5 years and Lemon & Lime Trees still won't Bear Fruit

Madeline616(9)June 4, 2013

Hello,

Popping over to gardening from the kitchens forum for the first time.

I live in Southern Louisiana, and have a lemon, a lime, a fig and a kumquat tree in my yard.

The fig and kumquat trees have produced nicely each year.

The lemon and lime trees, though, flowered only once (in year one) and haven't produced flowers or fruit since that year.

The lemon tree produced 4 beautiful the first year, and the lime tree produced a few teeny tiny limes--the size of my pinkie nail--the first year, but they disappeared and no flowers or fruit has been seen since.

I have some decorative stones and pavers near these trees. I also have mondo grass planted around the bases of these 2 trees. (The fig and kumquat are further from the rocks, pavers and mondo.)

When the soil was tested, it showed slightly high pH and very low phosphorus. I've had some of sulfur applied to bring down pH, and also high phosphorus fertilizer was applied.

I've been told that removing the rocks, pavers and mondo may help, which I plan to do (do you think this will help?? I hate to remove my beautiful pavers and mondo...)

Any opinions or advice as to what the problem might be or what I can do would be greatly appreciated!!

Thanks :)
Madeline

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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Madeline,

Pictures would help to assess the health and size of the tree. There is a citrus forum on Garden web and they give good advice.

Ignore the fact that the trees produced the first year. That happens because the nurseries hormone spray the trees because they know that trees with blossoms or fruit on them sell better. You would have been better off removing those fruit the first year but that ship has sailed:)

Citrus do take time to bear. My grapefruit just this year blossomed for the first time and I planted it 8 years ago. Grapefruit though as a rule take longer. I have no knowledge on lime trees as we are too cold for that so can't help you there. The lemon though should have produced by now...really it should have produced after the second year.

Are you fertilizing and if so how much and how often? Does the tree get full sun?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 5:13PM
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Madeline616(9)

Thanks, Bamboo, for your reply! I'll also post in the tropical fruits forum.

I checked my records, and it's actually been 3 years, not 5, since the trees were planted.

Below are a close up and a full shot of the lemon and the lime trees. The lemon tree has some black gunk on the leaves, but that's almost completely resolved after several treatments, and it wasn't fruiting long before that disease occurred, so I don't think that's the problem.

Lemon:

Lime:

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 5:54PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Madeline,

I believe that "black gunk" as you called it is called a poodle:) J/k the black stuff was probably just sooty mold. Not a disease but does cut down on the leaves ability to work. I will include below the link to the citrus forum but your problem is most probably a lack of fertilizer..your trees look very hungry. Citrus are heavy feeders and if your soil is like mine and sandy nutrients wash right through.

How much sun do the trees get?

Here is a link that might be useful: Citrus forum

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 7:08PM
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Madeline616(9)

LOL, bamboo! My poodle is quite the ham--always ends up in my pics :)

The trees both get a lot of sun. The lemon is next the the house, but still gets tons of sun. The lime is not shaded by anything.

I appreciate the fertilizer advice. The folks in the Citrus forum seem to agree.

One member is recommending a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Do you have a particular product or method that you recommend?

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 8:34PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Madeline,

Fertilizer brands tend to change by area but as long as it has the micro nutrients designed for fruit trees it will be fine. I just use a 10-10-10 but 8-8-8 is fine or 14-8-8 But again make sure it has the micro nutrients in it.

What I do is look at the spread of the tree canopy and go with a pound of fertilizer per foot of canopy width. So if the canopy is 6 feet across you need 6 pounds of fertilizer which would be 12 cups. Some people use circumference of the tree to gauge the amount or age but my way is pretty simple and it does not need to be exact.

You would fertilize 3 times a year...start like March then June then September roughly. But for your tree I would feed it about every 6 weeks until it gets all green and happy again.

Spread the fertilizer starting 2 feet from the trunk (no closer) out to a foot beyond the dripline of the widest limbs as the dripline or just beyond is where most of the feeder roots are.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 10:23PM
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Madeline616(9)

Thanks so much, Bamboo. I'll stop by the garden center tomorrow and get something with micronutrients, then follow your guidelines.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 11:11PM
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