Remove stress-induced blossoms//old fruit?

tanksalot(New England)November 8, 2010

As a result of a recent transplant into gritty mix, my two former Miracle-Grow potting soil lemons are stressed. I'm misting them regularly and think they'll make it. As a result of the transplant they both have set new blossoms on near-naked branches and have fruit in various stages of ripening. Should I remove the fruit and blossoms to help the plant recover, or just let it be?

Also, taking Meyer Mike's advice, I've discontinued bottom heat, but I'm still puzzled as to why that's a good idea. If root growth is accelerated by bottom heat, and the leaf-drop is due to insufficient root systems, it would appear that bottom heat would be helpful.

Thanks very much in advance!


Stan F.

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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

removing the fruit will allow the tree to use its resources for recovery.

leaf drop generally happens not because the root system is insufficient, but because it is not active due to temperatures. Cold roots + hot leaves = leaf drop.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 9:31AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Plants follow a pretty strict 'pecking order', as far as energy allocation is concerned. In order of priority, plants recognize flowers, fruit, leaves, stems, roots, and this order is especially noticeable when the plant is operating under stress or strain. It is well known that trees under stress often develop more flowers/fruit than plants in good vitality; this, at the expense of other organs, so removing blooms and fruit does free up a considerable amount of energy that would be directed to other plant parts - roots, shoots, leaves.

Bottom heat isn't necessarily always good. There is an optimum range of temperatures where root growth/metabolism/function is most efficient. Exceeding that temperature by applying bottom heat is unproductive. Humans like to be warm. Their body temperature is around 99*, but that doesn't mean they function best at 99*. Roots are happiest at somewhere around 65*. I'm not sure exactly what temperature might be considered ideal, but I know if you're 10* higher or lower than 65* you probably aren't providing ideal conditions.

Skip the misting and showers. Keep the plant in bright light, but not direct sun, and use some sort of tenting arrangement if you feel you need to raise humidity. Citrus leaves are rich in cuticular wax and quite resistant to water loss. Wetting your plant in the shower and then closing off air movement to keep humidity high ensures the wet foliage and perfect incubation conditions fungal infections need to multiply.


    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 1:47PM
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tanksalot(New England)

Al & mksmith:
Thanks for the advice. I've cut off the fruit and the flowers, and have the plants on a bed of crushed brick which is kept moist. I'll use the dowels to check for when to water, and with luck this will be the last "citrus crisis" I have to get through.
Stan F.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 6:01PM
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AL, I appreciate the information about the "pecking order" of plant prioritization of resources. I didn't realize this was the case. I hope I'm not interrupting this thread, but I think my situation might be similar.

I have a meyer lemon tree that I bought in May and lived outdoors. As I live in New York, I have moved the tree indoors for the winter. I have grow lights set up on it for about 12 hours a day, on a timer. When I initially moved the plant indoors the plant blossomed like crazy, which I attributed to the stress of moving it indoors, but now it appears to be doing fine.

My question is, there was a cluster of small green lemons on it that had just started before I moved the tree indoors. After all the blossoms started, that cluster has started to look unhealthy. Should I be pruning these new blossom clusters to allow the existing lemons to grow to maturity? How many blossoms should I allow to stay? Some have already pollinated. I am new here and I'm not sure how to upload pictures, but I've provided a link to a flickr picture of the cluster in question- you can also see in the same photoset pictures of the tree as a whole and the blossoms.

Another question I have is that the flowers that have set indoors have been fairly pale and white, while when it was outdoors the flowers had a distinct purple hue. Is this an indication of something bad?

Finally, I guess based on the pictures, can someone tell me for sure if this is a meyer lemon tree? The yellow lemons you can see on the tree are the first fruit that this tree has generated, and they don't appear to have the orange hue I normally associate with meyer lemons, and they are smaller. Is there a way to tell now, or should I just wait and see?

Thanks again, I really appreciate all the great advice on this forum.

Here is a link that might be useful: flickr link

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 12:28PM
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