Look at my Lemon tree - Do I keep loving it or leave it?

niksta007August 6, 2014

I recently purchased a house that happened to have a lemon tree growing in the back corner of the yard. When I decided to finally get stuck into the garden, I hacked away at a few of the lower branches (as per advice received from friends). You can see there is almost a "double stump". Since doing so, I have been doing a bit of research into caring for your lemon tree and how to remove "suckers" but I am having trouble identifying them on my tree (if they are even there at all). See the pic below. Are these green shoots growing from the trunks the suckers in question? Do I hack these off also? Do I hack the whole thing down to the stump?? Or is my tree at the point of no return? I have only seen one lemon on the tree since I moved in in April this year, so I am not sure if its the time of year or if its the health of the tree. Would really appreciate any advice for a newbie in the garden!

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Here is an additional photo to accompany my original post.
Thanks again for your help!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 2:58AM
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Food, water, pest management.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 8:57AM
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Nikki...I can already tell it's responding to your love and care..Great job..

I would continue to love it..I can only imagine a few more months of your care and how it will respond..


    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 11:53AM
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Hi there!
You can tell what are suckers and what are branches by finding the "graft line" and that is toward the bottom of the tree, mine are somewhere around 6" from the ground. You can see an angled line or a bulge of some sort. Try googling "graft line" and you will probably see some good pictures. If not let me know and I will go take a picture of one on my tree. Anything below that line is a "sucker" and will pull nutrients from your tree. Looking at the picture I can't really tell but I would be worried one of those branches might be a sucker. If you rule that out then keep with it and after a few months you should see your hard work pay off!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 5:20PM
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Thanks everyone. @Nicky2122, It maybe possible that this tree was not grafted as I cannot find a graft line or bulge anywhere... If not, does that mean I can just let it go hell for leather and not bother pruning it at all? I will keep up the food, water and pest control anyway in the meantime :)

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 9:33PM
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Now I am out of my depth! If it were in my yard I would just wait to see what happens. Or if you really want lemons I might get a new tree. Sorry I don't know more about this!

I did a google search and it does look like citrus can sometimes not have a graft. I have no idea how to deal with that. If your tree wasn't grafted then I would think what you have is just multiple branches so they should produce fruit. But if you tree was grafted I wonder if you still have the original trunk or if those are suckers and that is why you don't have fruit. I am sorry I am not being much help!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 12:22PM
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carolb_w_fl(zone 9/10)

Hi from FL - looks like it may've been over"pruned" & has responded by putting out a multitude of new branches to compensate.I wouldn't cut off anything right now if you want it to survive. Give it time & TLC as already suggested & when it's grown more, you can start thinning out any crossed branches. it may take a year or more to start producing anything because of the shock.

Sad to say, you seem to have left the parts that will eventually grow more towards the fence, rather than away from it�

OTOH, all the trunks may be from below a graft(that is, it's possible somebody might've cut the tree down long ago & it sprouted back as multiple shoots), or it may've grown from seed & may not be a good producer - only time will tellâ¦.

Here is a link that might be useful: from Florida, but still may be helpful

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 12:46PM
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Hi Nicky, where in Qld are you? I am on the Sunshine Coast. I have dealt with citrus trees for years here in the SE Qld climate. To me it looks as if yours could have been grown from seed. But it is hard to say. How long have you been living there and how much pruning did you do, and when?

Here citrus trees (lemons in particular) are knocked back by heavy pruning, but respond well the second year. Have you seen any blossom?

Please PM me if you would like to have a chat about it.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 9:39PM
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