511 mix for my container meyer lemon

KHershey(5)July 30, 2014

Total garden/citrus newbie here.
I know there a tons of posts on this already, but I'm so new at this, I'm looking for some short and simple answers to help my poor aching brain.
In my previous searches through this forum's posts in search of a reason behind yellow leaf spots on my lemon tree (turns out it's spider mites) - I noticed LOTS of posts about 511 mix and gritty mix.
When I potted up my lemon tree, since didn't know differently, I used Miracle Gro Cactus/Succulent mix. I've read lots of posts about how this is a terrible mix to use when growing citrus since it retains too much water around the roots.
I've read as much as my inexperienced brain can handle on porosity, aeration, pH balances, and I'm still quite lost.
Based on what I DO understand, I'm considering re-potting my Meyer Lemon after finishing up treatment for spider mites, but I want to make sure I'm doing the right thing.
As I understand it, between gritty mix and 511, the 511 is lighter, and holds more moisture than the gritty mix, but gritty mix is better for citrus because of drainage and aeration. Since I'm worried moving the weight of the gritty mix around, and I tend to under-water - I'm leaning toward the 511.
What I'm asking is: is a 511 mix ok for a two year old lemon tree after being in Miracle Gro? Is there a right mix or wrong mix here - am I making a wrong choice? How will this affect my tree's fertilizer? I currently water every 7-10 days with DynaGro Foliage Pro liquid fertilizer in it.
I love my lemon tree and want to do right for it, but I'm so new at this that I'm very unsure. Looking for some straight-forward advice from someone who knows what they're doing. :) I included a pic of my tree so people could tell what I'm working with. My tree is by a South facing window with an East window on one side.

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Well another Newbie..Welcome to the citrus addicts world...

Let me see if I can answer a few questions for you)

The 5.1.1 mix would be perfect, best next to the gritty one..It won't hold up as long as the gritty mix, but will give you a good couple of years and is a zillion times better than the MG junk.

If you do switch to the 5.1.1 mix, make sure you make it right, and to wash all the old mix, (MG) of the roots and then plant it in just the 5.1.1 mix..You must fill in all around the roots well and then, soak well....While you are at it, see if you can mix in a slow release fertilizer like Dynomite or Osmocote too..

You can water every watering with Foliage Pro at 1/4 strength, or once a week at full strength or more...

It's a very nice tree...It wil be very happy in a good porous mix by fall for winter and will love all the sunlight you can give it..

Have you kept that tree indoors all this time?


    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 7:18PM
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Hi Mike!
I can't say thanks enough for the straight advice. I'm enjoying learning the science behind the principles of container gardening, but without any solid horticultural experience or gardening background, I keep second guessing myself about making changes.

I completely know what you mean about the citrus addict world. Once my tree had it's first flowers/lemons- I was in love. They're just so beautiful. :)

I'll be sure to re-read all the directions 3 times (or more) before mixing. One of the frequent contributors (a Josh, I think?) posted a video on mixing 5-1-1 that I'll watch beforehand also.

As I understand, the 5-1-1 is 5 parts finely mulched pine bark, 1 part peat, 1 part perlite, with dolomitic lime, and the slow release fertilizer you mentioned. I'm familiar with Osmocote, but don't know anything about Dynomite. Is one better than the other for 5-1-1 mix? This is my first citrus-baby so I'm trying to do everything right.

Yes, I have had my tree inside the whole time I've had it. It was a gift, that came from a Hirt's Gardens through Amazon. I had almost no instruction, so I just went with what the local nursery staff said: pot it in cactus mix and put it in the sunniest spot in the house. Little did they, or I, know...

After being on the site, I see that most people move them outside when the weather gets warm enough. Do you think it's too late in the summer to take advantage of that? Also, do you think it would over-stress the tree to move it outside at this point? Right now I'm needing to treat it for spider mites (the whole reason I found this site was searching for someone who could tell me why the leaves were getting yellow speckles). Between the mites and re-potting, I'm worried it'll be too much for a young tree. Thoughts or advice?

Sorry, I know there's a LOT in this post. I'm very grateful for any knowledge and experience you can toss my way. :)
A million thanks!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 10:28PM
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your tree looks happy. I would repot it just to change potting mix. Change potting mix when it needs to be repotted.

Plants, like people, do not like change.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 12:10PM
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Scott is very right, for a stressed tree..

Mine love to be repotted no matter when I do them because they are healthy..

If you feel that it is stressed because of the mites, then treat your tree for that..It is never too late to bring it outside..Just acclimate if first so as to not burn the leaves off..
Put the tree under a tree or eave, or early morning or late day sun..Do not let it sit in sunlight that would burn your skin..Being between 10-3 p.m.

You can spray your tree with a hose almost every day to help ward off those mites and beneficial pest will do the job too..If you find you still have mites, you have many options to rid them once and for all naturally..

If your plant was very healthy I would say to repot as soon as today..But you have the option to either wait until it's cooler and your plant is healthier to repot before the winter..
Or prepare your pot for wicking which is explained here..

Osmocote great and Dynamite good for me..


    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 7:49PM
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Thank you both for the words of wisdom!

I'll definitely be moving my tree outside, under a shade tree to acclimate it, and to spray off those mites. I feel a little bad about depriving my tree of so much summer sunshine.

Scott, I'm going to take your advice about waiting a while. Since I've had a few leaves drop due to the mites, I think I'm going to wait until my tree is back to normal before trying to mess with the Miracle-Gro-covered roots. I'm sure that as a 511 rookie, there will probably be a bit of stress involved in that first transfer, for both me and the tree. (ha)

Mike, I'll be sure to give the 511 mix a shot though once my tree is back to normal. I've seen a couple of your 511 citrus posts, and you've made a believer out of me.

Again, HUGE thanks to you both for helping out the new kid. :)

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 9:44PM
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I've enjoyed reading about the meyer lemon tree as I have one, just received a week ago. I have to repot it soon and I understand the 5.1.1 but after checking locally, I'm stumped about the wood chips. Another site recommended Chc(coconut husk chips) but they seem hard to find as well. Have people used the internet to get supplies. I live in NY about an hour north of NYC, no local supplies, that I can find.. Can I get some help here for my Meyer Lemon and clementine trees.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 12:12AM
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Hi Marcom13. I use repti- bark that I get from pet smart for my 5-1-1 mix. It works well for me and my plants seem happy. Best of luck with you trees. Maggy

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 7:33AM
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Hello Maggyby,
It's very kind of you to offer help and I thank you. I'm terribly new to citrus and really to container planting, except for the flowers I grow indoors. I'm very happy to have found this site as the place I bought the trees, Meyer lemon and clementine really do not have much in house help. Fast growing Trees, good product poor follow up. That being said, their trees are exceptional. Now, I need to learn how to take care of them. They recommended CACTUS SOIL!????
Once again,Thank you for your response and help. I also want to thank Millet for the info he provides to all.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 7:01PM
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