ponderosa lemon substitute soil and fertilizer

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by Barrhaven, May 24, 2011.

  1. Barrhaven

    Barrhaven Member

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    Hello,

    I have recently bought a panderosa lemon tree from my local nursery and the tree has been doing well until recently (two month later) when it started dropping leaves that looked otherwise healthy. I notice that the leaves were falling without the petioles and after some research on this forum I cam to the conclusion that the soil was inappropriate as it was tight and allow little drainage and oxygen.

    I read different thread and posts including some from Millet, which were mentioning that CHC with peat moss (4 parts CHC 1 peat moss) was a good mix.

    Unfortunately in my part of the wood (Ottawa, Canada), I haven't ben able to fond any CHC. I was consequently wondering what would be the next best thing.

    I have found some orchids mix (Shultz brand) which according to the label is 'Exotic potting medium. Contains an exclusive potting mineral. Excellent drainage and moisture retention' made of tree chip and minerals rocks that retain water and allow oxygen.

    I also found one of the garden centre that was selling big bag of Pine bark chip, but it looked made for decoration in the ground more than a base for soil.

    So out of this two options I was wondering which would be best or what else should be considered that could be easily found.

    On the fertilizer side of thing, there again I took note of Millet's advise that a 5-1-3 ratio would be best but there again with no luck around here.
    I have seen slow release 19-6-12 with nutrients traces, or 24-8-12 all purpose fertilizer.
    There again what do you think should be my best best.

    Finally, I am looking at buying a new pot (since the black plastic one from the nursery is pretty ugly, and since I'll repot it I might as well change the pot). What kind of pot should I choose??? Glazed, natural??? Is one hole on the bottom enough (it rests on pebbles) or is three holes better for better drainage?


    Thanks in advance for your help, as you can see, the variety of supplies is not ideal around here (neither is the climate :-)) and I could take any help and wisdom you can offer.

    Nick
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2011
  2. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Re: panderosa lemon substitute soil and fertilizer

    CHC is available from Lee Valley which has a store in Ottawa. It's rather pricey though. An alternative medium has become available at nurseries in recent years; it's a mix of CHC and coir and is sold as mulch blocks. It appears to be good for citrus. I think the orchid mixes are too porous and would need to be amended with something that would hold moisture. It too is relatively expensive. If you choose to use bark nuggets as an ingredient make sure it hasn't been artificially colored. Choice of what to use for medium is a personal one.

    The two fertilizers are a toss up assuming the all-purpose also contains micronutrients. Personally I would choose the water soluble over the slow release as the latter will be exhausted in one season and will need to be replenished through top dressing. I think the water soluble will distribute the nutrients more evenly.
     
  3. Barrhaven

    Barrhaven Member

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    Thanks for the answer. I have never been to Lee Valley, isn't a store where you need a membership or something? I'd love to find CHC but it takes an annual membership it's going to make the price of my soil pretty crazy.

    I'll check the mix you mentioned (CHC and coir) at my local nursery but I haven't sen anywhere so far (I may have looked at the wrong place though).

    If I where to go with the orchids mix (if nothing else is available) what should I mix it with to hold the moisture, as you mentioned?And it what proportion?

    When you say 'Choice of what to use for medium is a personal one' I must say that it may be true for a well informed person, but for a beginner like me it would be like playing at he casino hoping for the best, which is why I am looking for help from knowledgeable people like you.

    Nick.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2011
  4. dt-van

    dt-van Active Member 10 Years

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    Re: panderosa lemon substitute soil and fertilizer

    Lee Valley does not require membership. I believe they also do mail order.
    The correct common name for your plant is Ponderosa Lemon; you can choose "edit post" to correct the title of your original posting if you like.
     
  5. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Re: panderosa lemon substitute soil and fertilizer

    dt-van is correct; you could register with Lee Valley but even that is optional.

    One example of the mulch block that I mentioned is this; there are others. I'd like hear from someone who's tried this type of medium.

    The orchid mix could be amended with coir or indoor potting soil which usually contains a high volume of peat. Proportions to be determined by 'gut feel'/trial and error keeping in mind the mix is too porous and potting soil is too dense. Sorry I can't be more exact.

    Choice of medium comes down to weighing various factors such as availability, cost, suitability, durability, etc. I don't think you can really go wrong with any of the options you have considered.
     
  6. Barrhaven

    Barrhaven Member

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    Thanks for the reply I will stop at Lee Valley tomorrow and see what I can find.

    Thanks dt-van for the correction, I am trying to edit the title, hopefully it'll work.
     
  7. Barrhaven

    Barrhaven Member

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    OK, so I finally found the time to stop at Lee Valley and they had some CHC.

