the tree will take up from the soil.. Not to mention if the tree is having a growth flush it will need more water and less when it is more dormant.. and Room temperature...
    Good luck..
    Gina *BabyBlue*
     
  3. BenJoeM

    BenJoeM Member

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    Thanks for the reply

    I haven't done anything yet but I do have some pictures:

    You can see on the knot that it is fairly green, and I haven't watered the tree in nearly a week and soil seems very moist still. In addition the limbs seem to be dryier and somewhat brittle.

    I was thinking my first step would be to cut off the bottom of the pot and check the roots. If they are still fine, then I will continue to repot. I though about using some growth stimulator or root stimulator as I repot to help with the growth, but nothing to strong, I don't want to shock it.

    Tell me what you think and thanks for the reply.
     

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  4. BabyBlue11371

    BabyBlue11371 Active Member

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    My money says it has bad bad root rot.. Does the water pool in the bottom of the outside container? if the pot sits in that and has not been raised that the roots probably have sat in water and is suffering root.. IF the tree recovers and you have to keep it in the decorative pot turn a saucer upside down for the ugly pot to sit on above any run off water..

    it is URGENT you get the roots out of the wet wet soil..

    I had a tree that suffered major root damage and was down to nothing but a stick I even threw it in a pile to go out to compost.. it sat in the pile for a few weeks no care.. when I went to take the pile out to the compost I had pity on it and stuck it back in a pot and stuck it in a shady spot in my yard.. with in a few weeks it started to bud and is now recovering nicely!! the trunk of the tree was still green and still had a couple of green branches but not one leaf when I stuck it in the pot and put it out side.. the only water it got was a few sprinkles..
    with no leaves and root damage a tree does not require much water at all.. I'm not going to tell you it will recover.. but I won't tell you it can't be done..
    the pictures I have provided here are taken about 4 months apart the last leaves dropped shortly after the one picture was taken.. a month or two before the first picture was taken I had trimmed the rot from the roots.. the other picture was taken just a few days ago..

    If you find that there is rot trim all of the mushy roots off and replant it in well draining soil and water only when the first 3 inches of soil are dry.. and make sure that the pot does not sit in the run off water.. and NO fertilizer till the plant shows new growth..
    Hope this helps.. Hopefully others will chime in with other helpful advice..
    Gina *BabyBlue*
     

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  5. BenJoeM

    BenJoeM Member

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    Well you are right...it has been sitting in a pot. Here is my new plan:

    Take it out, cut off the bottom of the pot and check the roots. Trim off the damage and repot it with no fertilizer. Then see what happens. Should I not use Root Stimulator or should I just repot it?

    And ideas for a soil?

    BenJoe
     
  6. BabyBlue11371

    BabyBlue11371 Active Member

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    I tried root stimulator and it didn't seem to help in my situation. But then it was still winter when I tried it.. The soil I repotted in after "throwing the tree away" did not have any additives.. Hopefully someone might jump in with some root DR advice..

    I can only tell you what soil mix I use.. not that it is the best but it seems to work well for me...
    I took a rubber storage tote and mixed one large bag of regular potting soil with a med bag of perilite, two small bags of orchid mix, and four-six small bags of cactus soil mix.. all from Wal-mart.. wish I had written down the lb sizes of the bags..
    I use the orchid mix because of the wood chunks and the cactus mix for it's sand content.. the bagged potting mixes seems more sterile than buying the desired product separately..

    My plant went probably around 3 weeks (maybe more) unwatered before I placed it outside.. but the place it was stored was fairly cool around 60-70* F, lightly humid and shaded. It didn't dry out completely..
    the roots were never left bare..
    Hope this helps!!!
    Good luck!!!!
    Gina *BabyBlue*
     
  7. BenJoeM

    BenJoeM Member

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    Ok,

    Today was surgery day. After an hour of slow evasive surgery, we found no root rot. No smells, no mold, nothing. Infact the roots looks very well. So I repoted it with some root stimulator and we will see what happens.

    I will keep you all posted.
     
  8. BabyBlue11371

    BabyBlue11371 Active Member

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    Ben,
    Could you post pictures of the tree since you have trimmed back the brown branches?
    I've looked over the photos you posted over and over.. Hard to tell if there is any green left in the branches.. But looks like green on the trunk..
    Have you noticed if the browning on the branches is continuing?
    Glad the roots are in good shape..
    Please do keep us posted...
    Good luck!!!!
    Gina *BabyBlue*
     
  9. BenJoeM

    BenJoeM Member

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    Hmm..

    I haven't trimmed the limbs yet. Should I? How far should I trim down?

