Repotting lemon trees advice needed

debbiep_gwNovember 6, 2006

I just bought my first lemon trees.They are Ponderosa and Variegated pink lemon.They are in one gallon pots and I need to repot them.These will be container trees and when needed will be moved to the enclosed front porch or the green house.Do I just pot them up a size or so larger than a gallon pot or go ahead and put them in a large pot?Clay pot or plastic?I live in south Ga(hour from Fla) and I'm not sure if they are hardy outside here,I do see tangerines,kumquats growing here at a few homes.Thanks for any advice.I'm excited to try growing something different.Debbie

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Hi Debbie..congrats on your new citrus trees. Is it mandatory you repot or can it wait until spring? Perhaps you can keep citrus in their pots until then. If not, then go one to two sizes up.
Using clay or plastic is up to you, unless you're an compulsive use clay.
Be sure the soil is well-draining though..Don't use too heavy or light a soil..Toni

    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 7:34PM
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i think that i may have made a big mistake by repotting my young tree at the wrong time of year (late summer - UK) a few weeks ago, i did so as i felt it needed a bigger/heavier pot as the plant kept blowing over outside - have i done irrepairable damage?? i have had no new leaves or blossom since and if anything leaves have fallen quite worryingly!
your advice/reassurrance would be appreciated

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 6:13AM
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Sarah, I wouldn't say you've done irrepairable damage..give your plant time to adjust. For one, roots may need to fill pot before you see new growth. Be careful on watering; you don't want soil to stay constantly wet. Give your plant a good watering, then let soil dry before giving another drink.
Like most plants, roots need to fill pots before new growth is seen, and also because winter is nearing, growth slows down to begin with.
I wouldn't fertilize just yet. Withhold until spring or as soon as you see new leaves, then feed w/something high in Nitrogen/citrus/azalea fertilizer.
For the time being, place plant in a sunny location, and artificial lighting will help, too. Humidify house w/a humidifer, mist leaves. Remove any felled leaves that land in soil. They'll just cause bugs like fungus gnats.
Good luck and keep us posted..Toni

    Bookmark   November 13, 2006 at 3:44PM
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Sarah,i agree with toni above.I have killed heaps of dwarf
citrus in pots!!!so,its easy to mess up.Citrus tend to do
big growth spurts in spring and autumn.Its important you dont
go up in size to much.You are fighting a battle between the
roots colonizing the pot and the soil being soggy and screwing
everything up and causing leaf drop with twig die back.
The top half of your pot is where most of it happens.If you
choose too big a pot,the roots dont drink the water and the
soil remains soggy causing trouble.2 inches all around is
a good step up.When repotting,try to tease out the outer
2 inches of roots to grow into the new soil but dont leave
the rootball exposed to the air for long,i made that mistake
and had massive leaf drop.There are fine hairs on the roots.
Water deeply and leave to almost dry out.Keep out of sun for
a week and then introduce to sun.Dont feed until new top
growth occurs.If nothing happens eg no leaf drop,no top
growth=thats good.No damage has occured.The plant will go
in cycles of root growth/top growth.water deeply and leave
alone to dry out,as the top half dries the roots will move
in to occupy and start to fill the pot.Once its done a good
job,the pot should dry out quicker too.If you water too much,the roots will rot and will not search out for water.
Dont leave in a saucer of water either.I add pummice the size of peas to my mix to improve drainage and bark.Water
should drain very quickly.
we get a lot of rain in new Zealand,i know you do too because i was born in cardiff.In winter,its likely your potting soil will get soggy.Some inorganics added to your
mix will help the mix drain and improve the air to the pummice,perlite.I also use orchid mix which has
chunky bark in it and chuck in the pummice too and a small
amount of coir(that helps with the ph and retains some water).Citrus dont need much water.The air tends to be dry
in uk,so misting as tony suggested is good to keep pests
away.You should see some life in Autumn but maybe give some
shelter from the winter rains.Temp could be a prob in winter.Its not easy in pots but reading here and some experimentation can work.Its very important the roots dont
stay soggy and the mix drains well/aeration.Here are a few
of my mixes=
1.100% orchid mix.could be a problem with compacting over time but trees are growing ok.if the roots can fill the pot,it shoudnt compact,so not water too much,which encourage
the bark to break down.
2.potting mix with NO WATER retention crystals,pummice(plenty!)dont use fine pummice ,you want the
air spaces
3.pine bark,pummice/perlite and coir(soiless) tangelo seems happy.Drains very well,never stays wet but needs more watering and food due to large air spaces.No compaction either,the inorganics help slow or even stop that,therefore
giving the roots more time to move in.
slow release fert for citrus mixed into soil with an npk
of say 15/3/9 or 5/1/3 plus trace elements.
lemons are a bit more of a challenge in a pot.In the ground
its easier but in a pot,the type of medium you use is
paramount.The pummice is air/water porous,same goes for the
perlite,they let the air into the soil,so the roots can breath.If you get the roots right,the top will love you!!
cheers and good luck.
p.s pity about the english rugby team!!!!sorry,couldnt help

