Lemon tree not producing

vettekidMay 3, 2010

I purchased a lemon tree from a catalog about 7 years ago. It was rather small (less than 12 inches), but it has now grown to about 2.5 feet. The leaves are not dark green and it has never bloomed. Any ideas on what I should be doing? I have heard that I need to "wound" the tree to make it think it is dying and must then produce fruit. Any truth to something like that? Thanks for any assistance!!


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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Heck NO, that's not true!

What you need to do is make certain that you are doing everything within your power to provide your tree with what it needs to thrive.

This means evaluating several factors carefully: your potting mix, the kind of container you have, the amount of real sunlight it receives, your watering routine, and fertilizing. From the roots to the top, your plant appears to be in trouble.

Your plant sounds like it has been languishing this past 7 years and you need to step up and get with the program!

Let's discuss your potting mix first. Go ahead, your turn. Let's see if we can't give this plant a boost.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 6:06PM
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Thanks for the information. As to the tree, I have it planted in a pot that is about 16 inches wide and deep. I have used regular potting soil that I have added a bark mixture for drainage. I keep the plant outside and it gets diffused light in the morning and direct light in the afternoon. I water it as the soil dries, but have not been fertilizing regularly. I have just ordered some Foliage Pro and will be using that with the white vinegar. What am I doing wrong? thanks! James

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 3:02PM
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hmm. 2.5 feet in 7 years, that seems awfully slow. then again, we probably get 7 years worth of your sunshine in 2.5 years here :)
Lemons are normally some of the fastest growing citrus. They're also some of the hungriest and love to be fed a good amount of nitrogen. I have a lemon tree that grew 2 feet just last year so you definitely need to tell it to get with the program. Also I'm not sure the bark was a good idea. I mean it may not be a bad thing, but you might want to fertilize a little extra because as far as I know, wood will rob nitrogen from soil as it decomposes, and lemon trees like lots of nitrogen. So feed it something... I don't know what the others feed their lemon trees since mine are in the ground it's a bit different. I raise quail, and I use quail manure sometimes composted, sometimes un-composted, it's quite nitrogen rich so I put it at the edge of the canopy not near the trunk. I also use some fish emulsion from time to time, sometimes I just bury a fish close one of my citrus trees. Even osmocote will help. just don't starve the poor things.
Now I'll go preach a sermon to my trees and tell them to better use up their allotment of quail manure and fatten up and I'll remind them about the poor little starving lemon trees in Tennessee.
Ok folks, please don't be offended at my silly humor... I've been in front of a computer for too long today, gotta vent some.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 8:32PM
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oh and about "wounding" the tree... there's some truth to that, but you don't really wanna do that. Many plants respond to stress by fruiting... kinda like a last effort to procreate before dying. That's not the kind of response you want from your tree. A little pruning does stimulate new growth sometimes, but it sounds more like your tree is just starved, and probably needs more sunshine as well.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 8:42PM
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Are you letting it dry out some between waterings? Your pot sounds plenty big and it may just want to dry out more. I tend to underplant my citrus (smaller pots) and grow them in full sun--day long. Under these conditions, I have to hose them down daily thoughout much of the spring and the summer (they're in a hot location out in the back and dry out in about a day). Under these conditions they are currently full of fruit and blooming heavily. I fertilized them with a slow release fertilizer earlier in March. Also, I don't know if it's necessary, but all my citrus are kept at very chilly temperatures over the winter (40 to 60 F.)--in a garage. Blooming normally begins anytime from February into March--though this year they started in January. PS., Yes, the garage is very sunny. It faces directly south (unobstructed), and the double doors were replaced with glass panels.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 5:39PM
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Thanks to all of you with your suggestions. I have bought some Foliage Pro fertilizer and will start using that. Maybe before too long, I can post some pictures showing the success of this. Thanks!


    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 9:38AM
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