Meyer Lemon tree leaves yellowing and dropping

lolainthecolaMarch 24, 2011

I planted a largish Meyer lemon tree in my yard last fall. It did well through the winter and is now covered in buds, but the leaves are turning yellow and dropping off rapidly. All the leaves now look unhealthy, even the ones that are still green. I've treated it for scale, and the last few days it looks like it's developing greasy spot, so I'll have to treat that, but the leaf situation has predated this problem. The store where I got the tree says it's either overwatered (definitely isn't- is more likely to be underwatered as I only water a minute or so once a week and it hasn't rained much this month) or underfertilized (I fertilized according to directions just a month ago). I would appreciate any tips anyone could give. I am worried it might be a lack of sunlight that's to blame, as now that the nearby trees are in leaf, it's getting a lot less light than it did.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lemon Tree leaves

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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

you said "I only water a minute or so once a week"

Why so little?

You need to water enough to moisten the entire rootzone, each time you do water. Whether you need to repeat weekly or not is determined by how moist the soil is.

Right now the surrounding soil should be moist. If the soil was dry when you plated, it's still dry. The only way to know for certain is to stick a trowel or a finger in it.

Then, you need to make certain supplemental water goes directly into the rootball. That area will dry much more rapidly than the surrounding soil. You may need to water the rootball every several days. Stick a finger in it to know for certain.

And why do you think the tree has greasy spot? More likely the tree is suffering from rampant neglect. (Insufficient water.) It's not even established as yet. (See above info for watering.)

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 3:12PM
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Hi Jean,

Thanks for the watering tips. When I bought the tree, the garden gave watering instructions: daily for a certain number of weeks, twice weekly for a certain number of weeks, then once a week after that. They said to have the hose on a very slow drip for about half an hour. Because of kids and dogs messing with the hose, I have instead stood there and held the hose while I water with a rapid stream of water, but still did it once a week. If you think it needs more water,I can definitely do that (the soil is very sandy so it doesn't hold much moisture) but the tree doesn't look the way I would it expect it to if underwatered. My other three citrus trees receive the same watering treatment and are doing okay.

Just the last few days, I have seen black spots of the leaves- they're almost fuzzy like a fungus is growing on the leaf. I was guessing that it is greasy spot as that seems to be a problem in this area. However, I treated the tree with a neem-based product last weekend, and I think that ought to cover greasy spot, too, although I haven't seen any change yet.

I'll try your watering suggestions today!


    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 3:52PM
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Are you sure you do not have spider mites? I would urgently check for that... Spring is their season. And if it is SM, a single application of neems will do nothing! In severe cases, they would spit neems back in your face - you will need lime sulphur or something.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 9:36PM
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Hi gleb! Well, now that you say that,I did notice a few small webs on the tree. I thought it was spiders eating the white flys (there are a few white flys on the leaves but my neighbor said that they don't hurt anything- right?) I'll try treating for spider mites and see how that does.

I've been looking at photos online for days and just don't see anything that looks like my tree problems. It's so hard to tell what is going on!

Many thanks!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 10:18PM
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I just noticed pictures in your post... I think I was wrong and the leaves do not look like spider mites problem... They would have really tiny yellow dots first and lower leaves would be affected first (at least, they did this to my trees). Another characteristic would be young flush turning black on it's tips.

Let's wait for experts!

Good luck in your battle!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 11:01PM
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