My New Tree: A Journey

incunable1453August 2, 2012

Dear All,

Meyermike was a great help to me when I got my new Meyer Lemon tree a few weeks ago, and suggested that I post here about getting, planting, and then attempting to grow my first tree. That sounded like great fun, so I hope you'll join me on this new adventure! None of the pictures will be great this time because the good camera is in Houston, but the next set should be much better.

I purchased my tree from Four Winds and it it arrived looking like this:

Considering that it had traveled across the country (literally, since it went from California to Massachusetts), I thought it looked great. The size was a bit disappointing, though. I purchased the three-year-old tree, and the tree they advertized was quite a bit bigger and fuller than what I received. You can see the three sizes of trees they offer posted below for comparison. Still, I plan on buying from them again, no question.

When I removed the bag and the wood chips they use for shipping the roots looked thus:

I immediately put the tree in warm water to soak for half an hour before planting. Yes, that's a garbage can... We're all about multitaskers here.

As it soaked, I got my stuff together, including my pot and 5-1-1 mix very kindly provided by Meyermike (thanks, Mike, you're amazing!).

And a blurry close-up of the 5-1-1 mix:

Once it was done soaking, I mounded up some of the mix in the bottom, stuffed a big hand-full of the mix into the root ball and then planted it, making sure to work the mix into the roots. In the process of planting/destroying my living room:

I then watered it heavily until the water ran out the bottom. Over the next two weeks I kept it in the shade and dappled light as it transitioned. Over the last week or so I've been leaving it in the sun more.

For the most part things are going pretty well. I'm getting some yellow leaves on the bottom, but I haven't been using Foliage Pro yet (it arrives this week). I'm hoping that that takes care of it. There is no sign of anything but leaves yet, but the new growth is taking off and flourishing. Updated pictures coming soon.

After much thought and consideration, I decided to name her Lovely Lemon. Friend and family now ask about her by name, which makes me think that a) I have really patient friends and family and b) I need to spend more time here to give them a break from tree chatter.

Thanks so much for reading, and thank you in advance for the advice I'm sure to need over the coming months and years. It will be great to have you all along for the ride.

Lovely Lemon happily planted,if still a little crooked in the pot:

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That tree is a beauty! congrats! I just received my oroblanco today. it's a one year old.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 8:38PM
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Oooo, it's adorable, MSUgrl! You'll have to keep everyone updated on how it goes. I'm already planning what I'll get next, and an Oroblanco is on the list.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 9:00PM
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Well hello! It's been a while and you have been missed!

I am in total shock! I forgot you were going to post, especially with all you have been through and your schedule! I am so proud of you. What a good job and boy does it look great! I love the looks of your tree and the roots are huge! How in the world do they get them that big!? And in a container!
There is something they are not telling me. I think I owe them another

Oh, we will stay on the journey with you and yes I will enjoy this. I love the name you gave her. You can tree chat all you want
It was a pleasure meeting you that day and you know you are welcomed here anytime. In fact, I just may need you if I should ever go away:-)

It is a bit small for what they said, but GREEN and HEALTHY! That is what is important. Hey I am going to link you to my latest thread at the House Plants Forums and I would love you to take part there. I wanted to share many of my plants there.

I think your tree will do great, especially when you get the Foliage Pro, and don't forget the vinegar since you will probably be using faucet water with most waterings.

Love that pot too! Thank you for sharing and what a nice surprise to see before heading to bed.:-)))))

Please, keep posting and more pics, please"-)

Msugrl! Nice! Your tree is a beauty too! I posted on your thread again:-)


Here is a link that might be useful: Many of my plants at the House Plant forum

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 9:15PM
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Hi, Incunable, I am glad it all worked out well.
The tree your got has amazing healthy roots system. Your Lovely Lemon will defintely grow more lovely everyday. Now, you are away from home but not alone, you have a pal watching you when you are reading. BTW, I like the book selection you have, Ayn Rand is one of my favorite author.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 9:40AM
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Thanks incunable! I definitely will! :) Can't wait to see how your tree develops too!


    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 10:13AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

I agree with Olympia, that was some significant root development, which is the most important thing for a young tree. It is plenty big enough, and I imagine you'll see significant growth in this next year due to that wonderful root system. My gosh. This must be a Four Winds tree? You should definitely post a photo of that root system on Four Wind's Facebook page. That is a great testimony to a well developed tree to sell to customers. I'm very impressed. Best root structure I've ever seen in such a small, dwarf tree.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 11:09AM
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Ha, thanks, Mike! Your enthusiasm for others' plants makes the process even more fun. Yes, I was very, very impressed by the roots, and I don't even know much about citrus yet. And she did arrive green and healthy and growing, so I can't complain too much. I did add vinegar to my tap water, but there has been a fair amount of rain, so it has been mostly that.