    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 6:29AM
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Toni & 'Laidbackdood', thank you so much, this really works, i'm amazed that i've received a response so quickly!
When i repotted, i put plenty of gravel in the bottom so the drainage is good, i was about to start with the winter feed but after your comments i'll not bother until new growth appears and i'll make sure that the compost dries out between waters!
Any thoughts on why some of the remaining leaves are curling downwards and the undersides are 'abit scabby' - no sign of bugs?
Thanks again for your advice & english rugby team - well they just haven't been the same since Johnny Wilkinson!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 9:35AM
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Hi Sarah,
What do you mean by scabby? Do the scabs rub off or are they embedded in the leaves? Are only a few leaves scabby or several? Toni

    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 5:07PM
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Hi Sarah,actually putting a lot of gravel or bits of broken
pots at the bottom doesnt improve drainage.In a pot,the movement of water is different from the ground.There is something called the pwt(perched water table).When you soak
the soil a perched water table is established in the pot.The
more free draining the mix the lower the p.w,t.This is where
the soil will be saturated.This is an area not conducive to
root growth=very wet and little air.
If your soil is heavy,the pwt will be higher in the pot,if it
drains really well it will be lower.So,you are better to have a uniform chunky mix with nice air spaces,gravel will
occupy the air spaces and aid compaction.Even if you use
potting mix and add some 1/4 inch bark and pummice(pea size),This will give big air spaces and you wont believe how
quickly it will drain.I put some mesh at the bottom of the
pot and mix all my ingedients in a bucket with some slow
release osmocote for citrus.The leaves going yellow are
more often than not from being too wet.
A mix i could suggest might be 3parts fine to medium composted bark(orchid mix),3 parts pummice,1 part perlite,
2 parts standard potting mix.No sand or fine gravel and as
you put in pot,tap the sides with your trowel to settle the
mix down.See how it drains and how quick it dries out,if
its slow,cut back on the potting mix a bit.But this should
be good,mix your osmocote into the mix not on the surface.
It will be better utilized in the mix.
It took a lot of messing around before i came up with this.
Thats because it rains like a gooden here.I tend to move the
trees in the summer,so they get sun from 10am until about
3pm.The morning sun is very good for your trees.A foliar
feed when leaves are half size helps too,use half strength
and overnight is good.Cheers and keep us posted.If i cant
help you,toni will,she(i think shes a lady!!!!!)has grown
heaps of trees in coconut husk chips,i have learnt a lot
from her.Good luck

    Bookmark   November 15, 2006 at 6:44AM
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Thanks for your response Toni, the 'scabby bits' are on the underside of nearly all of the leaves and won't rub off, when i have just had a VERY close look i can also see tiny white specks that do rub off - maybe i do have bugs afterall and advice on suitable pest sprays is needed. This poor plant seems in a bad way!
'Laidbackdood' i'm still taking in all what you say re repotting mixtures but daren't attempt any changes until my plant is 'well again'!
Thank you both again,

