newbie with a lime tree needs help

gryphaeon(7 N Dallas TX)November 5, 2012

Greetings everyone,

I am hoping to get some guidance from some more experienced citrus people... I have a lime tree planted in a container that I inherited earlier this year and all has been going well with it until now. I am concerned about what I am seeing from the tree and wondering if someone can help direct me to what I should be doing.

I have attached a picture of the leaves which is my main concern, but I would like some feedback about the whole thing so I am going to give as much detail about the situation as I can think of.

To begin with, this tree was outdoors until last week when we had our first frost advisory (Dallas, N. Texas) when I brought it inside. I put up the plastic panels on my patio that allow light in but help keep the temp above freezing inside and turned on the massive grow light that I have. The grow light is a "Hydrogrow" light that uses a massive metal halide, full spectrum bulb (can't remember the wattage, just know that you can't look at it unless you are wearing welders goggles) and provides extra light when the sun isn't shining directly in the windows of the patio. The patio faces mostly south, so the sun it receives is mostly direct sunlight in midday and the rest of the day is supplemented by the grow light.

While it was outside, it was being watered about once a week based on how dry the soil was and it seemed to thrive well. When we brought it in, we watered it once and not too deeply, just enough to be sure that it wasn't dry and when I checked it a few minutes ago the soil was still slightly damp, but not wet enough to stick to my fingers down about 3 inches so I imagine it is fairly dry, just not completely dried out yet.

It hasn't been fertilized for several months and the fertilizer was a slow release citrus tree fertilizer meant to be used twice a year. We saw some problems with fruit drop when we first got it several months ago, but since then it has blossomed and only held three small limes which are now the size of a large olive and are now turning yellow. After bringing it inside, it is now blossoming again, which quite honestly puzzles me a bit since the leaves are turning yellow and starting to fall off. It almost seems like the tree is confused and thinks it is the wrong time of year.

The temperatures in the room it is in have not dropped below 50 F and haven't gotten any warmer than 85 F. What I would like to know is; is this normal behavior for a plant that has been moved indoors to a location like I have described, and if not, what do I need to do to keep it healthy? What would be ideal for me is if there was a set of instructions that someone could give me describing the routine I need to have when moving the tree from indoors out and vice versa, short of that, I will take any information available.

I can't think of much else to add about the details, so if there is more I should be considering, please advise. Thank you in advance for all of your help! :)

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gryphaeon(7 N Dallas TX)

For some reason, It didn't post the pic, so here is the pic. I will add a second one that is a closer view of the leaves as well.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:11AM
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gryphaeon(7 N Dallas TX)

Close up of leaves that are turning yellow

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 11:13AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Well, it just looks like you need to fertilize to me. I would try a good water soluble fertilizer. Time release fertilizers are good, but you may need to supplement. Try using Dyna Gro's Foliage Pro, and apply several times. See if this greens up your tree. Also, how far away was the light you were using? It is possible to burn leaves if the artificial light source is too close to the canopy.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 12:10PM
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gryphaeon(7 N Dallas TX)

Hi Patty,

Thank you for your suggestion, I will try that. In regards to the light, it is about 3 feet above the highest point of the tree and about 3 feet to the side of it.

Any thoughts on why the tree might be blooming again so soon and why the fruit that is on it looks like it is suddenly about to fall off? The fruit that is on it has been turning yellow as well since we brought it in and I know for certain that this is a lime tree, I have used limes from it in the past before I inherited it.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 2:49PM
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Sometimes citrus will start to produce flowers when stressed, it's a surival thing. But I don't know if that's the problem here. I have a cheap, weak, red/blue LED light panel that seems to prompt flowering whenever I use it, no idea why.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 9:42AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Limes and lemons will bloom periodically, off and on throughout the year. It could also be due to the grow lights, but nothing to worry about. Limes are prolific fruit producers like lemons, especially Bearss lime (which has lemon in its genetics). Not sure what lime cultivar you have, but they all set a lot of fruit. Both my Bearss and Thornless Mexican Lime are blooming right now, in fact (but of course, they're outside in the ground, here.) This is not a sign of your tree being stressed, your tree looks great, just a little lacking with fertilizer. I find that DynaGro Foliage Pro 9-3-6 works very well, and for a time release fertilizer, Osmocote Plus (it must be the "Plus" formulation) also works well. I use both, and my container citrus are doing very well. Both of these were suggested by several members of this forum that do strictly container citrus (MeyerMike being one), and my container citrus, although always outside, are doing splendidly.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 12:21PM
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