improved meyer lemon tree,help!!

devinisageminiJanuary 16, 2013

Hi I recently bought an improved meyer lemon tree from safeway it is a little over a foot tall,I was wondering if all trees sold at stores labeld "improved meyer lemon tree" are grafted and if so how long until it is mature to flower/produce fruit. There was a tag around the stem dated a little over a year ago,is that how old the tree is?if anyone is interested in helping me out with these questions I would be glad to post a picture of the small tree,thank you.
-Devin

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

Hi Devin, welcome to the forum! Yes, all Meyer lemons sold today are "Improved Meyer lemons". Grafted trees overall should flower and produce by year three with some variation on either side of that. They should be mature by year 5 (in the ground, container trees may be a bit slower to mature and produce). Do post photos. Is your tree remaining in a container or being planted in the ground? And, tell us how you're caring for it - container mix, fertilizer and fertilizing schedule, etc.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 11:57AM
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devinisagemini

Thank you for your reply C:
Yes the tree is gonna remain in a container,I bought some organic soil and that's what its in now inside a 6 inch pot.
I have been liquid fertilizing it about once/twice a month.
I was hoping you could tell me what the tiny green growth
Is at the top in this photo,also I heard to prune back for a healthier tree I did so and the little green things started popping up.
So if tree fruits/flowers by apprx.3 years of age,then could I guess my tree is as old as the date on the tag around the stem when I bought it? I know these are a lot of questions but I'm so excited to grow a healthy tree!C: also I cant find the graft line could you help by any chance? Ill post more pics below

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 12:52PM
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devinisagemini

More pics C:

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 12:56PM
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devinisagemini

I cant figure out to add them all to one post,sorry.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 12:58PM
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devinisagemini

I hope its healthy!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 12:59PM
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devinisagemini

So from the stem would you guess it is grafted?

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 1:06PM
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keithdphan

more cat pix!

looks like you have a young grafted meyer tree. be patience

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 1:12PM
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houstontexas123(z9a)

not sure, need a close up of that wrapped area.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 1:17PM
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devinisagemini

Close up.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 1:51PM
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devinisagemini

Close up.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 1:52PM
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devinisagemini

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to put these up but here's my cats XD
*only because someone asked for pics*

This post was edited by devinisagemini on Wed, Jan 16, 13 at 14:02

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 2:00PM
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jkom51(Z9 CA/Sunset 17)

1) Yes, it's grafted. Meyers are naturally a bush, about 8x8' with multiple criss-crossing branches. I have one of the very rare Meyer seedlings that actually sprang up from a neighbor's rotting Meyer lemon fruit. The seeds have such low viability that grafting is the most reliable way to create new plants, commercially. Dozens of lemons rotted on the ground in a ten year period, and only 1 seedling survived. It's an extraordinarily healthy bush, despite being in one of the worst spots in our garden. I have two other mature Meyers which are grafted trees, like yours, but all are in-ground.

2) Yes, your plant looks to be about 1 yr old. No, your pot isn't big enough for much future growth - but you may want to keep it small, for example if you live in a rental.

3) Potting soil isn't optimal for container-grown citrus. The Meyer will be much trickier to grow than in the ground. In the ground they're pretty much idiot-proof, at least in coastal CA. What's your Sunset zone?

4) Meyers bear when young - very young. Prolifically (they're bred to do so). Under optimum conditions they'll live 50-70 yrs, but most people (even when the Meyer's in the ground) don't feed them sufficiently. Meyers, like roses, are born hungry. They are voracious feeders and mine get regular feedings of citrus fertilizer, epsom salts, humic acid, and liquid iron.

5) They need regular deep watering; the soil should dry out between waterings; and container plants should be flushed regularly. They are a winter crop fruit and the season of major harvest is right now through early May. Mature plants (10+ yrs old) will give a smaller harvest year round.

HTH! MeyerMike here is the leading expert on container grown citrus. He has VERY healthy plants! Johnmerr is our only commercial Meyer grower, with a plantation down in Guatemala. Do a search and you'll pull up a lot of threads; Meyers account for around 40% of the traffic on this forum.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 4:51PM
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mgk65(z6)

I don't see a graft line in the pictures you posted.

To be sure, post a picture of the trunk going into the potting mix.

