Help? Meyer Lemon-- leaves all dead but new buds?

chicagocanine(zone 5, Chicago)May 6, 2011

I need some help with my Meyer Lemon tree. I got it in the mail a month ago (not realizing how small it would be) and it was doing very well for 2-3 weeks but I think I over- or under- watered it because suddenly all the leaves curled up and died. They were still green, not brown but all dry and dead. I thought the tree might be dead, but now it has started to grow several flower buds.

I'm not sure what to do? Will it be able to survive with buds but no leaves?

I have it indoors sitting in a window, it's not warm enough here for it to be outside yet.

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chicagocanine(zone 5, Chicago)

Also wanted to add, when I got it there were two tiny starts of lemons but I think those died too.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 10:29PM
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could be cold damage if the leaves werent brown. after a few hard freezes this winter, the leaves on my oranges dried and fell off, still green.

is it in a south facing window? it'll need maximum light.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 5:06AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

You need to figure out if your plant was over or under watered, or if the problem comes from another direction. The kind of potting soil you use can have a direct influence on proper watering, for example.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 9:48AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Chicago, a few photos helps if you can post them. I would make sure your container is large enough, and it has well-draining potting soil. Lots of discussion on this forum about the best potting soil for citrus, both commercially available and mix-yourself. Also, it is well worth investing in a moisture meter. You can get a nice one just about anywhere - big box stores, Walmart, your local nursery. That way, there's no guessing. If the moisture meters reads below 50%, it's time to water. I would carefully re-pot your little tree and carefully look at the roots to make sure they're in good shape, not rotten or circling the pot. If they're in good shape, but circling, you'll want to trim them, as they'll just continue to grow in a circle and strangle the tree. Placing it in a nice sunny window is a good thing, and eventually when the weather allows, you can move it outside to filtered sunshine, then full sun as it atclimates to the outside and full sun.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 10:38AM
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chicagocanine(zone 5, Chicago)

I forgot to mention this is a dwarf meyer lemon...

I did repot it because I thought that the pot size might be why it had lost its leaves.

I don't think it's cold damage as it was inside the warm house.

Here are two photos of it:

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 2:41PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Yikes. Looks like it might be buried too deeply, for one thing. I can't really tell much about the potting medium from the images. Does this ceramic pot have adequate drainage holes?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 3:00PM
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chicagocanine(zone 5, Chicago)

I repotted it after the leaves fell off, so I may have planted it to deep then but the leave were already gone.
The pot has a hole in the bottom, I also put some rocks in the bottom to keep the drainage open.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 3:03PM
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Hi, I think you should be able to see the top of the major roots right where it comes off of the trunk. The soil should be a well draining soil too. I would put large pieces of pine bark and a lot of perlite into your soil mix. I bought my first citrus a couple of years ago and did the same thing. I bought the home depot miracle grow citrus mix and repotted into a larger pot and the meyer lemon tree dropped all its leaves and that spring had nothing but flowers that dropped the next day. I put it back into the original smaller pot with good draining soil and it eventually recovered.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 11:30PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

As for those rocks in the bottom, they won't improve drainage. I know that sounds strange but it's a matter of soil physics.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 1:17AM
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