Is there still time to get more flower blossoms on lemon tree?

jpbostonApril 6, 2013

my lemon tree was severely damaged by the frost. it basically looked like a 10 foot dead stick in the ground, but I trimmed and fertilized it with AZ's Best a few weeks ago, and it has now grown many leaves and looks healthy.

The only problem is I've only seen about three flowers on it. Am I going to be out of luck because it needed all its strength to grow new leaves? For instance last summer, it had a ton of flowers which turned into a lot of lemons, too many to count... but the frost killed 90% of them and all the leaves.

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It may rebloom. Or it may not. We had a bad freeze about 3 years ago when mine was blooming, and I lost most of the blooms, and I think it did rebloom some, but I only got a dozen lemons that year.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 1:42PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

You are correct in thinking that the plant finds it difficult to recover its foliage after a devastating loss PLUS devote energy to flower production. Woody plants, if allowed to react normally to such loss will allocate their carbon resources to the most essential need.

We know that plants manufacture all of their own food in the leaves. If the leaves are removed for any reason, the plant will remetabolize stored reserves in order to grow more leaves. This is an annual and expected event with deciduous plants....they are programmed to begin storing energy, mostly in the roots, in the early fall. That's what gives them the carbon reserves to begin growing in the spring.

Citrus and other evergreens aren't really genetically set up for massive defoliation and it can be very stressful. They can only do so much....and if left to their own devices will establish the best priories. We interrupt this process by heavy pruning or excess fertilization.

Does all of this make sense? Your job is to allow your plant to recover at its own pace. Do not think of fertilizer as medicine. It should be used only if needed and very conservatively.

If the tree flowers and produces fruit, great! It will have done so because it was allowed to. We support the growth and development of our trees but we want them to achieve normal growth, not accelerated growth.

So, don't be discouraged if you miss a year of production. Your tree will eventually "take care of business ".

By the way, your tree may be very susceptible to pest attacks after a defoliation. Natural pest resistance also takes carbon resources that the plant just doesn't have. Watch out for spider mites and scale.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 3:55PM
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Valley wide in Arizona our soil has some deficiencies. Arizona's Best Citrus Food is formulated specifically for our soils and should be used on a schedule. Having said that. Freeze or no freeze. Giving to much fertilizer at the wrong time can cause a tree to stop flowering in favor of producing more leaves and new growth.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 2:55PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

How did it get that gnarly wound?


    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 11:08AM
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The wound on the tree is from a branch that snapped off from too much weight (of the lemons).

So... nothing left to do now other than water and wait?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 8:04PM
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