Fruit or growth?
Last spring I purchased and planted my first citrus tree, a Key Lime. I then 'lost' my first citrus tree because I did not fully understand the concept of cold hardy and one final frost came through and killed it (to trunk). It was then replaced by... a Persian lime, a tangerine (mandarin) and a Meyer lemon. Because naturally you should replace a lost plant with three others, right?
When purchased, the Persian and the Meyer both had blooms and both ended up bearing fruit. While they had fruit on them, the key lime, which I had put in a pot 'just in case' sprouted new branches and leaves (above the graft point) and grew fairly quickly to the point where I was pretty certain that it was going to bypass the Persian and Meyer in size. At the time I figured the fact that the other two were growing slower due to putting much of their energy into producing fruit. So in the interest of growing larger plants and waiting a year for fruit, I removed the lemons and limes.
Now that fall is here and winter is on its way, I look at my Key lime next to my Persian and it has definitely over-taken the Persian in size and it looks quite full and lush for a plant that was 'dead' in the spring. But it strikes me that even with 3/4 of the summer growing without fruit that the Persian still lagged behind in growth. The Meyer as well. They all got the same water and the Key lime actually got much less in the way of fertilizer due to being potted.
Was my decision to remove the fruit in lieu of growth in vain? In my readings I keep seeing that you should remove fruit and flowers from plants that you want to put their energy into foliage production, but it didn't seem to make much difference with these citrus plants. Also, while I have read about some people having multiple 'crops' on single Meyer trees and some even ever-bearing, mine only had blooms at purchase and never issued forth any new ones after removing the fruit. Is it possible that I interrupted a cycle by prematurely removing the fruit? Or could it just be an indication that it is a younger tree and isn't ready to fruit all that often. Or... do Meyer lemons have various cultivars that fruit at differing intervals? Actually, I think I will look that one up myself.
As always, thank you for your help!