    Bookmark   November 15, 2006 at 7:05AM
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Hi Sarah,you might just need to wait for new growth to come
through.Misting with a spray bottle daily is good,under leaves too.I have
trouble with aphids in the summer and just spraying them off
is quite often enough.You can also use a little washing up
liquid in your water and spray for pests.Even garlic in water
or maybe some marmite in water(i heard this works too).
If you want to go chemical =guardall by yates would do the job.Check your plant regularly and when you spot trouble,start
your spray program as per instructions,ususally weekly.summer is the main time to watch.I get aphids,red spider mites which are
little red dots and often webing like spider and leaf roller
caterpillars.I found a bloody huge slug half way up my tree
the other day!so,it seems there is plenty of wildlife that
likes your citrus trees.Then there is scale,fungas gnats,all

    Bookmark   November 15, 2006 at 1:20PM
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Over two weeks later so i thought that i'd give you an update, I've misted with washing up liquid and water mix on a weekly basis, the leaves (what are left of them) are looking healthier and the 'little white specks' have gone away but so have almost all of the leaves, over the last two weeks i have lost a couple everyday - and they look green and healthy when they drop!, i let the compost dry out and then left it for another day or two before watering with winter food for citrus trees. There are two fruits on the tree (looking very lonely) shall i remove them and trim straggly branches so that the tree can try to recover without having to work to grow the fruits and hope for a flourish of new growth in the spring?
Help please!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 5:05AM
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hi,yes remove the fruits,they suck from the leaves.Are the
leaves curling or falling and leaving the little stem left?
if they are ,its too wet.
you can test if your pot needs water,stick your finger down
3 inches,if soil sticks to it or ur finger is wet dont water,
i would not feed now.are they exposed to wind?that causes
leaf drop on my trees,strong winds.leave alone and let the
mix winter they shouls be kept on the dry side.wait
for spring growth and then feed once a week at half the
recommended rate.water plant first.wait 30 mins,then water
again with soluble food.never feed dry soil as it will burn
the roots,plus the food stays in the soil longer this way.
Your tree could lose all its leaves,yet could well
survive and bounce back.Give it shelter from wind,water once
a month in winter and dont feed until you see active growth.
The tree will tell you when it wants food.Feeding at any other time now will be a waste of money!! cheers

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 5:03AM
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Thank you for your advice 'laidbackdood', i'm worrying about this poor little tree more than i'm worrying about my kids right now!
Today there are just four leaves left on my poor tree and two fruit, i shall remove the fruit, shall i trim back any of the branches too? The leaves were leaving the little stalk behind so it seems that i should now just leave the plant well alone and see if it recovers - i can't help wondering if the problems have not only been due to the repot but also we we're fool enough to go on holiday and leave my teenage son in charge, i'm sure that he over watered as there was water left in the saucer (half an inch or so!) when we returned.
The tree has been inside the house for a couple of months now, (this is England afterall!) but is on a bright window cill away from draughts and radiators.
i will continue to mist regularly, leave the feed alone and try to stop worrying - so should i trim straggly branches?
Thanks again,

