Meyer Lemon leaf drop

epipidobatJuly 12, 2012


I see that many other people are posting on a similar topic, but I can't tell how the other answers apply to my tree. I would greatly appreciate expert insights!

Basically, I have a small (3ft) meyer lemon tree that used to be in a pot and has dropped most of its leaves over the last few weeks, after attempts at rehabilitation. I'm clearly not helping, but don't know what to do. Here is the saga in case detail will help:

My sister had the tree in its pot in an extremely hot/dry outdoor environment where it did just fine for about 2 years. She moved and took it to a place where it was cooler and shadier, and the leaves started to turn yellow (toward the outside, with green veins). She gave it extra food in case it was a nutrient deficiency. She watered it somewhat infrequently, although there was a chance that it was a bit damp. After about 9 months, she gave up and decided that maybe it needed to be out of the pot and in real soil if the pot was the problem, and moved it to my house (in N. Cal) to be transplanted. We planted it about 2 months ago. The leaves nearly all had some yellow, but it flowered nicely. A few weeks in, thinking that the yellow was getting worse, I gave it some more citrus-tree food when I watered it one week (watering = filling a trench-y area around the tree once a week). Soon after, some of the veiny parts of the leaves turned brown and shriveled, while the outside parts stayed yellow. Those leaves subsequently fell off, along with all lemonets. Currently, there are about 20 leaves, about 7 of which are a new-leaf green (not too dark) on the bottom branches, but there are no leaves at all on the top.

I don't want to give up on the tree, but I'm not sure what to do to help. Does anyone have advice?

Thanks in advance!!

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First, don't despair. Your Meyer, which by most standards is a bit sensitive when grown as a garden tree, has suffered from probably being too long in the same pot, from being moved to new light conditions, and then transplant shock being planted inground. The good news is now that it is in the ground, and in one place, it will recover nicely. FYI, since you planted it in the ground, the roots have been growing; first the roots grow, and after that the leaves and branches grow. Have a little patience, water it deeply about once per week in the Summer, and give it some good citrus fertilizer 3 to 4 times per year per label instructions. Keep us posted as it grows and produces blooms next Spring and fruit next November... yes, I actually know when it will bloom in Northern California, unlike many other latitudes and altitudes.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 11:23PM
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As an addendum, I realized I neglected to say that it is in fairly full sun right now, but the temps usually get to high 70s here, so I don't think it is roasting.


    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 11:24PM
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I apparently was too hasty with my addendum -- thanks so much for the encouragement and the interpretation of my poor tree's health! I will give it time to recover, as you suggest. Thanks!!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 11:27PM
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As a follow-up, I wanted to let the forum know that my tree did indeed start refoliating a full year after the original leaf drop. I'll post a picture soon -- it is still clearly recovering, but the new flowers and tons of new leaves are well worth having waited through the year! Thanks again for the help with my post. :)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 1:08AM
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