I'm hoping the yellow leaves aren't a symptom of root rot. She got left out in the rain once soon after being planted, and it took her a long time to dry out, even with the 5-1-1 mix and wicks. Those roots are too impressive to mess up--I'd feel horrible. Is it damaging to the plant to un-pot it for a few minutes to check the roots? I don't want to stunt growth, but I'm a bit paranoid. The dowel method tells me that it's fairly dry now, but the bottom half and inch or so always seems a bit muddy. I have been bringing her in out of the rain recently, so as not to over-water.

I would be happy to plant-sit if you need me to; just let me know. And yes, you have excellent taste in pots! :-)

Olympia, you know me too well already. It is possible I bring her in some nights when I'm reading just to admire her. :-) It is nice to have plants when you live alone. Somehow it feels a bit like having company (though I'm quite happy living without human company at this point). Oh, thank you! Yes, I read Rand for the first time Jr. year of high school, and still have a sentimental attachment to The Fountainhead, even though I now find her philosophy a bit of a disaster.

It is a Four Winds tree, Patty, and they did such a nice job with it. That's a good idea to post it to their Facebook page. It's always nice to encourage business who are doing excellent work.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 11:45AM
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I'll call you and we will chat!
Wish I had time ti write, but I'll do that for the sake of others later:-)

Call you later:-) Don't worry about a thing. Everything sounds fine and normal. That mis is what I use and it is drying out in a good amount of time. It will not stay wet, just moist.
I'll explain wooden dowels to you. No need to unpot:-)


    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 12:44PM
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When will prodce fruit. Cause am think and buying one in the next week

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 8:35PM
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When will prodce fruit. Cause am think and buying one in the next week

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 8:43PM
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Cool. get some Zen time. If you have room, a kumquat is a very decorative and easy house plant.
Fountainhead was based on Frank Lloyd Wright vs. Sullivan. We have/ had quite Sullivan buildings here in Chicago. She was somhow labeled communist back then, maybe becasue of she was from SUnion. She was an idol of many of older generation.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 2:58PM
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Dear All,

Lovely Lemon has now been here for about a month and a half, so I thought it time for an update. We lost some leaves at the beginning, so in some ways she's a bit thinner than she was, but now she's starting to grow again, and the new growth that was there when I got her has flourished. Do your expert eyes see anything that might be a problem? I'm sure when you look at a tree, you see lots of things I don't.

Thanks for looking, and thanks for the continued inspiration as you post pictures and stories of your lovely lemons, limes, etc.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 10:25AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Looks great!

I'm guessing that you have the Foliage Pro by now, yes?
Are you regularly fertilizing at full strength?

As for Fountainhead....Junior year American English for me, too :-)


    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 11:06AM
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Thanks, Josh!

I do have Foliage Pro now, and I use it along with vinegar per Mike's instructions. She was getting a lot of rain for a while, so I was trying to balance the need for her to dry out a bit after heavy natural watering with the need to fertilize regularly. I think I'm starting to get the hang of it a bit better, but there are still some yellow tips on some of the leaves.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 11:18AM
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Hey, hello Josh!!!!! Where have you been hiding these days?

My goodness! It looks great for a tree you completely had bare rooted and potted up again just a few months ago. I am very happy with your results and desire to do a good job!

Now, that you have the citrus fever, just like I said, lol, you will be looking for another.......But I would wait until you get through a winter with one so you can get the hang of it and reward your good endeavors with another.

Remember, I am still; learning to be successful with the Meyer lemon in particular after all these years with my good friends here. I do know that the yellowing you have is common with completely changing a plants growing pattern into a gritty mix, and that once it really takes and starts utilizing the nutrients you are giving, the new leaves will be very green!

It's the new growth I am watching carefully and so far so good:-)

Did you ever get the Fish Emulsion?


    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 3:27PM
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Thanks so much, Mike! Seeing your garden makes your compliments all the more meaningful! Of course, you encourage moderation and waiting for Spring to get a new tree, and then you send me home with my Ponderosa... ;-)

I haven't gotten Fish Emulsion, but I will now. Is there a brand you recommend, or is just any fish emulsion okay? It was so nice seeing you today!


