Mexican Lime just won't fruit

narayanan1May 19, 2013

Hi all - well - I have searched far and wide to solve my mystery but failed so far.

I live in sunny southern Calif. My Mexican lime in on the ground, but on northern side - but gets enough sun even during winter. It is 8 years old, and upto 12, 13 feet now. Ph is 6.5, and I fertilize twice a year with organics.

It flowers like crazy, but all fruits drop off. I got 4 fruits last year, and one this year. I am befuddled. A horticulturist friend of mine is baffled as well.

I thought I might have a sucker, but it has been confirmed that is not the case. 5 pics off this link.

https://picasaweb.google.com/109356379821434955646/Attachments_2013514?authkey=Gv1sRgCIzz-KewhuHvVg#slideshow/5878053045957414946

Would love to get help.

Thanks much!

Here is a link that might be useful: Mexican Lime Pics

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johnmerr(11)

"Mexican Lime" is a much maligned term... can you be more specific? Is it a seedless key lime, a key lime, a Persian or Tahitian lime?

None of these are favorites of mine; and as a wise person once told me, your tree is planted in the wrong place... as in it should be in Southern Mexico, the Carribean, Central America.

In particular your tree seems to be seriously underfed.

Try giving it a big dose of a good balanced citrus food, regular watering and patience; with some luck, it should produce fruits. FYI in Guatemala a seedless key lime with proper care produces fruits the whole year.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 7:58PM
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narayanan1

Thanks Johnmerr - to clarify - it is a Key Lime - a cultivar that is thornless - supposed to have seeds. I did see seeds in the one or two fruits I got.

Any suggestions on balanced citrus food? Preferably organic.

Appreciate your feedback.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 8:25PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

I agree with John, here. Mexican limes here in So. Cal. need FULL sun, lots of warmth and protection from any cold temps. They are the most sensitive of all citrus cultivars to any cold temps. Other citrus are more forgiving, but limes are kind of particular. In looking at your photos, I would say this tree is definitely not getting enough sun. It is stretched out and lanky, sure signs it is trying to "reach for the sun". Citrus need to be fertilized at least 3 to 4 times a year. If you're using an organic fertilizer, you must be sure to put down enough, as the concentration of your NPK will be much less than non-organic fertilizer. John is right - limes and lemons for the most part, have fruit available nearly all year long. Since it is too late to move your tree to a sunnier location, I would try fertilizing more frequently, and be sure you're applying enough with each application. Fertilize in February, May, July and October. See if you can get in at least 3 more applications this year, and let's see if you can get fruit to maturity.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 8:28PM
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Steve, Micro (6B ground, 5B roof)

hi narayanan1

Can you tell me how you get your slideshow to loop instead of dying after the last picture.

Thanks steve

See what happens when you click on the link. you have to start the slideshow and then it stops after the last picture.

This is of my seed grown meiwa kumquat tree

Here is a link that might be useful: https://plus.google.com/photos/111099372377958308731/albums/profile/5862762593941435714?banner=pwa&pid=5862762593941435714&oid=111099372377958308731

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 10:29PM
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narayanan1

Thanks Patty.

We are nearly in the same zone - I am in South Orange County - and I get your points. The tree is pretty solid, and I would hate to move it.

I will get 3 more cycles of fertilizer this year. Just a few weeks ago the tree has so many flowers it incredible. It was caked with heavenly smelling white flowers.

oh well.. will hope for the best.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 10:53PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Yup, our climates are probably nearly identical. I'm about 6-7 miles from the coast. Try to make sure nothing is shading the tree (if you can prune that away, if it's the house, well, not much you can do about that!) Lots of fertilizer now and in June. Then, let's see how you do this year with fruit set. Please let us how your little lime tree does.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 9:48PM
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narayanan1

Yes indeed, I am about 5 miles from coast as crow flies - but we tend to be cooler since we are on the ridge of a canyon that runs to Dana Point - bringing in the marine layer pretty quickly.

In retrospect, I should not have planted this tree on north side. It is not little though, towers to 13 feet. I will keep the pump primed with fertilizer, and keep you posted. My Valencia orange tree about 10 feet away is producing like a champ.

Raja

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 10:17PM
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Steve, Micro (6B ground, 5B roof)

home depot has just started carrying citrus this year. for $53 you can buy a tall lanky key lime tree, A blood orange, and meyer lemon trees. Leave it to home depot to carry the most trouble prone citrus available and all of them at a size that is to tall for a window. I am glad I read this forum regularly and thanks for all the advice you give to others and myself

Steve

    Bookmark   May 21, 2013 at 7:59AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

My grandpa had a 10 year old lemon that never fruited. He got really mad at that tree. One day, he girdled it almost all the way around. It thought it was dying, and produced fruit from that day forward.

