Persian lime tree help

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by Eric Canada, Jan 6, 2019.

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  1. Eric Canada

    Eric Canada New Member

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    I need help saving my persian lime tree. I recently purchased this and transplanted it immediately. the last few days after a heavy water, I noticed leaves starting to curl and fall. Two main branches seem to be affected mainly and I'm not sure why (unfortunately the ones that are flowering or starting to fruit). Four things that I've do to try to remedy the situation is ; 1 - lifted the pot and poked a pen in the drain holes since I had a single layer of newspaper at the bottom 2 - raised the planter with a steel grate above the carpet saver dish 3 - added two Jones citrus fruit spikes to the edges of the pot. 4 - ordered a 45w 6 band grow light which should arrive in a few days. I suppose I should have done a little more research prior to transplanting this but it is what it is. I used a basic potting mix, not sure if I should have used something special or added anything. Any advice or recommendations you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance and happy gardening :)
     

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  2. Eric Canada

    Eric Canada New Member

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    I'm considering repotting the tree again. I purchased a few things at the hardware store, including a moisture meter, vermiculite, perlite, peatmoss, ph tester and couple randoms (maple spigots, rooting stimulator)

    first thing first, I probed the soil and found the needle of the gauge was maxed to "wet". The soil seemed to have dried substantially to what it was but apparently not enough still?

    What should I do next? considering a transplant and pruning back at least 1 of the two dying branches but unsure if this is the best recourse. Another thing I need advice on is feed/fertilizer. Since I'm in southern Ontario, Canada and its winter, finding anything specifically designed for citrus trees is scarce to say the least.

    Thank you for your time,
    Eric
     

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  3. Will B

    Will B Member

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    Odd that only those two branches look to have dried out like that. If it was a root problem I would expect the entire tree to look wilted. The other branches look fine, or is that an artifact of the photos? Some things to consider:
    • Is or was there a heater, vent, fan, or other thing that may have damaged those two branches?
    • The two branches with the wilted leaves do look dead, and there is a small possibility it was due to disease, so I would recommend cutting them off.
    • From the photos it looks to me like the tree won't get sufficient light from that window. Citrus like quite a lot of light, so getting that new light is a good thing. Note that unless it is LED it may get hot and burn the leaves if too close.
    • I would not recommend transplanting again at this stage, it may cause more damage.
    • Be careful using too many chemicals at once, they can cause harm if used incorrectly.
     
  4. Eric Canada

    Eric Canada New Member

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    Thank you for the reply Will. The other branches do look reasonably healthy, only a little yellowing of the leaves at the tip of the branches. I guess 1 thing to note is the branches affected seem to be older growth since they are browner than most the others which are a dark green. I'll try to address each point below

    • No heater or vent is or was present around the tree.
    • I will definitely cut the 1 small branch, the other too if need be. Just unfortunate since the larger of the two has little limes on it already.
    • There's actually another larger south facing window on the other wall (picture uploaded). I also have three led 100w equivalent 5000k daylight bulbs on the ceiling nearby running during the day. The LED full spectrum light array (45w 6 band) will be installed directly above the tree when it arrives.
    • I will hold off on transplanting it right now since it could cause more damage.
    • I've only used 2 Jobes citrus tree spikes but I think they're intended for trees planted outside in the ground. Should I remove 1 or both of the spikes and source out a different fertilizer/feed?

    Thank you for the help, much appreciated :)
     

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  5. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Contributor 10 Years

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    There's a risk of root rot if the soil remains wet for an extended period. Repot if necessary, adding material such as bark chips, perlite, calcined clay to the soil to increase its porosity. I would not add vermiculite or peat moss. If the tree is currently suffering from root rot I would expect to see wilting in all the foliage, not just a couple branches. Perhaps part of the root system was damaged when you transplanted it. For now I would not remove those branches; that can be done at a later time as necessary.