Many low priced Meyer trees are rooted cuttings.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 5:37PM
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johnmerr(11)

No bud union is apparent. Where do you live and where did you buy the tree? In some parts of the country the most common propagation method is rooted cuttings. Seeing as how the tree has apparently had limbs so close to the ground that have been cut off, it could be that the bud union is buried; if that is the case the bud union has to be raised above the soil line, or the tree will not live long.
Also, since no one seems to have answered this, the "little green growths" are new leaves/branches, a good indication that your tree is healthy.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 5:40PM
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devinisagemini

Thank you all for the info very helpful!
Here is a pic of the base.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 7:11PM
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devinisagemini

I live In california I bought the tree at a local safeway labeled "improved meyer lemon"
Here is a better pic of the base.
if it is a rooted cutting at what age do they typically start producing fruit/flowering?
Btw you all are awesome!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 7:20PM
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devinisagemini

I live in zone 9.
I heard to pour vinegar into the soil but I havnt tried it yet...how does that work?
Also if not potting soil what other material should I use?
My tree is in the sun all day and moved in at night.
Does anyone know of a good commercially or home made feed or fertilizer for the tree?
Also I have a slightly bigger black container to re-pot it into if I need to change the material its planted in from soil to something else.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 8:05PM
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johnmerr(11)

The container gurus will give you the advice you seek; if it were mine I would re-pot to at least double the size pot.

If you bought it in California, it is definitely grafted... leave it at the same soil level, but in a bigger pot with better medium... again, the container folks here will give you the best advice.

Depending on the rootstock...most likely semi-dwarfing; it should make flowers and fruits in about 2 years... maybe sooner.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2013 at 10:35PM
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devinisagemini

I was leaning more towards it being grafted,thank you!
Anybody have pics of. Healthy meyer lemon trees about mines age to share?any tips to increase health/foliage?

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 2:20AM
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silica

Your Meyer lemon is not a grafted tree, it is a rooted cutting. Meyer lemons are among the easiest citrus variety to root, therefore commercially most Meyer lemons are propagated in this manner. Because you purchased your tree from Safeway, most certainly a mature cutting was use when it was rooted. Therefore your tree is already a mature tree and chould produce its first bloom within one year, or even as soon as this comming spring. - Silica

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 3:32PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

I agree with Silica, looks like a rooted cutting, no evidence of any graft line. As to vinegar, please do not pour vinegar on your plant, you'll kill it. Straight vinegar is much too strong to pour on your tree undiluted. If your tap water is very alkaline (over 7.8, you can check with your water district for your municipal water's average pH), you can add a teaspoon or two of vinegar to a gallon of water to acidify the water. My municipal water is about 7.5, and I never acidify my water, and my container citrus are just fine. I agree with John to pot it up in a much larger pot, and I would use a well draining mix (you can search this forum for 511 mix for a good formula for well draining potting mix. For container fertilizer, most container folks on this forum prefer to use DynaGro's Foliage Pro, which is a concentrated liquid fertilizer with the appropriate NPK ratio plus the right amount of micronutrients for cirtus. I buy mine from amazon.com. And, I also use Osmocote Plus, which is a time release fertilizer (must be the "Plus" formulation). Again, from Amazon.com.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 6:17PM
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silica

5:1:1 seems to work for small trees growing in small containers. Them main drawback to the 5:1:1 mixture is the weight, along with the constant watering required during the summer months. It can't be used with larger trees growing in 25 - 30 or 50 callon containers. - Silica

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 7:05PM
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devinisagemini

Thank you for all the info im really excited that its most likely going to fruit soon the new leaf pod ontop has spurted out 8 tiny leaves and i found 2 more pods!i cant wait to taste the fruit i grew with my own hands,haha it brings a whole new meaning to "when life hands you lemons"
You all are great,thank you again for all the help! C:

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 3:14PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

True, silica. Since all my container citrus are outside year 'round, since I live in California, I opt to use a high quality cactus mix (EB Stone), which is more water retentive. I don't have to water quite as often in the summer, although I do fertilize pretty often. So far, after 3 years, my citrus continue to do well, and the soil looks good, still. I don't have to move my citrus, but if I do, I use my hand truck, and it's just from one spot on the patio to another. So, devinisa, if your Meyer is staying outside, you might want to consider this potting mix, and a bigger pot, one that is preferably plastic, glazed ceramic or fiberglass/resin. Glazed ceramic will be the heaviest choice, but I like the look (have a lot of Talavera pottery).

