What's wrong with my lemon tree?

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by Lise, May 18, 2006.

  1. Lise

    Lise Member

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    Hi there!
    I have a problem with my lemon tree. The leves are turning yellow and falling of, and i don't know what to do!!

    I live in Denmark, where its cold most of the year, so I have had my citrus in the house since I bought it in january. Recently I replantet it into a larger pot, and moved the tree to my greenhouse where the temperature is higher. Since then it has not been well, and after 2 weeks I moved it back inside. I water with rainwater and add citrus fertilizer once a week.

    I'm not sure, but I think I might have overdone the watering of the tree.... HELP??
     

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  2. Laaz

    Laaz Active Member 10 Years

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    Yes it does look like you over watered the tree. I would let the soil dry out & also try to raise the root temps. I would also remove the fruit at this time as well
     
  3. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I must agree with Laaz. First what is the growing medium made out of. Sure looks like the peat moss content of the medium is too high. Citrus require a very light and VERY airy soil. When you water the tree does the water drain out of the container in less than 1/2 minute? How long does the soil stay wet after you water? Most definately the trees problem is with the roots. After you water the tree DO NOT water again until the top three inches of "soil" becomes dry. Also fertilizing the tree every week is WAY to much fertilizer. I would not fertilize the tree at all until it regains it health. Try to keep the soil at a temperature of AT LEAST 64F (18C) MINIMUM, 22C would be better. Cut way back on the amount of water. I hope it is not to late. Let us know how the tree responds. - Millet
     
  4. Lise

    Lise Member

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    Thanks alot for your answers.
    When I re-potted the tree recently, I used citrus soil (I can't remember the composition of this). When I water the tree, the water NEVER drains out of the container! AND the soil stays moist for at least some days, maybe a week. The temperature in the house is about 20C, is that OK? Alternative I could move the tree back to the green house, but it might get stressed by the varying temperatures? In the green house its 15-25 at day and 8-10 at night. I have a lime tree, which is doing well in the green house. Can I do something about the bad soil at this moment?

    For the present, this is my rescue plan:
    1. I will not water the tree before the top three inches is totally dry (will take time)
    2. I will not fertilize at all, before the tree (hopefully) is well again.

    Lise
     
  5. Lise

    Lise Member

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    One more thing:
    Millet, do you agree with Laaz on removing the fruits?
    It's such a shame, but of course I will do it, if it's better for the recovering of the tree.
     
  6. lemon_dreams

    lemon_dreams Active Member

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    if you keep the fruit on, its putting its energy into the fruits rather than trying to get healthy.
     
  7. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    What do you mean that the water never drains out of the container? Doesn't the container have 4 or 5 large drain holes in the bottom? For citrus, the soil in the container MUST have EXCELLENT drainiage. If the water does not drain out from the bottom of the container, but instead stays inside the container, it will be almost certain death the the root system. Citrus roots demand both moisture and a high soil aeriation. You must quickly correct this situation. The correct method of irrigating containerized citrus is when you water the tree, water the tree well so that approximately 20 percent of the water poured on top of the soil, drains out of the bottom of the container. Then do not water again untill the top 2 or 3 inches of the growing medium is dry. You can check this with your finger. If the water does not drain out of the container the root system stays constantly soggy, the soil air is displaced by the water, and the tree soon suffers and dies from root rot. I can tell by looking at the tree that your tree's roots are already damaged. Yes, I would remove the fruit, the fruit looks already mature anyway. - Millet
     
  8. drichard12

    drichard12 Active Member 10 Years

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    Lise.. Living in Denmark can be rather hard in growing Citrus, rather being an Orange or a Lemon I give you much credit in doing so.

    I have found Lemons rather temperamental for the North. I would like to suggest that you repot your tree using a Orchid mix, or Cider chips or shavings with 1 part Peat.as soon as possible. To help pervert any further root damage " Such as root rot"

    Don't baby your trees's with waterings. I use CHC an peat an havent watered in two weeks with the cool night's day's.
     
  9. Lise

    Lise Member

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    This is challenging my english skills...
    In the garden center, they told me to put leca balls in the bottem two inches and the citrus soil in the rest of the container, so I did. But the citrus soil dos not look lightweight at all, and the drainage is poor. I DO have drainage holes in the bottom of the container, but I have watered just a little but very frequently to keep the soil moist all the time (my mistake).

    When I repot the tree I could use one part citrus soil and one part orchid mix/leca balls, which one is better? Should I try to remove as much as possible of the current growing medium? I am affraid to damage the roots more than they already are.

    By the way, i removed the fruits now. More leaves have dropped... I hope it's not to late to save the tree.
     
