Is this a bermuda triangle sort of thing?

anddoggies2(5 central NY)September 15, 2013

I've been lurking for a while and trying to learn what to do for my meyer lemon tree before it happens, but I think I'm headed for trouble here. I'm in central NY where it's starting to get cold. I got my tree in May, have been able to keep it outside since then. It had been in a greenhouse when I bought it, so I brought it in for some cooler nights for a couple weeks. It blossomed in early summer and now has unripe & growing fruit. About 3 weeks ago it started blooming again and I can see dozens of new fruit sets. At the same time it's started cooling off enough at night so I've been bringing it in and putting it back out in the sun during the day. Eventually it will be indoors full-time till spring. I'm afraid I'm going to over-stress the poor tree with all this happening at once, so how much of which should I sacrifice? - cut off some or all of the already growing fruit, remove some or all of the blossoms & new sets? Baby tree thanks you-

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Anddoggies2, I think this is always the cooler climate container citrus folks' concern - the time when you need to start transitioning your container citrus insides. I think you're certainly doing the right thing - moving your tree in and out, which will slowly acclimate the tree to being inside full time during the winter. I'm not in that part of the country, but I would think slowly increasing the hours being inside until the tree is inside full time would be your best bet, as well as making sure the tree has a lot of light, possibly supplemental light if necessary, proper watering and fertilizing, and watching for pests during the winter hours. I wouldn't worry about blossoming or fruit set for now. Most citrus trees will drop extra fruit set. If not, then you can simply pull of too much fruit set when the fruit is between BB and golf ball size.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 10:15AM
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anddoggies2(5 central NY)

Is a second blossoming common? I thought that in itself would stress the tree, but it's just loaded with blossoms and it smells so nice I let it be. How long does it usually take for the fruit to ripen? Maybe I should just remove the first crop and see what happens with the second? I know the tree will be stressed when I bring it in full-time, I just want it to survive so I can try for some fruit again next year.

Days here are still warm-ish to warm (today 63 tomorrow 70s) but it's starting to freeze at night. So I'm waiting until temps hit 60 before putting it outside. Over the summer it was in a spot that got sun from sunup to sundown. Now I'm putting it where it gets morning & early afternoon sun, then shade till it comes in for the night.

I know I'm going to get leaf drop once it's in for the winter. Should I do any pruning so it's not trying to support/recover all the foliage it now has?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 4:03PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Meyer lemons trees bloom frequently. My Meyer lemon blooms over and over and over, again (in-ground). They are VERY prolific producing trees. Blossoms don't stress the tree. Now, a ton of fruit set without a large enough canopy to support all the fruit might be a little stressful, but again, if the tree does not self-thin (enough), easy enough to resolve, as I mentioned previously. I would not prune anything, yet, but then, without seeing your tree, I'm just guessing. Best to post photos of your entire tree, and pot, and let's allow our container citrus experts to weigh in.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 4:31PM
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Well, if you could post a photo, you would get a lot better advice; but short of that you should first know, when you dramatically change the light conditions a Meyer will drop most, if not all its leaves, to replace them later with leaves better suited to the new light conditions. To move a Meyer from outside to inside without the leaf loss, you need to move it from full sun to partial sun for 2 weeks; then to full shade for 2 weeks; then indoors; reverse the process when putting it out in the Spring... and please DO put it out, if you can; you will be rewarded with a happy, healthy plant.
Second, when you bring it indoors to a sunny window, the plant gets warm; but the roots generally stay cool; and citrus roots don't like to grow into cool soil... the solution is to put some sort of heater to warm the soil, or to put the plant a little further from the window. An occasional misting is also good.The thing to remember is first the roots grow; and then the leaves and branches.
As for the blooms it is normal for Meyers to bloom this time of year (the secondary crop); they will bloom again in Spring. Depending on the size of the tree and the age (photo?) you can leave a few fruits AFTER the blooms have finished and the fruit is BB to pea size. If you cut the blooms, the tree will just make more, so enjoy them. Maturity from fruit set to harvest for a Meyer is normally about 7 months; but that can vary with location and heat. In your climate you will know they are ready to harvest when they get yellow

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 4:41PM
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anddoggies2(5 central NY)

The tree is about 38 in. from table top to top leaf, and about 36 in. across. The main trunk is about 3/4 in. You can see some of the first crop fruit; largest lemon is about 1 3/4 in. in diameter. It's still in the original pot (ugly black thing hidden by prettier(?) one.)