Patty S.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 4:52PM
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johnmerr(11)

Our motto at Mayan Meyer Lemons is, "If life gives you lemons, pray they are Meyers!"

And, if you had our climate... Yesterday we harvested half pound lemons from trees that were planted in August 2011; some will go to a big ice cream maker; others will go to Panama for market trials.
Next week we are sending lemons again to Berlin for the Fruit Logistica Show; Meyers were the star of the show last year, and interestingly the most novel thing was the fair participants walking around sucking on the peels... not bitter like Eurekas.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 7:02PM
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johnmerr(11)

Our motto at Mayan Meyer Lemons is, "If life gives you lemons, pray they are Meyers!"

And, if you had our climate... Yesterday we harvested half pound lemons from trees that were planted in August 2011; some will go to a big ice cream maker; others will go to Panama for market trials.
Next week we are sending lemons again to Berlin for the Fruit Logistica Show; Meyers were the star of the show last year, and interestingly the most novel thing was the fair participants walking around sucking on the peels... not bitter like Eurekas.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 7:05PM
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devinisagemini

Thats awesome!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 8:35PM
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makalu_gw(z5b NY)

Hi Devin,

Since you asked for a picture, here's one of my Meyer Lemon. I got it last April as a 1 year, grafted plant in a 4" pot from One Green World so it's less than 1 year older than yours. I potted it up(12" pot) with a 5-1-1 mixture combined with some Osmocote 19-6-12 slow release fertilizer and just let it go. Right now, it's on a second flush of blooms and one lemon just may stay on the plant (first time around, everything dropped).

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 2:57PM
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makalu_gw(z5b NY)

Another picture of the other side of the lemon (haven't figured out how to embed more than 1 picture yet either) with the Kaffir lime moved out of the way.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 2:59PM
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devinisagemini

Thats a nice tree,way bigger than mine!
Do they usually drop there first lemons?

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 3:47AM
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Lemon123

Hi Everyone

What is this 5-1-1 mixture and Osmocote 19-6-12 and can I get this in Canada.I just purchased a meyers lemon tree this summer.it , I had lemons grow this summer , should i prune back the steam the lemons grew on there no leafs on it.

Thank you

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 7:06PM
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devinisagemini

I repotted mine into a huge pot today with fresh soil/cow manure,it should be able to stay in there for a couple years,right?

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 9:12PM
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devinisagemini

I repotted mine into a huge pot today with fresh soil/cow manure,it should be able to stay in there for a couple years,right?

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 10:01PM
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bergiegirl(Fallbrook, CA)

We have a 5-6 year tree. Currently has approximately 200 +\- lemons. Meyer lemons are the best. We fertilize with triple 15 and give all our trees a good soak for about 7 hours depending on moisture in soil usually once a week.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 11:27PM
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devinisagemini

Tiny leaves!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 1:11AM
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makalu_gw(z5b NY)

Devin,

Yeah! Looks like it's starting to grow again. I've never used cow manure in a potted plant and I'm hoping that by soil, you're talking about a well draining potting mix but depending on growth I think the pot size will do for a good while.
Maybe someone with a little more experience on Meyer lemons can chime in to give you another opinion.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 3:20PM
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devinisagemini

Okay thank you!
I did 60/70% potting soil & 40/30% semi dried cow manure its all mixed up but the manure is mainly towards the bottom of the pot.
Is this suitable for the tree?as I would like to keep it as organic as possible,thank you.
Devin
C:

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 5:15PM
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devinisagemini

Also the tree is in the mix pretty snug&tight while re-potting I noticed the roots are kinda on the small side compared to what thwy used to be any tips on how to get them bigger/longer?

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 5:55AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Yikes, I'd get it into a proper mix pronto!
Compost/manure/garden soil...none of that works for very long in a container -
it readily compacts and impedes drainage. Without question, that type of mix
will need to be replaced within a season, or else the tree will lose growth potential
and ultimately begin its slow decline.

When it comes to root-health, you must build aeration into your mix - that means durable, stable
ingredients with a fairly uniform particle size. Pine/Fir bark is a favored ingredient because it
is a relatively economical and durable "filler" that helps balance moisture retention between the
peat, perlite, or porous grit such as pumice, scoria, or turface.