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 5:29AM
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Have you had any twig die back? If the branches still look
alive,just leave alone.Try not to leave the tree standing in
a saucer of water for a long time.Its not good for citrus.
If it was me,i wouldnt water from the top at all,try the
finger down 3 inches method and see if its dry.Another method
is to put a wooden skewer into the soil and remove and see if
its wet,if it is dont water.Thats just as good.You need the top half of the pot to
dry out.You could gently disturb the top two inches and break
it up,especially if its compacted,be careful of the surface
roots mind.This would add some air into the top 2 to 3 inches of soil and would help it to dry and give some air
to the roots.Let the top half of the mix dry out.Then you
could water into the saucer and let capilary action suck
the water up from below.You could fill saucer,then come back
a couple of hours later and pour away.This would encourage
the roots to search down for water.I have many plants in
pots and water the likes of chillies,pomegranete,tomatoes,
blueberries, in this way.I think it would work for citrus
too.Therefore,you eliminate soggy soils and lack of air.Just
dont leave the tree to sit in a saucer of water for more
than a day.The water goes off too.In fact,i raise my pots
out of the saucer on little wooden feet,so air can circulate
under the pot.One thing citrus dont like is wet feet.
The tree could well go dormant now,but if you leave to dry,it could live through winter and spring into
life in spring.
In Auckland it rains all the time and the pots
can take ages to dry out.I have found pea sized peices of
pummice to be fantastic for drainage/air to roots.You will
probably have root rot.Its happened to me.
I bought orchid mix and mixed it 50/50 with pea
sized pummice and slow release osmocote for citrus and trees.The ratio is n/p/k 16n 4p 12 k plus trace elements.
A 5-1-3 ratio is what you need for citrus but is hard to
find.High nitrogen is important.
Mix all of the above together,remove old soil in a bucket of
warm water,dont leave roots exposed to the air,remove old
soil very gently.Replant with the tree at original level as
before,bear in mind,most of the root growth will occur in the top half of the pot.The lower half will tend to hold water and wont be ideal for root growth,thats why it is so
important to let the top dry out.This is a chunky mix,tap
the side of the pot as you fill the pot,making sure most of
the roots are in the top half as possible.The surface roots
are the feeders and should be just below the surface.If you
cover with three or four inches of mix,you will have trouble,1 inch covering is fine.You could add some perlite
as well,which also aids drainage and aeration.The water will
drain very quickly,quicker than you have ever seen.It will
not get soggy.Once growth takes off,feed at half strength
soluble fert similar to above,High in nitrogen(preferably not from urea)Dont upsize the pot much,if your roots are
rotten,you might go down a size until things improve.I have
done that with one of my trees.Citrus can survive on 1cm of
water a week,so dont over water.However,2 to 3 times a year
a good flush through the mix will get rid of salts.If the tree looks stuffed,you might be better to get a fresh plant
and put it down to experience.Try to get the ingredients to
make the mix i suggest,bring the plant home and leave it
until spring.Thats a good time to transplant because the tree will grow into your new pot(2 inches bigger all around,
no bigger)The tree will grow in cycles = top growth/root
growth ,top growth/root growth.If there is nothing happening
on top,it means the roots are moving into the pot,thats what
you want.Dont feed until you see some new top growth after
transplant.The first few feeds could be low in nitrogen but
ok in p and k to stimulate root growth,dont give high nitrogen at that stage.The roots do all the work and the top
is a reflection of whats happening underneath!!!The lower
branches and leaves particularly,reflect the happiness ofthe root system.The roots need air/water/food. Too much water
means lack of air and the roots suffocate!! Good luck,let
us know how it goes,cheers

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 4:57AM
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One last thing,as painful as it may seem ,i suggest you remove
all fruitlets for the first two years of the trees life!!!
That way the tree will put all its efforts into vegetative(spelt wrong) growth.You can also remove at flower
stage if you wish but you might remove leaves too.When they
are half the size of a big pea remove all of them for at
least the first two years,the rewards in the long run will
be worth it.A stronger healthier tree.Then in following years
remove 1/3 of flowers and give room for fruitlets to grow.
Citrus are greedy when it comes to flower/fruit.cheers

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 5:14AM
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Wow! What a lot to take in! Thanks again 'laidbackdood'.
I have now removed all fruit from the tree, there are just four leaves left and it does look in a sorry state!. However, it doesn't look dead (yet!) i shall raise the plant from it's (dry) saucer to allow airflow and let it dry out completely before i do anything else, from all you say i think that the repotting shocked the plant and then i've overwatered it!
Assuming the plant doesn't die off completely would i risk repotting again in the spring using one of your recommended mixes?
Watch this space and keep your fingers crossed - i'll keep you informed.
Thanks again