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 6:52PM
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On a tree that size, which looks very healthy, I would not leave more than one fruit per location spread evenly around the plant and left on the strongest and highest limbs. I would guess you need to have it in a notably larger pot; and I would do that before beginning the climate adjustments. The outside pot is about the size I use for my potted Meyers of that size or smaller.
Pretty plant; whatever you are doing, keep doing it; but with fruit, growth, and flowers, I would boost it up a bit in food; and be sure the NPK ratio is 3-1-2 for a Meyer, and with all the micros and minerals, especially Magnesium and Calcium.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 7:52PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

What John said. That is a very, very happy container Meyer lemon. In fact, it looks are healthy and vigorous as one in the ground, and it's doing exactly what Meyer lemons do - flower and produce fruit in all stages. So, whatever you're doing, keep doing it in spades. Lovely little tree! If you keep up with your fertilizing, and provide it lots and lots of light indoors, it will be able to support plenty of fruit, you've got a good canopy going. And yes, pot up, this is the time to do it.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 10:07PM
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krismast(6 S.E. PA)

I thought this was a bad time to pot up? Isn't it best to do it in spring right before it starts getting warm?


    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 10:02AM
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anddoggies2(5 central NY)

Oh wow! I thought I had a very stressful threesome going here with all the fruit & blossoms when I'm getting it ready to come indoors. Isn't repotting going to insure death at this point? I have to admit that I'm really not good with indoor plants, so I'm fearful for this little tree as it is. Repotting scares me dirtless. I have all the info on the gritty mix, but do I really have to do this now???

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 10:27AM
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anddoggies2(5 central NY)

OK, it's done! I've been following the advice that y'all've been giving everyone else since spring, and I do have one happy little meyer lemon tree. So I also followed the advice given about this tree even though it makes me very nervous. Baby tree just moved up to a "big boy" pot :-)

Question: Has anybody used a "root starter" fertilizer when repotting? I've planted about 65 trees & shrubs (outside) in the last 2 years and the nursery gave me some 3-10-3 product to use to drench the root ball as it's going in. And all of my trees/shrubs have done great. I was looking at the label and it suggests using for repotting container trees as well. I did not yet, but I'm wondering if I should. (Been using the Foliage-Pro 9-3-6 all summer) Advice?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 11:18AM
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personally i never have but that dosnt mean it would be a bad thing, all i was told when i started was not to fertalize for about 2-3 weeks after a repot and this will cause the roots to grow out in search of food. dont know for sure but my trees are all doing fine


    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 1:52PM
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Did you repot already?

Your tree would of been just fine in that pot drying out rapidly to get you through the winter...
I would never do a repot unless it was absolutely mandatory..One reason would be because your mix was staying wet too long or loaded with bugs..

I would of held out until spring and done a full bare root if using the gritty mix....If you do a full bare root at this time, yes might run the risk of sulking tree and stress it out enough to loose fruit and leaves.

If you just repotted up for now to get by, it should be fine.

There are so many shadows where there was once full sun these days, that I am fortunate to not have to acclimate them to come indoors and mine do fine. It is the temps that can affect mine if not careful....
I am lucky to be able to bring them into an unheated room even if they have been exposed to cold for days.

You really should get them in earlier than very cold nights and or bring them in at night to keep them use to warmer temps so they will be use to your indoor temps by the time they have to stay inside.

Patty and John give wonderful advice and John know his Meyers like the back of his hand!
I love the fact that you are using plastic pots for that tree.

Why fix what is not broken? It looks perfectly fine without added fertilizers or root stuff...The fertilizer you are using is doing wonders for it alone.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 7:51PM
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anddoggies2(5 central NY)

I did not do a full bare root repot with gritty mix. I got it down to a lot of bare roots, but not the central root ball. And I made up a mix that's not quite but very close to gritty mix. I'm glad I did, actually. The tree was not root bound, but it would have been by spring - it took quite a bit of water and gentle manipulation to free up as much root as I did. I did a little thinning of the fruit and trimmed off a couple very low branches too. If everything goes well over the winter I'll do a complete bare root/gritty mix repot in the spring.

Nights here started hitting 50s, 40s, then 30s a few weeks ago so I started bringing it in overnight. I don't have house heat on yet so it gets pretty cool in here overnight, but it is staying above 60, so I wait till it hits 60 outside before moving it out again in the morning.

The real reason I'm putting off bringing it in full-time is sun availability. Until leaves have fallen off the big trees I don't get any direct sun indoors. So I put the tree out in the sun late morning and by mid-afternoon it's in shade. And then I bring it inside in the evening.

re plastic pots: Yeah, typically I loathe most things plastic, but I've been reading here and taking the advice others have gotten. In addition to which lugging that thing in and out every day is hard enough (it barely fits thru the door) - I sure don't need the added weight of a ceramic pot ;-)


    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 10:42AM
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