5-1-1 is an exceptional soil, and requires LESS watering the larger the container is.
It is a common misconception that 5-1-1 needs to be constantly watered. And if you
happen to live in a terribly hot, dry location, simply tinker with the ratios to arrive
at the moisture retention and drying-interval you desire. For example, a 5-2-1 of bark:peat:perlite.

Josh

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 2:32PM
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devinisagemini

Okay I'm thinking woodchips soil & dry leaves,that better?

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 5:48PM
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devinisagemini

Okay I'm thinking woodchips soil & dry leaves,that better?

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 7:52PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

No, marginally worse, in my opinion.

When you say woodchips, do you mean chipped up trees/branches?

Bark is the outside bark of a tree, not the sapwood. The inner wood, sapwood,
of a tree should be avoided. It decomposes rapidly, binds nitrogen, and loses structure
as it decomposes. There is also the potential for heat spikes during the decomposition.

Woodchips, dry leaves, pine needles, manure, coffee grounds....all of that stuff
is fantastic in the garden/raised bed, and that's where it works best.

Josh

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 10:07PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Morning...

Devin... I agree with Josh. Please consider what he is saying. He knows much about the 5-1-1 and how it works and how well your plants will do in it.

These mixes you are trying to use just aren't meant for containers and spell certain doom for your plant. I spent years trying these same types of mixes only to lose plants. Couldn't even keep one lousy tomato alive.

I now use 5-1-1 or gritty for everything. And my plants love it!!

you mentioned above that your roots are smaller. that may be due to the mixes you are using. No air, and too much moisture , they could be rotting.

You also mentioned wanting it to be organic. What is not organic about pine bark, peat moss and perlite. ? I'm not nit picking, but wanting to learn . I don't know much about organic, and to me the 5-1-1 does seem organic.

Your tree, if it is going to stay in a container, needs a free draining, aerated mix like the 5-1-1 or gritty. You need to be able to flush the soil regularly! This will remove salt build up and allow air in.

also, organic fertilizers, do not work very well in containers. They really need all the little goodies, and micro organisms found in the earth to make them work.

I'm including a link that explains all about the 5-1-1 and gritty . It's a lot to read but worth it!! I hope it helps.

There are many examples here of people using the 5-1-1 and how beautiful the plants do!

Makalu posted a beautiful tree above!!
Very nice makalu! I love the snow in the background!!

Also google Josh, here in Citrus or houseplant forum and MeyerMike.

I hope this all helps. :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Container mixes. ~ 5-1-1 and Gritty

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 9:09AM
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baconquest

I'll second Jojo on the 5-1-1. 5 parts pine bark fines (or unscreened pine bark mulch works well for me!), 1 part sphagnum moss 1 part perlite. Throw in a 1/4 cup of lime and your plants will thank you. My tree perked up within 24 hours of re-potting. It was incredible.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 9:35AM
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devinisagemini

Hello everybody,
I repotted in miracle grow citrus,cactus & palm soil mix,and also got miracle grow house plant food are those good for the tree?
I'll post pics below of the soil&fertilizer but I have a few more questions ...
are these flower buds in the middle of these new leaves they look like little yellow/green/white balls...?
Also the top leaves got huge!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 2:58AM
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devinisagemini

Here's another pic...

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 2:59AM
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devinisagemini

The top leaves are getting huge!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 3:01AM
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devinisagemini

The soil mix I got.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 3:02AM
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devinisagemini

The fertilizer I got C:

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 3:04AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Yes, those are flower buds :-)

No, that mix is not what I would call "good" for Citrus.
It has none of the properties of a good Citrus mix described in this Thread.
Off the shelf, options are limited. Fafard's offers a couple heavyweight mixes
that are very good, but not available in most parts of the country. The next closest
thing, and the most commonly available, would be a barky "Orchid Mix."

The fertilizer is adequate, but you will need to supplement the Calcium/Magnesium
most likely - unless the bottle specifically indicates those elements.

Josh

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 12:59PM
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devinisagemini

Thanks josh,
I'm not too sure how to mix things myself so I gave up and oped the."citrus" soil mix would be better than the horrible mix I made XD
what brand are the mixes you listed above?
I'm so excited to see flower buds!!!
They're all over the branches.
How often do you recomend I water/fertilize?
Thank you,
-Devin

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 2:11PM
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devinisagemini

how exactly do i supplement the cal&mag? and how often?