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 9:05AM
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yes,repot with new mix just before spring,be careful removing
old mix.Should spring to life then.I have tried lots of mixes
and this one is the only one i have used that can handle the
rain.Perlite is recommended too,to improve drainage/aeration.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 3:27AM
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I brought an Eureka lemon tree home with me this summer from my Florida vacation. I live in Kansas City. My tree is doing well. It has grown from about 15 inches to 25 inches high since July. In the last 8 weeks it has produced 6 new leaves and 12 lemons. It is currently blooming. My concern is that I can see roots on top the soil and on the bottom hole. It dries out quickly. I have it in a southern window in a 7" high and 7" across pot. I fed it a few weeks ago. Should I just let it be until Spring or should I repot it now?

    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 1:47PM
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All i can say to you 'craigafee' is read back through the fabulous advice and follow the instructions given by the other members of this forum about repotting and you shouldn't go wrong.
You will se that i made a disasterous mistake and just a week ago i thought that the end was near for my poor plant, the final few leaves had fallen and a couple of the twigs were turning brown from the tips back, i've been tenderly misting weekly and allowing the plant just 30mins per week stood in water (following the wonderful advice from my friends here)and then this weekend i have been rewarded by the arrival of FIVE new leaves - Hurray!!!!!!
My family think that i've gone mad - i even took the plant into the bathroom with me last night so that it could bask in the steam from the bath with me!
I'm thrilled and hope that we are 'turning the corner', i hope to see more flourishes of leaves - if my husband doesn't commit me to an institution first!
Thanks again, friends, i will keep you posted!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2006 at 3:53AM
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hallo all, have been reading this with interest as I am in the UK too. My calamondin and lemon were given to us in May and prospered wonderfully all summer, there's a lemon growing and the calamondin has given two crops of fruit which made small but divine pots of marmelade. They are about three feet tall (the lemon is bigger) and in 9inch pots.

Now they are indoors in the dining room, which is the coolest place in the house. They are beside the french doors and the ambient temperature is around 15 degrees Celsius. I have some 'Citrus Food' labelled for Winter and have been watering the plants once every ten days or so, as more than that and I think they'll get too wet. The lemon still looks OK, some leaves a bit curled and one small lemonling fell off but the main one seems OK, just not growing any bigger. But the orange tree is looking very pale and some leaves have dropped off. There are a number of fruits on the tree, some have dropped off but that may be self-thinning, and a few are beginning to colour up.

How do I keep all their mineral etc needs fulfilled while not watering too much? I do worry about the orange tree, which I think may have got very wet in the last week or so before I brought it in a couple of months ago.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2006 at 11:43AM
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As the original poster to this thread I have repotted the variegated lemon and the ponderosa is still sitting in the pot it came in.Both are doing well so far.I may as well wait for spring now to repot the other one.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2006 at 2:43PM
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Just a quick update for anyone who may be interested in the progress of my tree.
I have lots of sprouts of new growth and have even had to trim the upper most regrowth to encourage new growth towards the base of the tree, all seems to be going well, i am misting regularly and watering occasionally, i haven't yet given the tree any 'feed', My only concern is that some of the new leaves are 'curling' already and the odd one are two are still falling.
Any immediate thoughts?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 10:06AM
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Hi,everyone.Good to hear your tree is recovering.I have been
messing about with my trees a bit too.To answer the question
about how do you feed in winter when the mix doesnt tend to
dry out.Thats a good point.The mix must not stay soggy,just
moist and this might mean you could go 3 weeks or more without
watering.One way to give some food,is to foliar feed with
some fert and trace elements.I find over night is good ,especially when blooming and setting fruit.Any slow release
food in the mix will be slow at this time.If there is no growth,you dont need to feed,just keep the mix on the dry side of moist through the winter.Shelter from too much rain
or wind.
we get a lot of rain here in nz,so i am a convert to
unglazed terracotta pots.They let the roots breath a bit,help the mix to dry.Might need more watering in summer but citrus roots need to breath.Soak pot for 2 hours first,
so the pot doesnt suck water from your mix.I also drill extra holes in the pots with masonary bits,start small and go bigger,so not to crack pot!!improves drainage.I have 5
trees in small pots and they are going well.mist every day.
Feed only when growing.Spring,summer and autumn are when it
happens.High nitrogen n5 p1 k3 ratio,plus add epsom salts
with this feed,helps leaves to green up.Citrus absorb at the
above ratio plus trace elements,so n20 p4 k12 plus trace
elements would be good too.water first,come back 30 mins later and water with feed.never feed dry roots.Good luck