    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 8:58PM
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It was such a pleasure and quite fun! You are welcomed here anytime along with Marcia. Some day I should have you girls meet:-)

Thank you for the kind words, although none of it would of been possible without knowing people like Rhizo and Al/Tapla and a few others here.

The Fish Emuslion I get is the one called Neptunes Harvest. It is cold pressed and very natural.
If you ever should need me to pick one up for you, let me know or we can go together:-)


    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 7:38PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hello, Mike and Rebecca!

Yes, Mike, I haven't been here much, but I'm always glad to stop by...and if you don't happen
to see me, just shoot me an e-mail saying, "Hey, get over to Citrus, there's a Thread to read!" ;-)

Rebecca, it was Mike who got me growing Citrus, too. It started with a Moro Blood Orange....
and then all of a sudden my collection was expanded with a Ponderosa Lemon, hehehe. I'm glad of
the Ponderosa, especially, because it is such a reliable bloomer! It is also the only citrus
that has fruited for me so far. If only I had a greenhouse...or more room to winter indoors.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 7:48PM
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Dear All,

It was about a year ago that I posted about getting and planting Lovely Lemon, and I decided I owed everyone an update on her progress and my very steep learning curve. During the late summer and fall I didn't get any new growth, perhaps because the days weren't long enough and hot enough by the time she got settled in the pot. We did fairly well over the winter. It was a slow start, and we lost some leaves in the transition so she was looking rather thin, but very cute, around Christmas.

But then we got lots and lots of blooms. It was fantastic.

Then late winter/early spring I started to get a lot of lemons. That was even more fantastic.

Oh, but then came summer. That was quite the rough patch. I transitioned her outside too late and too quickly, it seems, and we lost a lot of leaves. Then I was gone for three weeks during which we got a ridiculous amount of rain and my well-meaning landlord didn't follow feeding and watering directions. I got home in late June to a very sick and sad looking little tree. The lemons were still growing, but some of the leaves were yellowing and I had lost blooms, on top of the leaves already lost. Then a roofer working on the house dropped a large rock on her from two stories above. It was very sad.

But I committed to coaxing her back to health after moping around for a week or so. I knew what creates happy and healthy trees because you guys have proved again and again what works. So I got to work. I pulled off all but two of her lemons, increased the FP for a few waterings, and then the Massachusetts weather started working in my favor by giving me some hot, sunny days. She stopped losing leaves and I got some blooms, which gave me some hope. Then the last week I've been seeing flushes of growth! New leaves! What I've been waiting a year to have. It will take a while still to get her even back to where she was when I got her, but she's on her way.

This post is one part update, and one part thank you to those of you who ask questions and those who answer them. I'm still learning, but you got us through our first year alive and growing.

Hope all of you are well (hi Mike!!)!



    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 6:09PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Congrats, and thanks for the update!
It's so nice when folks share the good news :-)


    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 1:38AM
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Yes, it is a wonderful experience growing these trees and even more rewarding to see new one like you having such success at doing so!

Where have you been? You have been missed....:-(

I can't believe what your poor tree has been through, and to think it only takes too much water to kill it, right? lol

You are doing a fantastic job and I am proud of you:-)

Keep in touch, please.Thanks so much for the updates.

Hey Josh!


    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 11:06AM
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Hi Josh! Thanks! I think we're limping our way to a success story, we just need a bit more time. :-)

Mike! I've been looking for a job again. My time in Salem was only a five month project, and while I'm very glad to be done with the commute every day, I do miss having a job! I noticed on one thread you mentioned visiting the hospital. Is everything okay there? Need help with anything? I've got lots of time these days!

Yes, my tree has been through the ringer. If she had lost the lush green top leaves, I might have given up, but there were no dead branches and she's just very thin through the middle. The situation is basically identical to baconquest's Miewa Kumquat, except for the excessive blooming. (Side note: the Miewa Kumquat is such a pretty tree! I need one!) I really, really wanted to yell at the roofers, but they're such nice guys that I couldn't do it. The damage was done, and they didn't mean to do it.

Based on Al's response to baconquest saying that removing fruit and flowers is a good idea to reduce "energy sinks" when you're trying to rebuild roots and foliage, do you think I should take off the last two lemons and any flowers? It would kill me to do it, the two lemons especially since I already removed seven, but if it would make her healthier...

Greetings to the household, including your mom, the cat, and your lovely frog. I was so impressed to see that you planted one of your trees in. the. ground. In Massachusetts! You're the master.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 4:16PM
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