    I suggest using a water soluble fertilizer rather than spikes. Choose one with an NPK ratio approximating 5-1-3 that includes micronutrients. Do not fertilize until the tree show signs of recovery. There's not much plant activity at this time of year anyway.

    If possible, move the tree to a spot behind a south- or west-facing window where it will get the most light.
     
  6. Lemon Lime Orange

    Lemon Lime Orange New Member

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    In Canada your best bet is Amazon.com to buy fertilizer. The big box stores are hilarious, they bring in truckloads of citrus and forgot to bring in the fertilizer, the grow lights or worse bring in tree spikes. Fertilizer spikes are particularly bad for citrus. Nitrogen in the spike moves from the spike through the soil very easily, the 2nd phosphorous and the 3rd number potassium to not move easily. As the roots go through the soil and they encounter the spike they get burned. Spikes also contain salt which is not helpful either. As an alternative, I would recommend something water soluble like Jacks Citrus FeED 20-10-20.

    Those buying citrus in Canada would be better to leave the plant in the original pot for as long as possible. The pot you are using is too large and indoors will be very difficult to keep the plant evenly watered.

    You have to decide what your goals are. Do you want to overwinter the plant and enjoy blossoms and flowers or do you want to grow mature fruit? Citrus take from 6-14 months to grow from flower to mature fruit. Lime trees take about 6-9 months under ideal conditions from flower to fruit. If you are only growing outdoors for 3-4 months you will need a greenhouse or a grow tent to improve growing conditions. You could try a small 4x4x6 grow tent and put T5 vertical on the 4 corners. That way you can raise the humidity and concentrate the light on the plant substantially.
     
  7. Lemon Lime Orange

    Lemon Lime Orange New Member

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    Hi Eric,

    Some tips for growing citrus indoors
    1) Leaves will drop if RH falls below 50%
    2) The roots have to be heated
    3) You need air circulation because photosynthesis requires carbon dioxide.
    4) Sunlight in a window will bake leaves (95+F). Fan leaves to keep them at room temperature
    5) Between 54-72 F very little root activity.
    6) Winter leaf drop WLD is triggered by low humidity, cold roots& hot leaves or hot leaves & cold roots
    7) VPD vapor pressure deficit is key
    8) Citrus in containers like to be root bound
    9) Larger pots make it impossible to water properly
    10) Clay pots lower root temperature indoors
    11) Metal pots are easy to heat indoors.
    12) Never put anything in the bottom of the pot, it creates a perched water table.
    13) Top reasons for indoor citrus failure, RH below 60%, Sunlight baking leaves, cold roots, not enough sunlight.
    14) If RH is below 45 start reducing grow light time
    14) If RH is below 40 turn off the grow lights and move away from the window.
    15) If low RH is taking its toll put plants in a bathroom where humidity is higher.


    Here are some idea pictures

    Growing Citrus Indoors - a Gallery by Lemon Lime Orange Zone 6a
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2019
  8. Will B

    Will B Member

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    Very interesting points. Gotta say, those last four pics in your gallery are looking a bit too dry. They almost look like a cactus ;-)
     
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  9. Lemon Lime Orange

    Lemon Lime Orange New Member

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    Thanks Will, have moved those cactus pictures to a different idea book. Trying to keep that ideabook for just citrus now.
     
  10. Lemon Lime Orange

    Lemon Lime Orange New Member

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    Heat waves and deep freezes present unique challenges for growing citrus indoors in climates like Canada or Northern States. Today the outdoor temperature is -25C and the dew point for condensation on windows is 28 RH for a room temperature of 22.5 C. For this reason, I have turned my grow lights off today to give the plant rest. I can see leaves cupping today looking for moisture. If this cold weather continues plan B would be to move the plants to a bathroom and turn up the humidity. Luckily the weather is supposed to continue to warm up all week. The odd day of low humidity can be managed but when you have long stretches of low humidity it takes its toll very quickly.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2019

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