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 6:10AM
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This forum is providing great info. for me. My key lime, after its usual partial leaf drop in midwinter (leaf drop I get in winter is due to it being too dry, not too wet--I'm pretty stingy with its water in winter), is now growing more new leaves than ever for this time of year. It's old enough to bloom now (between 2 and 3 yrs. old with a 3/4" main trunk), it's never had a single flower. Am I on the right track to repot using methods posted above and then feed it some in about a month? It sits outside in our humidity during the summer and loves that. It grows well--just no flowers yet.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 3:13PM
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Hi everyone,good to hear all is well.To answer the above thread.There is theory regarding fruit trees,dont take fruit
for the first three years.The main thing is to establish
your tree well before you put strain on it via fruiting.The
tree sucks nutrients from the leaves to feed the fruit.If
you let fruits develop in the first 3 years it will stunt the
growth of the tree.Either remove flowers or fruitlets when
they are the size of a pea.Its good you havent had flowers,thats why your tree is strong.What size pot is it in?
Is it a dwarf citrus?Dwarfs like their roots cramped a bit.
If you see roots growing out the top or drainage holes or as
often happens the tree starts lifting out the pot,then its
time to repot.If the mix is drying well,then ur roots are
happy.I like terracotta pots,they let air into the roots,
they breath too!help the mix dry out and they give more
air to the roots!!!!!!just go up 2 inches all around,thats
all.gently tease the outer roots out so they can search into the new mix,add some slow release fert high in nitrogen.water and dont feed until you see some new growth.
This might take some time.although you dont see much action
on top,its all going on underneath.The roots need to fill
the pot asap.The tree will do that first before putting out
top growth and will go in cycles = root growth/top growth
root growth/top growth etc dont over water at this stage
and dont feed.let the roots reach out.
Once top growth commences,feed with soluble fert at half
strength to start. npk 5-1-3 plus trace elements is perfect
but hard to find.Citrus in pots absorb at this
10-2-6 or 25-5-15.All 7 trace elements are important too.
NITROGEN= urea is slow acting and relies on soil bacteria
to break down.Ammonical (spelt wrong) is faster acting.Urea
is very common form.hence pissing on your trees is good 4
them lol!!a blend of the two would be nice but urea works.
Foliar feeding with the above is good as well.I do that overnight,so tree can absorb but early morning would be good
too.Nitrogen and magnesium(epsom salts) are important,the e.s helps your tree absorb the nitrogen.You can transplant
anytime but a couple of weeks before spring or autumn would
be great ready for growth at that time,give the tree time
to set itself.Its important to feed when you see signs of
new growth or just before.water tree first,then water 30 mins later with water/fert mix. never fert dry soil=burn
roots. good luck to all of you.cheers

