Lemon Tree Help

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by bender, Aug 19, 2010.

  1. bender

    bender Member

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    Location:
    newmarket, ont, canada
    Hello,
    I am having a problem with my lemon tree and I hope I can get help
    here.
    I am not sure what kind of lemon it is. It was grown from a branch
    off a tree from my fathers house in Italy. It is 38 yrs old and was my
    dads baby. He passed away 2 years ago and I took the tree rather than
    let it die.

    It has been inside my store for the past 2 years,in front of a

    window and very seldom gets outside (its on wheels). It is potted in a

    wooden barrel. I have had problems all along with scale bugs and

    spider mites. Have used Safer soap to try and control them.

    Recently it was suggested to me that the soil may need to be changed

    as it was at least 2 years since this was done. I removed about 5

    inches wide ,all around the pot to the bottom and cut back the roots to

    try and shock it into growing some new branches.I also wheeled it to an

    area where it could get some natural light and open air.

    It has been about 3 weeks quite a few of the leaves have fallen

    off. Some of the upper branches seem to be dieing. There are a lot of

    new leaves growing , but they seem to be disfigured as they are growing

    with a kind of curl at the tips and end up cupped.

    I am a complete spaz when it comes to growing things but I would

    really like to keep this plant alive. Any help or advice you could give

    me would be greatly appreciated .

    I do have a number of pictures if they would help.
     
  2. Fen Sandar

    Fen Sandar Active Member

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    Location:
    Peoria, IL USA
    The root trimming can cause some dying back with plants at first, but usually my plants in general (my citrus are in 3 inch pots at the moment so I haven't done this to them at this time) do not produce new growth until they have started to establish some new roots. You should post some pictures - if you have before-and-afters even better.

    If people can see what is going on, they are more likely to have answers they can post.

     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2010
  3. bender

    bender Member

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    Thanks for replying. I will attatch some pictures.

    I would also like to add that the soil seems to be growning some kind of white mould on top. Sometimes I find a sticky substance on the leaves.
    Is there any way to spur or force new branches to grow ?
     

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  4. saltcedar

    saltcedar Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Use a systemic such as Cygon
    on the scale, soil fungus is harmless.
    The soap may be damaging the leaves.
    Let the rain wash out the spray residues.
     
  5. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Insecticidal soap will not harm the tree in any way. However it has to be applied every 7-10 days in order to be effective against scale and mites as it does not act on eggs. Likewise adult scale, the ones with the shell, should be physically removed before spraying. Eradication of the two pests should be fairly easy in this case as there is not much foliage to prevent complete coverage of plant surfaces using the spray. I would hesitate to use a systemic if the fruit is to be consumed. Look for early clues of the presence of the pests, tiny specks of sticky honeydew in the case of scale and single strands of webbing for mites. Both are normally easily seen on leaf surfaces given the right light conditions, long before the pests themselves can be seen.

    Mold on the soil surface may indicate the soil is not porous enough and is retaining moisture for too long. A porous medium should be used such that it is quick to drain and has enough minute air pockets in which to allow the roots to breath. This topic has been mentioned many times in the citrus forum. You may want to spend some time reading through past postings.

    Time spent outside would benefit the tree but will expose it to possible infestation of pests. A south facing window would be best while it is indoors. Otherwise choose one that the best light.

    You may want to consider rooting some cuttings to ensure the continuity of the tree. Lemon cuttings are very easy to root.
     
  6. saltcedar

    saltcedar Rising Contributor 10 Years

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  7. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I'm not aware of any phytotoxic effect of insecticidal soap on citrus trees. Mine have not shown any damage after repeated usage over the years. The water is soft in my area and I only apply the soap in shade. I can't attest to its effect on stressed trees.
     
  8. Fen Sandar

    Fen Sandar Active Member

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    Also if it has the fungus it probably means you need ta take it easy on the watering for at least the duration of your treatment process. Only water when the soil is dry to the depth of the first knuckle on your finger (about 3/4 to 1 inch depth). If your tree starts looking the worse for less watering, citrus do love to be misted with a spray bottle.

    Powdered cinnamon will work to kill the mold if it is only on the top of your soil - but if it is caused by over-watering rather than soil drainage, you need to let your pots dry out some. Also canola oil rubbed on leaves suffocates some bugs such as mites and gnats(I started spraying a little squirt bottle of water that has about a teaspoon of canola and 3 teaspoons of rubbing alcohol to cut back on the mites which invaded when I put my little plants outside and it has done wonders for getting rid of tiny flying insects that eat leaves on top of helping with the mites on my leaves...they stick to the leaf and suffocate with a very thin coat - ty to photopro for the awesome tip in dealing with spider mites!).

    If you are already using the soap and it is not working out well then I would go with saltcedar's method for quick eradication if you don't mind taking the fruit off before treatment or simply not eating it. It is most likely less of a hassle for maintenance of treatments. Sometimes soap applications can wear off before the larvae's hatching cycle starts again or ends - and the soap won't kill the adult females so you will need to get them off before you spray since they lay their eggs underneath their protective covering.

    Alternatively, if you do not want to use any sort of chemicals, you can start looking for all those weird bumps, scraping them off the tree, then washing the tree really well with something other than dish soap (my dish soap has proved to be toxic to citrus hence why you may not want to use yours on your tree). Also paper towel with a little bit of oil mixed with some rubbing alcohol! Oil those leaves and stems lightly after you wash the plant (I've heard that NEEM works great on insects, but canola seems to work well enough on mites, so I don't know which would be better for your budget/problem combination) - it will allow you to rub off any remaining eggs and larvae and put a coat of something that suffocates them if you miss any on your plant. This method will require you to do maintenance every day or two with that paper towel though because you will most likely need to clean off any bugs that remain or return every day or so. This may not completely control your problem though, so unless you want to do A LOT of work with your tree to keep the bugs down, choose one of the other methods suggested and try it.

    It may take some time for results regardless of which you pick so try to be patient and you will still want to remove any adult female scale that you see (the weird bumps that actually scratch off).

    Take those cutting to root from the branches that seem to have the fewest problems because you don't want to have to treat your new plants as harshly if you can help it. Also if those lemons have seeds in them, growing citrus from seed is great fun (I have yet to determine in my experiments if removing the seed coat or leaving it on makes for a healthier plant - although removing it certainly makes for a quicker sprouting one). The lemons you get from a seedling may or may not be the same exact thing as what you would have gotten from the parent plant(s) as only some of the sprouts that come up are clonal.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2010
  9. saltcedar

    saltcedar Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Oops! Just noticed those burnt tips are classic symptoms of
    Calcium deficiency! I never see that in Texas where we have
    500 feet(~150m) of Limestone under our lakes, rivers and wells.
    Drainage issues can exacerbate Calcium availability, so
    investigate that as well.
     

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