RIP Lemon Tree?!

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by Fredrik, Jun 27, 2007.

  1. Fredrik

    Fredrik Member

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    We've had this lemon tree about a year in our conservatory in Derby, England. I think my wife managed to overwater it over the winter and it never quite recovered as it started dropping leaves. In spite of trying to replant it in citrus compost, spray the the last remaining leaves with iron, not to mention giving it winter then summer citrus tree food, it now seems on its last legs.

    Several branches are now dead and the only signs of life are several little green shoots off the trunk (there have been these new shoots on branches previously but they died off after the ends turned brown). See pictures for interest!

    I've had a look through other threads in this forum but nobody seems to have a tree in as dire a condition as ours! Does anyone think it will make it, and if so what are some actions we can take to try to rescue it?!

    Thanks.
     

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  2. beau_123

    beau_123 Member

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    im no expert, but i think it might be time to say goodbye to your tree :/ im really sorry - beau
     
  3. BabyBlue11371

    BabyBlue11371 Active Member

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    I have great hope for your tree!!!
    It has good signs of life in it..
    the major question is how much is still alive and how much is root stock..
    see this tree recovery story....
    http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums/showthread.php?t=15602

    Looks like you have lots of new little growth.. I suspect that the growth below the bump is probably the root stock.. if the tree was grafted.. I can't see clearly if the bump is a graft line or not.. but you have plenty of growth above the bump..
    your tree is NOT lost!!

    Actions to take.. Make sure it is warm.. given a little light... and water only when top 2 inches of soil are fairly dry..
    I would hold off on fertilizer.. but then that is just me.. wait till it has more growth before resuming fertilizer..

    Hope this helps!!!
    Gina *BabyBlue*
     
  4. Fredrik

    Fredrik Member

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    Gina - thank you very much for your reply.

    Just to clarify, do you think it is getting too much sun? I thought they needed a lot of sun as they grow in Spain so it is in a very sunny place at the moment. I'll move it straight away. Based on your comments in regards to my posting and also your comments about that sick lime tree, I'll try the following (let me know if you disagree with anything):

    * only water when soil is dry below 2-3 inches
    * cut off brown branches to 1/4-1/2 inch remaining to monitor
    * move from our conservatory (bright and direct sun) to utility room (not quite so warm but indirect sun and humid)


    I think you are right about the overwatering. I stoped watering it for a while and it seemed to like it but then all the sudden most of the new sprouts died so I paniced and gave it a lot of water and a few types of fertilser. I guess I just have to wait and see what happens now.
     
  5. beau_123

    beau_123 Member

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    hey frederik, sorry about my un-educated advice :/ babyblue's advice is way better
    -beau
     
  6. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    There does appear to be a graft below the curve in the main stem. A scar can be seen near the bottom on the second picture (IMGP0651) with a slight variation in the look of the bark above and below it. You could allow the emerging buds in both sections to grow then look for variations in the leaves for confirmation; growth on the rootstock should be removed.

    Webbing can also be seen in the same picture suggesting the possibility of a recent spider mite infestation. As a proactive measure, I would spray the tree with insecticidal soap over multiple treatments in the usual manner while there is no foliage to impede the spray and for mites to hide in. I would remove all dead branches by cutting back into live wood to reduce the area to be sprayed.

    Also, I would remove the decorative rock so that soil moisture can be easily checked; watering on a schedule is not a good idea. I would also withold fertilizer as Gina suggested. I assume the roots were healthy (i.e. firm with a tan color - not mushy) when you repotted.

    I say there's hope when there's still green. Good luck.
     
  7. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    I am not familiar with citrus compost, but if it is intended for growing containerized citrus trees, it should be relatively coarse and fast draining. Citrus roots need lots of air in the soil.

    Skeet
     
  8. BabyBlue11371

    BabyBlue11371 Active Member

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    you want to make sure the root zone is a nice temperature.. warmer temps will do more good for it.. so long as they are not extreem high temps.. Not above 95*F (35*C)... toooo high can cause leaf wilt.. and maybe even leaf loss of younger growth like what your tree has if high enough..
    80*F(26.6*C)-85*F(29.4*C) would be around ideal..
    for the top to get better the roots need to be happy and healthy..
    the utility room may be ideal higher humidity helps.. if the temps are not as desired you can raise the temp of the root zone by temporarly wrapping the pot with decorative lights.. check the root zone temps with cooking thermometer..
    The conservatory may be ok.. so long as it is not toooo hot and dry..
    a pot set in direct sunlight can get very hot.. if you can check the soil temp at around mid day..
    don't worry if it seems like a very long time since you watered it.. the tree will not be taking up much water till the roots and top are back to being healthy..
    I agree with Junglekeeper.. mites can do a super bad number on new growth.. though I don't think my eyes are as good as junglekeepers and will have to take their word about seeing webbing.. ;)
    hope this info helps!!
    good luck!!!
    Gina *BabyBlue*
     
  9. Fredrik

    Fredrik Member

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    Hi all,

    Thanks for the great advice/input. In response to what everyone has said we have:

    * decided to leave the tree in our conservatory as it will be warm but not overly so as it never gets above the low 30 C degrees, but keep it out of direct sunlight
    * cut off all brown branches leaving 1/2 inch of brown to monitor
    * stopped watering until soil dries to 2-3 inches
    * moved decorative rocks from around trunk to allow easier monitoring of soil

    Junglekeeper - what keen eyes you have! We can see the tree first hand and never noticed the small webs! After you pointed this out we had a closer look and sure enough there are multiple small webs. We've sprayed the tree and will do so again in a little while so hopefully this will get the little rascals!

    Also, you're right about the graft line so we will plan to remove the growth below the graft line (although unfortunately this is where most growth is!).

    In terms of checking the roots for rot, would this do potentially more harm than good at the moment, or is it best to get rid of the rot even if it would be disruptive to replant the tree?

    Thanks again everyone - you've given us some hope!
     
  10. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    An indication of root rot is the sloughing off of the outer layer of the root. My guess is the roots are okay based on the presence of active new growth. Probably not worth the risk of further disturbance to check.
     

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