    I did the transplant a week ago but the leaves keep dropping (a couple a day) and still no new leaves :-( I do have four fruits growing well though, so maybe it's a good sign.

    I've moved it outside because the weather is great now (no lower than 14 C in night and more than 25C during the day with high humidity).

    I hope that'll help it.

    I still haven't decide for the fertilizer what to do. I am still looking for a 5-1-3 ratio but still no luck so far.

    Thanks anyone for your help.

    Nick
     
  8. Fen Sandar

    Fen Sandar Active Member

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    How big is your Ponderosa and could you post a picture of what it is doing now?

    It may not be just a soil issue anymore. Check for fungus gnats, mites, or mold. If some of the roots were brown and squishy when you got it out of the other pot instead of white/tan it may take some time for your plant to grow new roots to replace what it lost - hopefully you cut those off if there were any. This may mean quite a bit of shedding, but the humidity should help it. Get a squirt bottle of water for dry days until it starts perking up (even after it does, misting it on overcast days or early in the morning helps).

    CHC/Peat mix works great for seedlings and helps them develop a stronger, more branched root system. The CHC holds more air and compacts slower than Peat. But it is not the best mix for stronger and older plants which need more nutrients from their potting medium. You might want to try mixing in some of that orchid mix or trace minerals because while peat and CHC make great soil additives, my citrus have done better after the first 6 months in a mix of 2 parts miracle grow potting soil, 1 part CHC and 1 part Peat.

    I also add about 1/2 a cup of 5-3-3 with trace minerals and 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt to a large ice cream pail of this mix for anything in a gallon (2-3L?) pot because I have found that putting my 5-3-3 and epsom salt on the top of the soil does not work out well. The trace minerals are very important - make sure it has at least a little zinc, magnesium, calcium, sulfur, and iron in it. I'm using http://www.espoma.com/p_consumer/tones_plant.html because it was on sale at the time and had the trace minerals I was looking for for both my tomato plants and my citrus- probably not the best one but it does work when mixed in well.
     
  9. Barrhaven

    Barrhaven Member

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    Here are a few pictures.

    The tree is still quite small actually (the pot may be a little too big but I figured that with the right soil it shouldn't be a problem).

    I have checked the soil and there is no fungus gnats or other bugs. The roots looked good too when I changed the soil.

    You mention the fertilizer and I believe I have a problem there. I have a 30-10-10 fertilizer and some epsom salt but I don't have anything for minerals trace. What could I use? Also I saw a 24-8-12 all purpose fertilizer and I was wondering if I would be better off with that (but there again I don't know about mineral traces).

    I am also not sure on how to make the right proportion for the fertilizer. I read from Millet that a 300 ppm Azote with every watering is good for the summer season, but I have to admit that I have no clue in how to reach that proportion. I mean what quantity of fertilizer for what volume of water would give me that 300 ppm N with my 30-10-10 and with the 24-8-12???

    If anybody could help me do the math that would be great.

    Finally since it is outside a couple of leaves have developed withe spots (photo 2) do you know what or it is?

    Thanks again, I can use all the help I can have since citrus are difficult to grow but also so rewarding.

    Thanks again in advance.

    Nick.
     

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  10. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Have another look at the fertilizer's label; trace elements, trace minerals, and micronutrients are terms for the same thing.
     
  11. Fen Sandar

    Fen Sandar Active Member

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    Most fertilizers list the percents of major ingredients on a nice side label. You may have to look at your bag from several unusual directions to find it.
     
  12. Barrhaven

    Barrhaven Member

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    My 15-15-18 and 30-10-10 says it has Boron, Chelated copper, zinc, iron and manganese.

    Is that what I need?

    Also can you guys help me with the proportion to obtain the 300 ppm N?

    Thanks Nick
     
  13. Barrhaven

    Barrhaven Member

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    Hi,

    I am still struggling with my fertilizer.

    Anyone has any input?

    Nick.
     
  14. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015
  15. Barrhaven

    Barrhaven Member

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    Thanks a lot Junglekeeper,

    It is very helpful.

    According to the pictures attached, do you know what could cause the curling of the leaves and the yellow spots that are appearing on the tree? Could it be cause by the sun? The plant use to be inside with little direct sun and is now outside with south exposure so 7 to 9 h of direct sun. I did bring it out progressively but may still too fast. Also, it's been cloudy and rainy for the past week and the leaves are still getting worse so I don't know if it is actually related to the sun or if it is something else.

    Any idea?

    Thanks again,

    Nick.
     

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  16. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Not sure what the problem is but sun burn would be my guess. The speckled look of the leaves suggests a spider mite infestation, either in the past or present. However I don't see any hard evidence for the latter from the photos.
     

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