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 4:24AM
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devinisagemini

Why are the new young leaves wilting whenever i put them in the sun?
sunburn?
Help!!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 1:11AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

If you're putting the new leaves in outdoor sun, they will wilt.
Try putting the plant in outdoor shade. Outdoor shade is still several times brighter
than your sunniest indoor window. Slowly adjust your tree to the outdoor sun.

Josh

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 11:10AM
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devinisagemini

Thanks josh,
I did what you said and the trees been in shade all day now im wondering if the tree remains in shade until the new leaves are strong enough to be in sunlight again how will that affect the new flower buds do they need plenty of direct sunlight?I guess the true question is, is there any specific care changes I should make to acclimate the tree while its flowering to keep it happy?
Also since being in shade the leaves have not drooped thanks again!

Devin

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 5:01PM
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devinisagemini

The leaves are stronger now then they've ever been, Thanks Josh.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 5:04PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Very good :-)

Now that the leaves are firmer, increase the light exposure.
Yes, you want light for good flowering and fruit-set. Just remember,
one beauty of a containerized plant is that you can control how much
light it receives; so move the plant if it reacts negatively.

Josh

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:27AM
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devinisagemini

Awesome thanks josh,
I'll be sure to let up on constantly moving the tree to the sunniest spots while the new growth developes and hardens up.
I heard the flowers smell amazing cant wait!
I'll be back for help if another obstacle arises.
Without everyone here my tree would be a gonner.
Thanks again,Devin.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 1:30AM
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devinisagemini

Its happening again...what should I do?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 2:03AM
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devinisagemini

Is there a way to reverse the curling?
Or is it normal?
Thanks,Devin.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 2:05AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Go through the checklist:
1. hydration - over, under watering?
2. is the mix drying out properly?
3. is the plant free of pests?
4. too much heat/light/wind?

Josh

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 8:11PM
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devinisagemini

I think I was over watering,Im gonna start watering every monday and feed every other monday.
Hopefully that helps.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 3:06AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Also, poke a wooden kabob skewer deep into the pot and leave it there.
Check every few days to see if there is moisture on the stick in the bottom of the pot.
When the stick almost feels dry, you are safe to water.

Josh

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 1:51PM
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devinisagemini

Thatsa hella good idea im gonna try it C':

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 1:59AM
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devinisagemini

Heres an update on the flower buds,how long till you think the bloom?
-Devin

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 12:33AM
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devinisagemini

Also is it healthy/normal for the new branch to be slightly bent downwards.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 1:30AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Yes, normal. The new growth is pliant, especially when warm during the day. Indoor growth also tends to be stretchy, looking for light. You can always prune later in the Spring. As for the buds....the first should be opening any day now.

Josh

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 2:25PM
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devinisagemini

Cool thank you I was a little worried the branch supporting the flower buds might bend too far and break D:
Also, Does each flower grow an individual lemon, or one lemon per cluster of buds?
Thanks
-Devin

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 2:38AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

No, the flowers will not break the branch. And, each flower can set one fruit. For such a young tree, if you get fruit set, I would remove the fruits at the bb size. Let your little tree get a bit bigger so it can support fruit.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 10:48AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Yep, I agree with Patty :-)
At this size, remove the fruit to encourage growth.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 10:09AM
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Rorion

Hello I bought two improved meyer lemons from Lowes they were doing fine blooming and setting until it got colder and I brought them, now they have dropped there leaves and some of the branch tips have turned brown what can I do to save my lemon trees ?

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 3:33PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Rorion, you're probably better off starting a brand new message, instead of tacking onto an older message thread. Also, please include where you live and zone. And if your trees are in the ground or container (sounds like you're talking about container citrus, so your topic is quite different that the original poster's thread).

Patty S.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 4:48PM
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tcamp30144(7B N.ATLANTA)

One year old Meyer one lemon stayed.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 5:34PM
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bakermike(5)

leaves are turning yellow and the lemons are falling off. it is in a container that i just brought into the greenhouse for the winter. i gave it some micro nutrients and epsome salts, thought it would help but so far no luck, any help appreciated, thanks mike

    Bookmark   September 30, 2014 at 8:46PM
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dontommyg(6b)

Hi bakermike. If leaves are turning yellow it might need nitrogen, don't put salts there. Are they curing too?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2014 at 6:22PM
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