trying everything to save my lemon tree!! missed something ?help

greg88October 25, 2012

Hi! i bought my lemon tree 5 months ago and so far eveything was going well i was keeping it outside (chicago, il) few weeks ago when got cold during the nights i started bringing tree inside at nights, now even days got to cold and windy (apartment 4th floor) and i started recognizing little leaf dropping thats when i decided to finally bring the tree home fultime.

leafs continiued to drop first i was thinking about "low light" but i started seeing a lot of little flies in soil. i thought this was a cause of leaf drop and i started to water tree with water/soap mix. help little killed about 75% flies but not all :( decided to repot it.

now the flies r gone, leaf continiue to drop :( bought the light, floor lamp in home depot with 5 bulbs, 3 of 60w cfl 5000k, 2 of 60w 2700k. bought light 3 days ago and i dont see any new growing.

another info

- west facing apatment

- using al's 5-1-1 mix

- as fertilizer using alaska fish fertilazer every 2 months, every 3 weeks during flowering ( i was seeing great results with this fertilizer) after repoting didn use fertilizer yet sinse after repoting i only watered it, will fertylize when soil dries out.

What can i do to boost the growth ??

Maybe still not enough light ?? My girlfiend wont let me hang any large ugly lamps, bulbs (i have tree in living room) she is already complainng that her eyes hurt from bright light.

thats why firts 2 night i left lights on over night .

now i know its mistake. today i turned on lights from 7am to 7pm.

what else i can do ?? im always trying to resolve problems serching forums not to "post" but this time i have no ideas what ele it could be

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pic 2

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 6:56PM
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2 months ago

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 6:58PM
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You say lemon... looks like Meyer, acts like Meyer.

Water it maybe once every 10 days, or oftener if you are sure it is dry. The tree will make new leaves better suited to the new light condition. Do a search here for Meyer lemon sensitive to light changes. Have faith, the tree will recover. Do not fertilize until you see new leaf growth starting; then fertilize lightly. In the Spring when you put it outside, first put it into full shade; after 2 weeks, put it in half sun; another 2 weeks to full sun. Reverse this in the Fall and you will avoid this "disastrous" situation.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 7:22PM
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do u think i have enough light now ??

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 8:38AM
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Hi Greg.

Just a few concerns...

First, thanks by the way John for continual enthusiasm and advice.

Greg, It is a bit concerning that you speak of fungus gnats in your mix. As a rule, you shouldn't have them in the 5.1.1 mix if made correctly and watering is done correctly.

Also, being familiar with the 5.1.1 mix if you made it correctly, if it is well draining, you should continue to fertilize every time you water at a week dose, like let's say 1/4 teaspoon per gallon of water.

At this time of the year, your tree should be getting enough light in a West window, and with lot's of light with those big windows, to not have to use lights.
It will still continue to grow nice a green and maybe flower.
You know the more light, the more fruiting?

I would get rid of teh lights and make your girl happy and wait for new leaf growth as John says and ferilize lightly with a well balanced fertilizer that supplies ALL teh essential nutrients for it to thrive.
Fish fertilizer is not enough.

I would also watch your watering practices at this time since you have no leaves to take up moisture. Make sure you are checking deep into the center of the root zone to make sure it is drying out.

From the looks of your tree, the branches look ok and there is hope.


    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 9:20AM
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a west facing window is good, but also depends on how sunny or cloudy your area is. i've only been to Chi twice, it was during winter and spring. was cloudy most of the time. went there this march for b-i-l's Navy grad, and it snowed.

the lamp fixture you have isn't quite optimal for plants. generally we get something with a metallic reflector to direct most of the light towards the plants. looks like your lamp fixture has frosted glass lens/covers which allow a lot of light to go in all directions, also why your gf is complaining its too bright.

you could use some large sheets of aluminum foil and make a cone shaped cover to block the light from going all over, and to direct it down towards your tree.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 1:30PM
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first of all, thank you everybody for all the answers and opinions :)
the weather is cloudy in chicago during fall and winter and i have huge tree on front of my balcony :/ its blocking about 50% sun light :( i hate using "fake" light i would be so happy if i would not have to use it. i didn know what to do thats why i bought extra light...
i will change the dose of fertilizer as Mike said.

what kind of fertylizer i can buy that will have great nutrients for my tree if fish doesnt have everything ??

if u could tell me Brand, name, that u think is good ? :)

Thank U

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 8:29PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, Greg!
You've gotten some good advice already.

I'm concerned about the nutrients, as well. Fish Emulsion is a good fertilizer for outdoor plants,
plants in larger containers or raised beds, and for plants growing in-ground. Fish Emulsion needs to
be broken down by micro-organisms in the soil to become available for the plant's use; and so, when
temperature or moisture levels don't support those populations of microbes, et cetera, the Fish Emulsion
isn't broken down and the plant doesn't get those nutrients in a regular, consistent dose.

Further, with certain Fish Emulsion, if the soil temps are too low, the unprocessed Emulsion can lead
to potential ammonia toxicity in the soil. That's why I only use it when soil/mix temps are above 50F
during the primary outdoor growing season.

The key to a great fertilizer is inclusion of micro-nutrients and nutrient ratios.
Miracle Grow works well in the 3:1:2 ratio (such as 12-4-8 NPK), but will typically lack
proper Calcium and Magnesium. Other citrus fertilizers may offer a 5:1:3 ratio, which would
also work well, as long as the micro-nutrients are also covered. Meyer Mike and I happen to
use Foliage Pro 9-3-6, which contains everything, and we also adjust tapwater pH with vinegar.

Just to cover all did add Lime in your 5-1-1 mix, yes?


    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 12:32PM
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