question re pomegranate and citrus tree

danyoni(z10Los Angeles)April 23, 2012

There are 2 trees in my yard that I have questions about:

1. I have a lovely, mature Wonderful pomegranate tree. It is covered with blossoms. Last year I read that I should thin them out to around 6 inches apart in order to have larger fruit. I did this when they were newly budded, but then a few weeks later, many of the ones I hadn't pinched off fell off by themselves. I'm not sure what to do this year so I haven't done anything yet.

Also, re the same tree, for the past few years I've been getting these awful looking bugs -- they look pre-historic -- and I've identified them as leaf hoppers. I have a no-spray garden and so last summer I spent more time than I'd care to recall vacuuming them off the fruit, but no matter how often I did it, a few days later there always seemed to be more.

2. I have a dwarf meyer lemon tree that usually performs well for me. This year, though it is covered in blossoms, the fruit that is setting is yellow and sickly and falls off when it's barely formed.

If anyone has any advice on any of the above, I would be grateful. Thank you!


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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

I would let the flowers on your pom fall off naturally. If it turns out that you have more fruit set than you'd prefer, you can pinch off any extra small fruits. And, for your lemon, hard to say what's going on without photos. And, without knowing how you're watering, fertilizing, what kind of soil you have. Early fruit set drop on citrus is also very common. Is the fruit that has not dropped formed normally? How do the leaves look, are they green or chlorotic? And, the leaf hoppers/sharpshooters are hard to control without resorting to insecticides.

Patty S.

Here is a link that might be useful: UC IPM: Leaf Hopper on Grapes

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 10:00AM
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I agree, don't thin pom blossoms. They are too stunning to discard. My wonderful pom is covered with flowers right now and looks, well, simply wonderful. :)

What you have are symptoms of trees that need some TLC. Check out Growing Citrus in the Ground for useful tips on healthy citrus. Can't say enough good things about mulching citrus trees.

For your pom I would probably hose the bugs off with a fairly strong spray and then plan on doing some pruning.

My poms and I have a running disagreement - they want to be bushes and I want them to be trees. I am winning, but it requires heavy pruning on my part. I shoot for single trunk trees with three main branches. So far so good, but the poms do exact their revenge with those spike tipped branches.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 4:23PM
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mrclintz........ id love to see a picture of your pruning and what you have been able to accomplish, i have two trees planted in different locations, one that i am fine with being a bush another i would like to grow more vertical and tree like, much thanks

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 4:42PM
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I have two pix of my wonderful on my smartphone, but no webspace to post them to. Just picture a very short thick trunk with three main branches coming out and then branching out from there to a space of about 4' wide by 10' tall. I will prune a number of times to keep the shape/size and allow a better view of the trunk after the fruit sets. It's a fair amount of ongoing work. Are you sure you are up for it? :)

Another challenge I face with my poms is that they want to weep - Some weeping is nice but not to the extent that they look overly floppy or messy. So I use some wire tied to a nearby fence to prop up some of the branches. Poms are the most labor intensive of any of my trees - and it's just because I want a certain look and behavior from them. Keeping them as a bush would be much easier.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 7:15PM
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danyoni(z10Los Angeles)

Thank you for your input all.

I will leave the blossoms on the pomegranate, as you all suggested. BTW the insect I meant is called a leaf footed bugs, not leaf hoppers. Here's a link if anyone's interested

Re the citrus, I went out there today to take photos and noticed that, in addition to the yellowed, sickly looking fruits there are also quite a few healthy green ones just developing, so Patty, you may be right in that the unhappy ones are part of the normal fruit drop that you mention. The leaves of my tree were yellowed earlier in the year but since I fertilized and mulched a few months ago the new growth looks healthy to me, so I'm going to assume that all is well.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 1:12AM
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Those bugs are large enough to blast with a hose or to hand pick then smash.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 11:41AM
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