Something to think about.
Suzi

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 8:51PM
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johnmerr(11)

Sometimes it is enough to just leave the chainsaw sitting next to the tree, or a large ax!!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 10:18PM
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narayanan1

Ha ... interesting suggestions !

You know, I asked the guy I hire to mulch my garden as to what was wrong with my tree.

He took a long hard look at the tree, and then a harder look at me and quipped in right earnestness .. "..the tree don't like you senor, try singing"

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 11:35PM
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Steve, Micro (6B ground, 5B roof)

cITRUS IS A ROYAL PAIN IN THE BUTT.
Nex time try figs.

See my 8 month old hardy chicago fig started from 1.5 inch cutting in september 2012


CLICK ON PICTURE TO OPEN PHOTO BUCKET CLICK ON MAGNIFYER GLASS LOWER RIGHT CORNER TO SEE 8 MEG PICS

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 11:56PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

There is something to be said for "singing." Many vineyards pipe classical music out to the vines so the grapes will be rich and fruity.

Our vines this year are heavy with fruit, but the only singing they got was that of the wind.

I know a LOT more about grape growing than I do about citrus, but plants are plants. One Aussie Vineyard with holds water for days until the vine droops. It thinks it's dying, so all the energy goes into the fruit. Then they water, and stop. Over and over.

I vote for a half bark girdle first. Next, I'd try piping music out there. It's a Mexican lime, so try a little salsa music. Last, I'd plant a little competition really close, and if the competition bears, I'd say good-bye to that lime and use it in the BBQ smoker.

OK, so I'm editing. Patty is 100% right. That tree needs sun! Think about it. A Key Lime... All there is in the Florida Keys is sun! No shade. I don't think the "tree don't like you, Senor." I think it wants a sunny spot!

Suzi

Here is a link that might be useful: Vineyard Irrigation Program

This post was edited by desertdance on Thu, May 23, 13 at 14:50

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 2:06PM
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Steve, Micro (6B ground, 5B roof)

desertdance

nice video.I send my vine up a 15 ft pole and let it shoot out new wood that hangs like an umbrella. I harvest the fruit from an eight ft ladder anchored to the pole. I can reach 15 feet comfortably. At dormancy I trim the vine back to its single trunk and repeat. I get great harvests with no work to speak of


GRAPE VINE ON 15 FT POLE

Since this is a citrus forum I would like to post a picture of my meiwa cutting after 2 weeks in rooting chamber. it still has no fruit. LOL


THE ROOTING CHAMBER AT INITIAL SETUP WITH MEIWA TWIG


TWIG FROM SEED GROWN MEIWA KUMQUAT TREE. Notice the new growth start as bud swells

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 7:50PM
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narayanan1

ok all -- sorry to ping again.

I bought a 10 pounds of organic citrus fertilizer. Per instructions, it looked like my tree size required 8 to 10 pounds (the whole darn bag). I applied 5 pounds last week, and with heavy watering. Notice some new leaves this week. No sign of any new flowers.

Should I go for the remaining 5 pounds? Any chance the organic fertilizer will burn the roots?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 5:40PM
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narayanan1

ok all -- sorry to ping again.

I bought a 10 pounds of organic citrus fertilizer. Per instructions, it looked like my tree size required 8 to 10 pounds (the whole darn bag). I applied 5 pounds last week, and with heavy watering. Notice some new leaves this week. No sign of any new flowers.

Should I go for the remaining 5 pounds? Any chance the organic fertilizer will burn the roots?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 5:42PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Yes, apply the rest, and no, pretty hard to burn roots with organic fertilizer (unless it's manure). Always be sure to water first, then apply fertilizer and water in. Which is why I do not use organic fertilizer :-) Here's the deal - inorganic fertilizer is changed to organic compounds which your tree can then absorb. Much less expensive, especially when you're dealing with full sized trees. I use mostly organic methods with some exceptions. We each need to make our own decisions with our dooryard citrus, but for me, chemistry tells me it's simply a waste of my $$. I do top my trees with compost as well as composted chicken manure for a N boost, and I only use Bayer Advanced Fruit Tree Insect Control because I have such extremely heavy pest pressure with CLM, but other than that, everything else is organic. For me, that works.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 6:19PM
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johnmerr(11)

Patty,

Does Bayer Advanced actually control your CLM? I have been told by a cupla people who should know that CLM just laughs at Imidacloprid (the active ingred. of Bayer Advanced). I am sooo happy we don't have CLM here in Guate.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 7:50PM
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narayanan1

Well folks ...just to circle back ... my free is now full of fruits.

All the suggestions - extra fertilizer, water, and a ton of compost all seemed to have done the trick.

Tree now has more than a hundred golf ball size fruits.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 8:58PM
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