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 5:57AM
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Good morning everyone,
Thought that i'd post an update on my plant - which is flourishing beautifully, i wish that i had taken a photo of it at it's lowest (very dead looking) point as i now have 6 or seven new branches with huge healthy leaves and there is evidence of new growth forming.
Alot of advice from this forum, a little bit of patience, a few prayers(!) and my plant is reborn, it sits on a bedroom windowsill at the moment and soaks up the sunshine all day, i am feeding monthly, misting weekly and allowing just a little water when i think it needs it, i don't think that i will attempt to repot again until it is seriously overgrowing the one it's in and then i will consult the detailed advice posted here.
Thank you so much all of you, my plant would have been thrown away without you.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 4:32AM
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Hi Sarah - glad to hear your plant has revived! I caught the citrus bug about 5 years ago - and now have about 25 plants in my 8x6 greenhouse. There are now some great citrus composts on the market, which I would use when you next attempt repotting! I always use a terracotta pot, and citrus feed at every watering. Our water here in Suffolk is very hard, so I tend to use rainwater whenever possible. My plants used to drop their leaves every winter as I used a parrafin heater in the greenhouse, but this year I have used an electric one (hang the cost!) and they have done really well. Hope yours continues to thrive. They're quite tough little plants really, just don't over-water it - try to think about the hot, dry areas they originally come from, and you won't feel so mean not giving it too much water!

Here is a link that might be useful: Re: Repotting lemon trees advice needed

    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 2:16AM
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Lucky Sarah..! My little calamondin seems to have given up altogether, has now lost all its leaves and is dying back in the twigs as well. It's been sitting in a cool window, with morning sun, and I hoped it might regenerate, but nothing so far. I put some water in the pot saucer sometimes, and it gets taken up, but I fear it got too wet last summer and is dying anyway. Should I repot it, or give up on it, do you think?

The lemon tree is doing OK, though it had a bit of scale, I think. One branch - a very vigorous one with big leaves and no fruit, that grew faster than the others and had lots of spikes, seems also to have been most affected by either scale or a miner, many of the leaves have brown streaks in them. Should I remove the leaves, remove the branch, or just keep spraying and hoping?

Advice very gratefully received!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 5:41AM
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gardner_dragon(z7 NE AR)

Citrus should never be placed in a pot with a saucer under it. It sounds like your calamondin is suffering from root rot. This happens when the roots get suffocated by water and do not receive enough oxygen. It may still be possible to save your tree if there is ANY green left in the stems.

Lay the tree, pot and all on its side and remove the root ball from the pot. DO NOT pull it out by the trunk. This can separate the root ball from the trunk and all you have left is going to the compost bin. If the pot is clay or other such material, break it by rapping it with a hammer. If the pot is plastic or foam cut it away from the root ball and soil. This will help save what ever root ball there is.

Carefully remove the soil from the root ball. Try to break as few roots as possible. Lots of slow flowing water will assist in this. When you have removed as much soil as is possible, inspect the roots that are left. The roots should be a healthy tan to whitish color. Any that you find that are mushy or black will have to be cut away. Use a scissors that have been sterilized in bleach water. Sterilize and rinse the scissors after EVERY cut. When you have removed all the dead/diseased roots pour 3% hydrogen peroxide over the remaining root ball. Let this set for 5 or 10 minutes and then re-pot in fresh sterile, well draining potting medium. This should not be potting soil unless you have mixed in perlite/vermiculite at a rate of 2 parts potting soil to 3 parts perlite/vermiculite. Water your newly potted plant very well from the top.

Using the sterilized scissors, trim all visibly dead branches. These will be totally brown and no green will show when scratched. Re-sterilize after every cut.

Place the plant in a bright location out of direct sunlight.

IF the plant is going to survive you will see new growth in a matter of a few days to a week. Do not fertilize until after a month has pasted from the time you see new growth. At this time you can fertilize with a half strength fertilizer. 2 months later you can fertilize with a extended release fertilizer on a regular 3 month schedule. I would not use a citrus spike because these are meant to be used on IN-GROUND citrus. They are too strong for a container and the result will be salt burn and death.

You can start moving the tree closer to direct sunlight after a couple weeks of new growth. Do this slowly as to not burn and shock the plant.
Hope this helps and keep us informed on how the tree is doing.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 9:26PM
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hi Andi - am just about to repot the calamondin! After you wrote the above we had a really cold period and the poor tree (although inside, in a cool bright window) looked deader and deader, and then - I couldn't believe my eyes - a little green leaf appeared! So I think I should take this as a good omen and repot it carefully, then leave it for a few weeks as you suggest and see what happens.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 8:11AM
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