best way to acclimate meyer lemon to outdoors

pieheart(6)April 20, 2011

I have a meyer lemon tree that I bought last summer. It has been in my kitchen for the winter. What is the best way to put it outside? In my area we could still get frost for another month or so, but it's unlikely after Mother's Day. Normally I wait until the inside outside is the same as inside and the nights don't go below freezing before I put out my houseplants. But can't meyer lemon trees can take a bit of cold? I guess I'm mainly concerned about shocking the tree when I put it outside.

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subtropix

Cold hardiness is more complicated than you might think. It's one thing if the plant has been growing under cool conditions to experience some degree of "cold" and another thing to go from a warm kitchen to the outside in a matter of seconds--especially if the plant is in a growth or flowering cycle. Still, the Meyer's should be okay once your temps are stabilized between 60's (day) and 40's (night). My citrus overwinter in a cold garage and are more acclimated to chilly conditions already--so mine go out once temps stabilize above freezing (32 F)--and they've been out since late March. Once you do put them out, select a site protected from excessive sun, wind, and even RAIN. After a week or so of shade & wind protection, you can move them in a sunnier /more exposed location. Once they are acclimated, provide the sunniest location you have. If you do experience the occasional, freakish late frost--I wouldn't panic unless temps drop into the upper 20's (especially if only for a single night).

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 5:41AM
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pieheart(6)

Thanks for the quick reply!

Do you think it would be a good idea to put it in the garage now for a couple of weeks? I would have done that this winter but the garage gets cold enough in January and February to freeze a jug of water so I thought it might have been too cold.

And on a lighter note, has anyone besides me ever had a cat eat a lemon tree? I kept looking for insects chewing the leaves until I caught the cat in the act. I need to build a cage for next winter. Not sure if the cage will be for the tree or the cat!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 6:33AM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Njoasis said it perfect!

If your garage gets sunlight, why not?

They will get use to the fluctuating temps in their until you put them outside. As long as the temps in there are warmer than outside temps which can be in the 30's by night.

By the way, I have seen my cat rip my leaves apart playing around amongst them, but never eat the leaves. But who knows, my cat loves cooked garlic!

Mike

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 9:08AM
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pieheart(6)

Mike, my cat eats anything growing. It's very depressing since I like to have houseplants in most rooms. He's destroyed two spider plants and gone after the dracena (poisonous so I made it inaccessible to him. )I've never had a cat like this, all my other cats have left plants alone.

The garage gets some sunlight, but most of the light is indirect this time of year. I could leave the light on though. Not much but better than nothing?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 4:45PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Leaving your trees in the garage will get them use to the temp changes and you could even leave the doors open on warmer days.

But you will still have to acclimate to full sun gradually and when you decide to do so, please let us know. We will direct you:-)

What a cat, right? Worse than a squirrel. lol

Mike

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 4:57PM
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pieheart(6)

Thanks! I'll check back when the temperatures level off. We're still in the spring fluxuations here in NWNJ, 75 one day, 45 the next.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 9:21PM
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pieheart(6)

Okay, apparently the temperatures are going to rise a lot quicker than I realized. It's supposed to be in the 60's, 70's, and possibly 80 this week. Nights in the 50's. Maybe I should just put my tree directly outside? I was thinking of placing it on my deck, next to the house, partially sheltered by our bbq grill. It would get dappled morning sun and be protected from wind and direct rain.

Would this be a good plan?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 11:09PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Yes!

The perfect amount of light for the next couple of weeks. It will thank you for the vacation outdoors! Let us know how they do.

They may react for a few days, either for the good or bad, but they will find much joy eventually out there!

Please post us some pictures of them frolicking out there, will you?

Remember to make sure you checked the roots, washed the tree off of any suspected pest, and don't be afraid to hose off the leaves on a regular basis, making sure not to water it until it gets use to being outdoors and starts taking up more moisture more rapidly.

Mike;-))

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 6:14PM
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