Please help! My lemon tree is dying

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by Victor Vassilev, May 24, 2020.

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  1. Victor Vassilev

    Victor Vassilev New Member

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    Hello, i'm a begginer gardener and I bought this lemon tree 3 months back. The tree had flowers blooming and was full of leaves. Once I took it home, the leaves began to drop and the flowers began to dry and fall as well. After about one month of that happening it stopped and my lemon tree only had a few leaves left. It sprouted some new leaves and I thought it was getting better. About two weeks ago, the lemon started loosing leaves again. Now I am left with two leaves on the tree and the rest are shriveled. Most of the branches are brown and look dead. I water the tree once a week and have not put any additional fertilizer since it was bought. Im starting to think the tree has some kind of disease. Please help me with this issue. I dont want my tree dying. Thank you!
     

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  2. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    This is an outdoor balcony where it lives? Hasn't it been cold in Toronto?
     
  3. Victor Vassilev

    Victor Vassilev New Member

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    The weather so far has been quite warm in Toronto with not a lot of clouds. Is it right to move the lemon tree back inside if it gets cold and cloudy outside? Or should I leave it where it is? I posted this question on another forum and they are telling me that I might have root rot or maybe a lack of nutrients and minerals. I'll have to check the roots.
     
  4. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    A few questions:
    • Was the tree exposed to cold temperatures in the transport to your home? Did the leaves dry shortly afterward?
    • What was the condition of the leaves that had fallen at that time? Were they supple or crisp?
    • Was there any wilting of the leaves at any time?
     
  5. Victor Vassilev

    Victor Vassilev New Member

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    When I got the tree, I got it home by car and really wasn't exposed to cold temperatures. I initially placed my tree near a radiator and next to a window. Leaves began to yellow on the edges and fell off. The leaves were supple and not crisp at all. I then moved it away from the radiator and to a sunny spot. The plant kind of stabilized itself then and grew flowers and leaves. It was going great. I watered it once a week and only fed it the liquid plant food once. (10-15-10 plant food). But then it went downhill again. First, the flowers wilted and fell off and then leaves started falling off. The branches where the leaves have fallen off were now brown and it looked lifeless. The last few leaves that fell off were dry and were wilting (just like in the pictures I've posted). I was left with two healthy leaves at the end. As always thanks for the help.
     
  6. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    From what you described, it does not sound like the problem is the result of exposure to cold. It was not a good idea to place the tree next to the radiator; the heat and/or draft would have a drying effect.

    What is the range of temperature in the room? Is it particularly cold in the spots where the tree was placed? Leaf drop will occur when the tree is exposed to light while its roots are cold. Stick an old meat thermometer, if you have one, into the medium to monitor the soil temperature.

    Was the container allowed sit in a dish of water at any time? Did you get a chance to check out the condition of the roots? Healthy roots are firm with creamy white tips. Rotting roots are mushy and the outer layer will slough off when tugged. Watering should not be on a schedule but rather on a as needed basis. Allow the medium to dry somewhat before watering. A rule of thumb is to water when the top couple inches are dry. Of course that depends on the porosity of the medium.
     
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  7. Victor Vassilev

    Victor Vassilev New Member

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    I also thought it might be because of frost damage but it wasn't exposed to cold air. The tree was placed inside until it was warm enough to be placed outside on my balcony. Right now it is quite hot outside and sunny for the whole day. The tree now gets a lot of sunlight and warmth. My balcony faces south BTW.
    I recently pruned the tree of the dead branches. I know its not right to prune at this time of year but the branches were dying back. I also repotted the plant in a larger pot. While repotting I got to see the root system. I posted a picture of what I saw. To me it did not look healthy.
    So far the tree is doing alright but is not growing anything new but it is also not worsening. Sadly I do not have a meat thermometer but I can assure you it is in a hit environment. I heard that the tree also needs to have a humid environment. Is that true? I mist it everyday. When preparing to water I stick in the moisture meter I have and only water when it is dry.
    The pot is not sitting in a dish no longer and instead just drains onto my balcony. It did however sit in a dish when it wasnt repotted like 3 days ago. The water drained into the dish and I let the water sit in there until it evaporated or it was sucked up by the roots. Thank you again for your help.
     

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  8. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    The balcony is a good spot for the tree to be in right now. It'll probably bounce back quickly because of the amount of light available.

    There's no harm in removing dead stems but be sure to cut into live wood in doing so. By the way the roots look healthy to me so I don't think the problem is due to over-watering.

    I think citrus can adapt to a wide range of humidity but extremely low levels may be a problem. Don't bother with misting; its effect is transient and will not affect the overall humidity.

    How much light was the tree getting while it was indoors? Which direction does the window face? Perhaps the lack of light was the cause. It looks like one side of the tree is much worse off. Was that side farthest from the light?

    A few suggestions:
    • Instead of depending on a moisture meter I suggest you use the relative weight of the container to decide when to water. Water well until the excess drains from the bottom. Allow all excess to drain, remove, then pick up the container to get a feel for its weight. Water the container when it feels relatively lighter, when the medium has dried somewhat.
    • Never allow the container to sit in a dish of water. Always empty the excess.
    • I suggest you purchase a thermometer/hygrometer with min/max function for both temperature and humidity before the tree is moved back indoors at the end of the growing season. It'll be useful to know the environmental conditions should a problem occur.
    • Now that the tree is virtually all but of bare stems, maintain minimal moisture level in the medium. Do not fertilize until the tree has developed some new growth.
    Edit: Added more info.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
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