  10. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Never heard of leca balls, so I cannot advise you on the use of them. The nursery where you purchased your tree has given you some bad advice. I have 75 different varieties of citrus. 73 are in containers and two trees are planted in the ground inside a large greenhouse. All of my containerized citrus are planted in a potting mixture made of 4 parts CHC (coconut husk chips) and one part peat moss. Coconut husk chips hold up to 7 times their weight in water, while at the same time providing EXCELLENT "soil" aeration. CHC also does not degrade and therefore lasts 5-7 years in the container, and has a pH of 6.5 which is the exact pH required by citrus. If you cannot find CHC in Denmark, use cedar chips, wood chips, or other large coarse materal (1/4 to 1/2 inch size), with a small amount of peat moss (4/1 ratio). I would repot the tree quickly, removing as much of the old potting soil as possible, using a large pail of water. I wish you luck. Let us know how everything turns out. Take care. - Millet
     
  11. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Here is your project for the day.

    Cut this tree back to about half the size it is now. You
    have to force new growth or this tree will die on you.
    Lift this tree out of the pot and change the soil medium
    today. A heavy soil with slow drainage is a recipe for
    disaster when growing indoor Citrus. You already have
    a root rot so what you have to do is let the roots aerate
    out some by changing the soil medium, even if you have
    to use a standard nursery potting soil or even a Forest
    Humus. One part Citrus soil and two parts of a coarse
    ground medium to fine grade Orchid mix, forget adding
    in the leca balls, will help you but you have to mix the
    ingredients together by hand first. By hand remove as
    much of the old soil off the root ball (just rub your
    palm of your hand around the root ball trying to ease
    as much of the old soil away from the roots and
    discard the old soil. Put the old soil in an outside
    planter if need be but get it as far away from any
    indoor plant as you can) .

    After repotting this tree you will want to let the
    roots dry out some and give it just a drink of water,
    just enough to wet but not soak the new potting soil
    and wait to water again until the soil seems dry to
    you when you stick your finger down in the soil
    later. Place this tree outdoors when the last frost
    is over with and give this tree some sunlight as
    soon as you can and leave it outside for a long
    while, preferably until the first frost and then
    bring it back indoors.

    Jim
     
  12. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Lise,
    It does sound like you should change the soil as the others have suggested. I had a Lisbon lemon that suffered from root rot but not with symptoms to the same extent as yours. A heat mat may help in the recovery of your tree. Have a look at the thread Our Little Grapefruit Tree Needs Help | UBC Botanical Garden Forums, about half way down, where the problem was brought up and its resolution.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015
  13. Lise

    Lise Member

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    So, now I have cut the tree back to almost have size and changed the soil. They had never herd of CHC at the garden center så I bought orchid mix mainly consisting of pine bark. I used 1 part citrus soil and 2 parts orchid mix, so now I just hope that the tree will recover.

    One last question: Since I don't have a garden I can not put the tree outside in the sun, but I could
    A) Leave it in the house about 3 feet from an window facing east. My thermometer says 21C next to the container.
    B) Move the container the my green house (which is kind of glued to the house like a balcony). In thesse rainy days the temperature is 10C at nights and 15 at days. It hopefully will get warmer during the summer. As mentioned before my lime tree is doing well outthere.

    Which location would you choose?
     
  14. Lise

    Lise Member

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    Sorry for the typing mistakes.
    have size = half size
    herd= heard.
     
  15. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Give the tree as much light as you can. The tree
    will respond better if grown outdoors in sunlight
    but sometimes we have to manage as best as we
    can. I would not give this tree any Nitrogen in
    the form of a fertilizer until you have some new,
    sustained growth on this tree. Should you want
    to use a fertilizer use a liquid form without any
    Nitrogen in it if possible, such as a 0-10-10 at
    the rate of one fluid ounce per gallon of water.
    The reason I suggested cutting the tree back was
    to trigger some root growth. Once the roots start
    to grow again you will have some new top growth.
    I would prefer whichever setting will give the tree
    the most light for right now.

    Jim
     
  16. Lise

    Lise Member

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    Hi again!
    Just wanted to let you know that my lemon tree is doing a lot better now!´
    Now it has about 15 bran new leaves, and more is coming... I'm so glad that i servived! Thanks a lot for your help!

    Right now I only water about once every second week, and the tree seems to be okay with that (I chech the moisture of the soil frequently). I fertilize once a month. Should I continue to do so all winter? It's an indoor tree.
     
  17. Morbius

    Morbius Member

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    Hi Lise, I can't answer your fertilizer question but I've been reading alot of the threads here and I was wondering how your little tree was doing.

    I'm glad it's okay. Any chance of posting a photo of it?

    Take Care,

    Morbius
     
  18. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    Glad to see you saved the tree.
    Here is a quote from Millet regarding fertilizer for container plants during winter. --Skeet


     
  19. Lise

    Lise Member

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    Here is a foto of my little tree.
    Thanks for the advice about the fertilizer
     
  20. Lise

    Lise Member

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    Oops, now the picture is attached...
     

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