Photo- is my tree going to die? :'(

adelae(Georgia 6b)November 4, 2013

This is a photo of my tree from the dramatic Meyer lemon post. What should I do to check out the root situation? It seems to be going downhill so quickly!

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Steve, Z (6Bground,5B roof) Cincy,OH

If your pot is plastic then add air hole in the bottom and the sides.

And half way up the sides

Use a can with a hole in it for a blow dryer or vacuum. and push or pull air threw the roots for fresh air to keep soil from going rancid at the bottom

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 8:35AM
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adelae(Georgia 6b)

It's a terra cotta pot. Should I pull the tree out and have a look at the roots?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 11:47AM
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Steve, Z (6Bground,5B roof) Cincy,OH

A terracotta pot usually has a hole in the center That is not enough for citrus. Stick your finger in the bottom hole and see if the soil is wet or dry. If it is soaking you can take a shop vac and suck out the excess water. If it is dry, then you will need to soak the tree in a tub of water for 30 minutes to get the air bubbles out. Then use a shop vac to get the excess water Your tree is of size enough to use the water in the pot in a timely manner.

At this time of the year I mist my trees with a 30-10-10 Miracid solution of 1 tsp per gallon,. I use a spray bottle like an "I can't believe it's not butter". It works very well and is free after its empty.

If the pot only has one hole you will need to blow or suck air through that hole periodically 2-3 times a week for 10 seconds. .

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 12:49PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I must say, Poncirus that I have never, ever heard of such techniques! Is anyone else doing this stuff?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 9:07PM
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Steve, Z (6Bground,5B roof) Cincy,OH

Tcamp is using container light similar to mine and claime she is getting accelerated growth. I don't know if anyone else is using a blow dryer or vacuum cleaner to aerate the pots. It appears that aerating has had a positive affect on growth as well as the bucket lights.

In potted culture the root ball is surrounded on 5 of 6 sides, with very low air movement. When you water you push old air out and as the water is used up by the tree, fresh air fills in the void. Since the trees use so little water there is very little air movement to the roots. The use of the bucket light causes any evaporative loss from leaves to go back into the soil. There for it would be advisable to aerate the roots as I do.

I do not want the roots to wrap around in side there container so I am using over size pots for these trees. I plan to get these plants into 200 gallon Versailles planter and don't want to deal with root wrapping inside a pot to small. Therefore it is important to aerate and warm my roots as I do. Once the setup was completed it quick and easy to care fore. Just hold the vacuum against each plants vacuum hole several times per week

    Bookmark   November 5, 2013 at 11:01PM
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Steve, your intent to help others here with your techniques is quite heart warming and least to say we can see the excitement you spin off with everyones threads these days being filled with your pics as so..

Sad to say, it may be that a majority of the forums members here and people that I know would much prefer to grow their trees in pretty or practical pots that look presentable in their homes or yards and use mixes that drain very well that alleviates the methods and extremes that you have to go through to prevent over watering for soggy mixes like what you use..

If there is any that would like to try your techniques, my father probably included, then by all means, nothing wrong about that.

But I have a feeling you may be preaching on the wrong pulpit my friend to the majority..I get the feeling that many that use to come here and that still do find it sort of repetitious and boring...
But if one listens, if that is your intent, then you have accomplished something I guess..


    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 8:22AM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

hey Rhizo.

to answer you question. No, no one but steve uses a hairdryer on his trees.


I think you hit the nail on the head. this is one part of Gardenweb i am done visiting.


    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 12:10PM
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Steve, Z (6Bground,5B roof) Cincy,OH

Meyer mike

I agree with you that most won't do it my way. All I am doing Is getting these trees up to size and in there permanent place. The shape of my home and yard leaves my tree where no one sees them. Their final growing place will be in artistic Versailles planters. There are people that I meet in Cincinnati that do thing off the norm with great success. The pictures I post pertain to the subject and are representative. to my growing practices. People don't have to use my method or traditional methods but can combine what they thing works for them The pictures show what others can expect using my Technics if they are willing to put in the extra. Their choice

MY SOIL MIX DRAINS VERY FAST AFTER SATURATION so it is not close to being soggy.

How would you change my mix to work well. with the material that I have. I am aware that you all are very knowledgeable.

From what I have learned from this forum that there is no need for the blow dryer to the root. A vacuum cleaner for 10-30 seconds is all that is needed. No heat needed.


