General Consensus on Removing First Year Fruit

organic_flutterby(5 MO)October 23, 2013

Just wondering whether most people remove the first year fruit from their citrus trees. I'm mostly concerned with meyer lemon, key lime and limequat trees for now.

This is one of my meyer lemon trees. I bought it about 2 months ago or so. It is still in the original growing medium and pot. It was outside, now inside under lights.

I count 16 developing lemons of various sizes plus 12 more flower clusters.

I also notice that this tree has a few leaves that are ginormous! Not sure if that's normal or not.

With this tree I decided not to take the fruit off, but my other meyer lemon, I removed all but 1 fruit. Curious thing is that tree has no blooms on it and seems to have stopped growing. Please tell me your thoughts on what you do with your trees regarding first year fruit.

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garret_87(Zone 6)

Welcome back! Here is the deal as far as I know - you should remove the fruit the first few years. This lets the tree develop strong branches to hold future fruit. Young branches can snap under the weight of a few lemons. Better yields could be a reward for cutting early fruits.

Of course I did not follow these guidelines - I am far too impatient. Once my tree started to flower I let life take its course. No branches have broken for me yet, but it is a possibility and I have seen it happen to other people's young citrus.

So as far as removing the fruit, the choice is yours.

Large or oversized leaves are a sign of low light conditions. If you have a sunnier window I would move the tree and its grow light there. Also make sure that no sucker has grown from below the graft line. These can impact the growth rate on the rest of the tree.

How many hours of direct sunlight does the tree recieve indoors? How many hours of supplemental light? Did u say in an earlier post that you are using fluorescent lights? Make sure that they don't block incoming sun.

Hope this is helpful.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 2:35PM
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organic_flutterby(5 MO)

Thanks Garret! I hate to remove the fruit so I think this will be my experimental tree since I remove the fruit on the other meyer lemon.

As far as lighting goes, yes I use 4 bulb t5HO light. It stays on the trees for 16 hours. I have orca reflective film around them. Unfortunately the trees don't get any natural light.

I am confused about the large leaves are caused by low light levels. These leaves are near the top of the tree, lower leaves are normal size. And the tree is flowering A LOT and setting fruit. I would think neither would happen in low light. Is my lighting not sufficient?

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 3:08PM
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garret_87(Zone 6)

When the tree is experiencing low light conditions it's newer leaves will grow oversized while the older or original leaves will stay the same size. It can grow in lower light but tend not to bloom and fruit as well as trees with adequate light.

Where is the tree located that it can't get any direct sun? Any photos of the trees under the light? How far is the light from the top of the leaves?

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 3:32PM
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organic_flutterby(5 MO)

I see, except this tree has a lot of fruit and flower clusters.

There is a window in the room so I can try to move things around a bit if it will make a difference.

Here is a picture of my trees etc, under the light. Anyone is welcome to see the picture if they keep in mind that I'm still learning and aren't too harsh on me, lol. Also, I have another one of these lights arriving in a few days.

What I have here: 2 meyer lemons, both in yellow pots. I have a key lime or a limequat (I'm not sure which) in the large green pot. I also have a tropical hibiscus (which is blooming) in the back and some lettuce and spinach growing in the small red container and a couple other things.

I have yellow post-it notes coated with tanglefoot in 3 of the pots.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 8:00PM
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Steve, Micro (6B ground, 5B roof)


You get an A+ for your set up. They should grow very well.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 8:31PM
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garret_87(Zone 6)

Ha no reason to be harsh. You have a nice set up. The trees should grow fine in a set up like this. Keep an eye on the leaves as that is one way the trees communicate their needs. Is the new light for these plants or a different batch?

Watch the temp and humidity levels. Digital LCD meters are affordable and allow you to easily know if the trees are in a good growing environment.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 9:18PM
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organic_flutterby(5 MO)

Oh thank you both! I'm happy to hear that.

I have a digital hygrometer, it's on the floor there. I'm not sure how accurate it is though. I am concerned because I had to turn my furnace on today. Maybe a container of water amongst the plants will help.

The new light will be used right next to this one. I think the frame will hold both. I thought that the trees were too wide for just one lamp and I ordered a couple more trees. I'm addicted!

I just want to say that I got this frame set up idea from a fellow gardenweb member. Credit and many thanks goes to slimak!

This post was edited by organic_flutterby on Wed, Oct 23, 13 at 22:39

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 10:02PM
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last year 2012 my trees product fruit this year no fruit .my wife trimmed the lower branch of all my trees could this have something to do with it .the trees are grafted . grapefruit ,navel oranges ,tangelo .please advise also I live in florida

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 12:35PM
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last year my trees had fruit but this year no fruit . my wifr pruned the lower branches off so she could cut the grass under the trees .I have grapefruit navel orange tangelo please advise

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 12:41PM
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branton40: Difficult to troubleshoot with only that much info.
If you live in an area subject to freezes, trimming the lower limbs on citrus is usually a huge mistake. The tips of a fruit laden should just touch the ground and the tree should have an umbrella shape. If you live in a warmer climate it should be no problem in trimming as you wish. Trimming should be limited to about 1/4 the tree any one year or you may get root dieback.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 5:07PM
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I live in fl warm most of the time .I noticed that the leaves were black on the top . I purchase some citrus spray from sunbelt and tried to wash it off but didn't come off. it looks like some kind of mole will take pictures and send later advise rudy thanks

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 6:06PM
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Boozemonkey(Massachusetts 6B)

organic_flutterby: I've always wanted bright citrus colored pots! Can you tell me what brand those pots are or where you bought them?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 7:05AM
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organic_flutterby(5 MO)

Boozemonkey~I'm not sure what brand those pots are, but I found them at WalMart. They are plastic.

My poor little trees are not doing very well I'm afraid. I think they got spider mites. I've spray with neem oil on a weekly basis.

Can't wait to get them back outside.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 7:34AM
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Boozemonkey(Massachusetts 6B)

Thanks, Organic! I hope your trees pull through. I had a case of the mites this year too, neem worked great for me.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 8:59AM
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