    BenJoe
     
  10. BabyBlue11371

    BabyBlue11371 Active Member

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    I'd trim so that 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch of brown is showing.. this way you know if the brown is still expanding at a glance.. Brown parts will not recover.. If the brown is still expanding than it still has a problem that needs to be addressed..
    Green parts should put on new growth..
    Maybe some one more knowledgeable will jump in on other possibilities as to the cause of the problem.. I am perplexed that it wasn't rot..
    I have thought of maybe some thing might have been spilled in the pot on accident that didn't agree with the plant??..
    How long was the tree sick before ALL of the leaves dropped? If it was sudden like days it might be something like something spilled in the container.. but if it was weeks or months.. could be something else.. I know some one put something in one of my citrus pots.. it took less than two weeks and the entire tree was dead..
    Sorry I can't be more helpful.. I will e-mail some links that might be helpful..
    Gina *BabyBlue*
     
  11. BenJoeM

    BenJoeM Member

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    Thanks I will trim and send some pics
     
  12. BabyBlue11371

    BabyBlue11371 Active Member

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    Here is a picture I just took of my Cal orange that was almost dead.. My parents picked up the pot at a garage sale for $1!!!! It wasn't even realy used.. the previous owner put a container inside the pot to make it shorter.. What a deal!!! I had priced lot smaller pot same shape at nursery few days before.. very COSTLY!! and this one says made in Roma Italy!!! how cool is that?? It took me all of 5 seconds to deside that "Twiggy" was the tree that deserved the pot.. since it is clay it is heavy.. but I don't mind..
    Hope you have pics of happy recovering tree to share soon...
    Who won the office pool???
    Gina *BabyBlue*
     

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  13. BenJoeM

    BenJoeM Member

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    Well it is time for an update!

    Here are some new pictures of this tree. Many believed my tree was long gone! But check it out now!

    BenJoe
     

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  14. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    My Bearss lime has different looking leaves. They have a slightly serrated margin, and a short, stubby petiole - like the ones seen in this image. Also, the thorns are much shorter, almost insignificant. The fifth photo in your second post may be that of a graft. Could we be looking at the rootstock? In any case, your tree appears to be healthy and making a nice comeback. Congratulations. I'm curious to know too - what happened with the office pool?
     
  15. BenJoeM

    BenJoeM Member

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    Thanks for the post.

    You bring up some good questions. Like I said this tree was given to me and I was told it was a Bearss Lime tree and it had a tag on one of the branches. So naturally I assumed it was a bears lime tree. What kind of leaves to these look like? If it was grafted, the stump had died all the way to possible graft found on the pictures in my second post. I cut it from there. With my limited knowledge of rootstock I understand that it doesn't always need to be of the same species. Could this be some other citrus?

    This brings up some great conversation.

    The pool had two options, 1. When it would show life 2. When I would give up.

    If all bets passed and I never gave up, I won the cash the moment it should life. The final bet passed on November 12th. It started showing life December 2nd.

    Lots of fun.

    What kind of fertilizer do you use (if any) with your Bearss?

    How much sun do you give it?
     
  16. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    Congrats on the recovery and winning the pool!

    If it is the rootstock, one thing it is not is trifoliata-- they have three leaves or lobes to each leaf.

    Skeet
     
  17. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    I looked back at the earlier photo and it does look like the tree was grafted and the sprout is below the graft. When it gets a little bigger you can graft it again-- maybe even put several varieties on it. It is easy to do T-budding if you can get some budwood.

    As for fertilizer, the easiest thing is to use Osmocote 19-6-12 every 3-4 months. You will also need to add some trace minerals occasionally.

    Light-- I do not have much experience with growing indoors, but outside it is best if they get at least 6 hrs of direct sun a day. They will survive on less, but are more productive with at least 6. I remember a post about one growing under a carport with no direct sun--they had built the carport after the tree was planted.

    Skeet
     
  18. BenJoeM

    BenJoeM Member

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    Any Ideas from anyone what type of rootstock this could be?
     
  19. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I could be wrong about the leaves but they just don't look right to me. It might interest you to flip through Dr. Malcolm Manners' Citrus Identification Document (.doc).

    I use a 30-10-10 containing trace elements on my tree which is behind a large, south-facing window.
     
  20. BenJoeM

    BenJoeM Member

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    Thanks, in looking I believe this to be a sour orange rootstock. I found a few sites said this is a common rootstock.

    I wonder if this will bear fruit?!? I have learned alot, thanks. Any more advice or info.
     
  21. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    It should bear fruit given proper care and sufficient light-- the question is how long will it take? If the rootstock was grown from seed-- you are essentially starting over and it would probably take 8-10 years, however if the rootstock was a rooted cutting (from mature wood), it could bloom in just a year or so.

    Skeet
     
  22. BenJoeM

    BenJoeM Member

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    Hmm...Good to know. I have actually seen the roots and I am not sure how to tell if it was from seed or not. But I will just keep doing what I am doing.
     
  23. BenJoeM

    BenJoeM Member

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    Just an update for all, the tree is doing very well and has new leaves all the time. Will the trunk start to become thicker and stronger? Should I be worried it is getting too big and will start to fall over? Can I stabilize it?


    Oh and yes that is an autographed picture of Hulk Hogan behind the tree.
     

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  24. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    Indoors your tree will have a weak trunk unless you expose it to some wind from a fan (based on info from Millet).

    Glad to see you have rescued the tree from certain death--good job.

    Skeet
     
  25. BenJoeM

    BenJoeM Member

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    Thanks Skeet, I have a small office fan that I am going to use on it for a few hours each day.

    Also I have two new branches that are shooting out from the sides of the trunk; in addition to the first one. Do you think I should let these grow or clip them back. I don't want to take away from the original trunk but it is really wanting to thrive. There are at least three more wanting to come out in addition to this one.
     

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