    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 6:13PM
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Don't sell short the importance of heat, whether provided by heating pads, lights, your hair dryer, whatever. In the cold months it is important to keep the roots "warm"; because it is important that the roots grow during this time, so that the leaves and branches will grow in the Spring; and citrus roots do not like to grow into cool soil. It is one of the issues for citrus brought indoors in the Winter and placed in front of a big window with sun; the plant gets warm; but the roots do not.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 7:01PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

But John, if the ambient temperature in your home is, say, 72 degrees, then the roots are plenty warm enough. Unless your citrus is in a cool house. But then, temps are usually in the 50's or thereabouts, which is close to the temps my citrus trees roots are for a lot of the winter. Not a lot of growth on my trees during the winter, but that's the normal state of affairs for nearly all citrus grown here in the USA. Except for where you live, or the tropics, where it's the same temp just about all year 'round. :-)

Steve, your techniques are probably not duplicatable for the average container citrus person. They are certainly interesting, not sure if they are actually valid, and certainly not sure it's worth the incredible effort you're having to put in. I would think there has to be an easier way (like both Mike in OK and MeyerMike are doing, and their trees are gorgeous). Just sayin'. I admire your enthusiasm, but your techniques are difficult to replicate in the average household :-)

Patty S.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 10:33PM
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You are completely correct; but in some indoor environments in the Northern climes the sunny room they put their trees in are not heated at all... maybe a sorta solarium. I am only trying to make growers understand that citrus roots do not like to grow into cool soil. 50's temps are okay; but if the plant is 80 because of the sun; and the soil is 40, you will have problems. Never a problem in S. Cal; but the majority of growers here are not in S. Cal; if they were, they would not need our help. Here is a link... unrelated.. to my first novel, now available at Kindle

Here is a link that might be useful: link to

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 11:00PM
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Steve, Z (6Bground,5B roof) Cincy,OH

Thank all

My citrus room runs at about 70 F all day and 65 at night. Do you think that would be warm enough to skip the hairdryer. Last winter early January my furnace stop working and I was relying on solar heating with the citrus room temps in 50-60 range


    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 11:36PM
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Steve, of the roots are kept above 55, yes they will grow just fine....Didn't you say those buckets create heat on their own?

I can't imagine temps in your bucket method with lights on for long ever going below 60 if that...No hairdryer needed..

In fact, roots need to cool off at least a ten to 20 degrees difference to produce needed sugars to survive...Look up 'photosyntheses'..


    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 5:33AM
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adelae(Georgia 6b)

My tree is getting worse and worse, could it be that I am underwatering? I am already a very judicious waterer and now I'm scared to water any more than I do. Please help!!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 10:35AM
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Hi Adelae.Your plant looks exactly like my plants looked
when I brought them in after being outside for a long summer.
They would go into major shock . I found if the room
Was to hot they would start to drop leaves which then
was followed by infestation of spider mites.Following
year I placed them in a east fasting window and kept
temperature in mid 60s , worked fantastic no shock
they kept all their leaves and no bugs!! So what worked for me was not to much sun and cooler temp.Always be careful watering them when you first
bring them in because they are in shock .

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 11:16AM
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Oh and yes I think it will survive .It will probably lose 75% of its leaves
followed by new shoots in a couple of weeks.Just be careful of watering now.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 11:27AM
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Adelae...Let's get back to basic again if you will??:-)

Sorry for the detour took on your thread..

Have you checked the roots?
What do they look like?
Do they look healthy?
How wet is your mix a few days after watering, in the root zone?
Have you bought a wooden dowel to REALLy make sure the root zone is either damp or dry before watering?
Have you checked for spider mites with a magnifying glass very carefully under the leaves?

Fertilizing is going to do nothing if the roots are impaired and the mix soggy for to long of a period of time.
If this mix is not porous, it's going to hold salt deposits that will kill the finer roots which do the bullwork of providing nutrients and water to the tree.

If the roots are good, please post a pic for us to see, then it will recover.
John know Meyers more than anyone and has said many times over that they like to drop leaves for many reasons and he was not kidding..It takes time to please these plants in every way.
Just because it's loosing leaves it does not mean it's going to die as long as the roots are securely safe and happy in a very nice porous mix.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 6:48PM
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tcamp30144(7B N.ATLANTA)

Lmao I'm a he lol but yes light buckets work don't know about other.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2013 at 1:27AM
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Steve, Z (6Bground,5B roof) Cincy,OH

The hair dryer does very little if anything. I use a vacuum cleaner and I believe that helps a lot if you have over size pots as I do. Otherwise I think that neither would help enough in ordinary situation to bother with.


    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 2:55PM
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Steve..I am curious...How in the world do you use a vaccum cleaner without sucking the soil right out of the pot?



    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 5:35PM
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Steve, Z (6Bground,5B roof) Cincy,OH


There is a hole in the side of an empty bucket that the bucket with the tree fits snugly into. The tree's bucket has about 300 holes of 1/8 inch diameter drilled into the bottom. A vacuum cleaner's nozzle is inserted into the side hole an sucks air slowly though each of the small holes in the bottom of the tree. The air is moves slowly and the dirt remains in the pot. Check the link below for a picture of the setup.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 14, 2013 at 6:34PM
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