Please save this tree!

jpollock68(7b)January 25, 2014

I purchased a Myer lemon last year and I've done a pretty good job of killing it. Between the dog jumping on it and breaking off one of the main limbs and the kids breaking off the "thorns" it's in pretty bad shape. What do I need to do to rehabilitate the poor thing?

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jpollock68(7b)

More photos

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 2:19PM
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jpollock68(7b)

The broken limbs

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 2:22PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

More light, a much better soil, and fertilizer I assume.

Jos

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 4:00PM
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mes111(5b -Purling NY & 7b -Nassau County NY)

The following will hurt you more than the tree.....

Cut the leggy branches down to near the V leaving 2 or 3 buds on the remaining portion below the cut.

Then water and keep it warm and under a strong light (26 watt CFL in a brooder lamp should be ok). New growth should pop in 2-3 weeks which will develop into new branch scaffolds.

Mike

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 4:41PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I would not advise removing any of the leaves at this point....the tree desperately needs those leaves for photosynthesizing machinery. Once there is a new flush of growth in late Spring, and when the tree can go outdoors, only then would I prune.

Josh

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 4:59PM
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jpollock68(7b)

Thanks guys. Ok...will the broken limb have any new growth or will the tree always be lopsided?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 6:10PM
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jpollock68(7b)

Also, I recently relocated the tree to the window it's in now, stopped over watering and it has grown about 6 inches in the last couple of weeks. It also began to grow a new branch from the v on the trunk but I touched it and it fell off when it was about 3 inches long...and I mean I barely touched it. I do fertilize with a higher nitrogen fertilizer...maybe too much. And the soil it's in was a potted citrus mix...is that ok?
The window it's in now is east facing. I had it south facing but the roof over hung the window too much.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 6:22PM
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mes111(5b -Purling NY & 7b -Nassau County NY)

I respectfully disagree with greenman23.

You underestimate the plant's power to survive.
Chop it and you will get a flush of new growth coming from every whichwhere beneath the cut from places you did not even see anything bud-like.

Leave it alone and you will get a leggy, top heavy, fragile spindle.

The plant will use its reserves to push new growth. Cut and put under a CFL which will give it more light than it needs. Later today, after I get home, I will send photo of one that I had to chop down in MID-NOVEMBER here in Southern NY.

Mike

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 8:35AM
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jpollock68(7b)

Thank you so much for your advice :)

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 1:17PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

The plant is at its lowest energy reserves right now - late Winter - which is why it is better to wait until some of those reserves are charged up again with a month or two of strong sun. I'm not under-estimating the tree, but rather suggesting that one work with the natural and optimum growth cycle in order to ensure the fastest recovery and the most compact new foliage.

I would definitely prune the tree, but I would not prune it now. By waiting, you will also be able to see whether that bare branch will re-sprout.

Josh

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 1:43PM
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mes111(5b -Purling NY & 7b -Nassau County NY)

This one was brought in on the weekend before Thanksgiving. I had forgotten it in the backyard in Nassau County NY.

It had lost all its leaves and was nothing but two twigs above where I made the cut and nothing below the cut.

All the growth you see started after it was brought in, warmed up and put under a CFL BULB.

It is just about 8 winter weeks weeks since I made the cut.

Mike

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 8:50PM
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jpollock68(7b)

Well.. I went ahead and gave it a good pruning. I've also had it under a full spectrum cfl grow lamp for a month or so. I'll continue that and we'll see how it goes. Keeping my fingers crossed. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 2:48PM
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mes111(5b -Purling NY & 7b -Nassau County NY)

jp...

Keep it warm.

Put a clear plastic bag over it sort of like a mini-greenhouse to keep it from drying out.

May the citrus be with you.....

Mike

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 3:55PM
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johnmerr(11)

And please remove the dead leaves and other litter from the soil; "orchard" floor sanitation is essential to controlling molds and other critters that might be harboring there.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 3:09PM
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vp_78

First of all, I'm cracking up at the image of your household chaos around the tree -- sounds like my house!!! :) And I will say that meyers can actually suffer a lot of abuse, if my meyer is typical. We inherited one when we bought our house two years ago, and it was almost completely bald of leaves. I was going to compost it, when lo and behold, after the first really warm week in early spring, it started sprouting leaves again. It now is covered in lemons and leaves, and it has only been about a year and a half since it was pretty much a bare stick!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 2:02PM
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jpollock68(7b)

New buds are forming on the green branch. Nothing so far nothing going on with the woody branch.
Thanks for the replies :)

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 9:35PM
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mes111(5b -Purling NY & 7b -Nassau County NY)

Yes

Every winter like the attack of the killer citrus.

They take over the same spot each year

Mike

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 9:31AM
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mes111(5b -Purling NY & 7b -Nassau County NY)

Please post some pics once it leafs out

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 8:20PM
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mes111(5b -Purling NY & 7b -Nassau County NY)

Jpollock68:

Hey... How are your trees doing after after your pruning?

Over the last 10 days or so, my trees (kept indoors under lights for the winter) have started to really pop with new green growth coming out all over; at the branch tips as well as down lower on pruned branches and even new branches on the trunks that were "headed" .

The temps in the house and the lights have been constant over the last 3-4 months but apparently the trees "feel" the seasonal change coming.

So how did your pruned trees do?
Mike

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 12:00PM
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