Meyer lemon tree lost leaves, branches still green

infomofoApril 18, 2011

My improved meyer lemon tree is in container, and we brought it indoors for the winter. It did quite well for a few months and the last month it had a few problems, including fungus gnats, and it lost a lot of leaves. We got the larval fungicide and killed them and were able to move the tree back outside when the weather got better. We've had some decent weather yet, but I haven't seen any new leaf growth on my tree. I'm wondering if this tree has any hope of recovery? Any suggestions would be highly appreciated.

Here's a picture of the tree now.

A close up of some of the branches.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Be patient. Still too cool in zone 6 for new growth. Be careful about how much water it'll be getting outside--less is better until growth resumes (don't feed it until growth starts). It should regrow if conditions are favorable. Also not unusual for Citrus to sit and do NOTHING then have a growth spurt.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 8:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Is that mix the original mix that tree came with? How long has that tree been growing in that mix? How long does it take for it to dry out during the cloudy cooler, short days?

That mix looks a little too heavy for something I would keep mine in, especially if only after a few months it collapses and harbor gnats.

Over watering must be an issue because of the amount of pest you speak of which in turn causes a tree to decline rapidly all of a sudden, in turn leaf loss due to many other factors besides.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 10:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with Mike. The soil looks very dark/damp like regular potting soil which will tend to be heavy and hold water longer. I would also remove the water tray from the bottom. If needed water the tree, catch the run off then remove the tray each time. Citrus do not like wet feet.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 10:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Semi-lurker butting in: my Meyer also hates cold feet. I notice your pot is behind the parapet and in shade in the photo. Does the pot get any sun during the day to warm the soil? I understand leaving it there in the heat of the summer because the heat of the roof can easily cook the roots, but it may help now. Just a thought. The combination of cold AND wet in particular seems to send my tree into a funk . . .

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 8:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Great points made Base and Wood!

If the soil temps drop below 55 on most occasions even in a well draining mix, the leaves are going to drop off if you are exposing the tree to lots of strong sunlight. That is another factor besides.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 9:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Cut those tapes holding your plant to the stake. They look like they might be strangling the stem. That, alone, can kill a woody plant.

Fungus gnats, as Mike says, are a very common symptom of soils that are too dense and probably too moist. It would be far better for the plant if you addressed the problem by changing that environment so that the insects wouldn't be able to breed in the container.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 12:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow, thanks for all the responses. The mix is not the original mix, but it has been in this mix since last fall, and I do think you're right it is too heavy. I was planning on repotting my plant, but I had read in some other threads that it was best to repot after the plant has a growth spurt? Maybe in this case I don't have the luxury of waiting for that...

I will take away the tray, thanks.

The plant's soil does get sun for several hours every day actually, I just took the picture at a time when it was in shade. Just a note- we had fungus gnats when the container was indoors, but they have been all killed since then.

So I'll repot this in a better mix, and I was planning on moving it to a slightly bigger pot anyway. I'll be patient and hope he gets some growth soon. Thanks for all the great advice folks!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 12:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Infomofo: What color were the leaves when they fell off?

Hopefully you will get new growth soon.

The very same thing Rhizo told me years ago and that is the first thing I do now when I get a new plant! Removing the tape and or bands around mine were a life saver!


    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 2:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mike- The leaves were green.

So still no new growth, but the leaves that are on the tree look healthy. We have been getting a lot of sun lately so I'm hoping the tree can come around...

So just this morning I saw some webs on the tree that I hadn't noticed before! I took them off and I sprayed the tree down with a garlic/pepper spray that I had been recommended to use to ward off pests, but is this spider mites? Do I need to do something more specific for these?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 2:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It is hard to tell you without pictures, since your trees have been outdoors.

You should really try and see if they are mites. If those webs are from regular spiders, please, don't kill them:-)
If you take a closeup of those webbs, someone like Rhizo well educated in that field could identify for you:-)

Leaves will fall of green if you have underwatered it.
Leaves fall off green, curled, and not flexible if they are infested with mites.
Leaves will fall off green if the roots all of sudden just shut down.

I would really make sure you have the right pest identified since it would not suprise me to see mites attck your tree in such a weakend state, nor would it suprise me to see a few regular spiders take up residence since some have in mine already.

Regular spiders could of made an appearence on your tree since it has been outside looking for a hiding spot or food. Please make sure you do not have them confused.

If you are 'certain' they are mites, then we can take it from there. Happy growing!


    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 3:25PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Mexican Lemon
There is not much about this tree even here. Does anyone...
Frank Car
BUGS 17 :-)
HI all 16 had over 300 post so started this one. Trace...
tcamp30144(7B N.ATLANTA)
Please share recents pic of your potted citrus with us.
Here is just a few of miine larger and smaller ones.. I...
Phoenix Orange Tree Watering Schedule/Setup
All, I just moved into a house with an orange tree...
Andrew McCabe
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™