When Life Gives You Lemons

amberroses(10a)August 5, 2011

Well, life hasn't given me any lemons at least not the fruit kind. That's the problem. I have a lemon tree that has never produced. It has been in the ground for 7 years. It gets full sun and doesn't look too unhealthy just very small. For many years it didn't grow at all and then just last year it started to grow a little and produce a few flowers. There have been no flowers this year. I fertilize it with citrus fertilizer along with the orange trees. Anyone have any tips to trigger blooms and maybe fruit? More fertilizer or higher P? It is a Eureka variety I think.

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How much water is it getting?

Mine was initially in a spot that was too wet. Then a new spot was too dry. Seems happiest with a couple of inches of water, twice a week, with excellent drainage.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 11:56PM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Not all plants have the same vigor, some thrive while some just survive. Of my 12 or so citrus the lemon is my fastest grower but gets damaged the easiest in the winter. I would make sure it is not too deep in the ground. If you scrape around the base of the tree with your fingers the roots should be just under the surface. I would not fertilize it on the same cycle as bearing trees but instead fertilize it monthly.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 8:43AM
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Thanks for the suggestions. Maybe it is just a lack of plant vigor. I will try to fertilize more frequently in smaller amounts. I think it gets a good amount of water and drainage.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 6:56PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Hi Amber

In my opinion some citrus, any variety sometimes are just not good. I have a pink lemon planted for about 2 years, I got the plant very sickly and I thought I can return it back to health, which I did. It is so robust and healthy and has few fruit on it, but the fruit is such a poor quality and you know our space is limited so I have a plan, when it gets cooler it is going to come out and I will replace it with a very good tasting variety of figs that I have growing in a pot. Just yesterday a friend came to see the garden, then he remembers his meyer lemon tree, he said that for 7 years it did not give any fruit and for the first time this year is loaded and this week it just died. He asked me if I know what happened to the tree, all I told him some trees are just no good.:(


    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 6:47AM
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If it's a Meyer lemon, you don't fertilize them the same way you do other citrus. Since they are everbearing, you fertilize them monthly during the growing season instead of every 3 months. I had the same problem until I started doing that. I just tossed a few handfuls around mine at the beginning of each month starting in late February/early March and ending in November, and usually had two flushes of fruit.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 9:24AM
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You may be right Silvia, but it is so hard to remove a tree. Emotionally hard I mean because it is small enough for me to take out myself. I think I will give it one last chance at rehabilitation and try the more frequent fertilization approach.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 8:02PM
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Read an interesting piece from Perdue- see link.
Other literature supports what they say-
Eurekas are not suitable for Florida.
Eureka lemon trees are listed as cold sensitive, not vigorous,
short lived and not pest resistant.

Bearss or Lisbon is a preferred variety for Florida.
UF has a great link: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs402

Here is a link that might be useful: Citrus limon

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 7:54PM
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I am getting closer to pulling it. I have a tiny yard.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 9:27PM
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Gattormom, I am confused. That link says Lisbon's aren't suitable for Fl. You seem to disagree. :o)

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 6:02AM
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I really doubted whether to include the link from Perdue at all and you are right.
The UF link states:
The ( Lisbon ) tree is large, vigorous, densely foliated, thorny, prolific and tolerant of cold and high temperatures and wind conditions (Davies and Albrigo, 1994; Morton, 1987).
Conflicting information for sure.
The proof is on your property in real world conditions.
Someone may have the perfect micro-climate for a Lisbon where it will thrive.

I have read reports that the best selection is the Bearss.
Again- from UF:
'Bearrs'. Selected in 1952 from a seedling planted in 1892 from the Bearrs Grove in Lutz, Florida (Morton, 1987). The tree is vigorous, thornless to nearly thornless, and tends to produce many water sprouts (Jackson, 1991).

This is from the UF publication in my first post.
Since the Bearss originated in Florida, it seems that this selection would have the best chance of success.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 7:54AM
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I agree with Silvia...like all plants -- even fruit trees--sometimes you just get a 'dud'.

My 3 yr old HoneyBell orange tree looks just as pathetic as the day I brought it home. This is it's last year. It's on probation. I bought a chain saw last weekend at HomeDepot....I like to threaten it with it now since coddling seems to have no impact. ;)

My Key Lime produced nothing this year either -- not one bloom. Lot's of new growth leaves, so I have to think it's just 'growing'.

I don't know...fruits trees feel like a frustrating relationship to me where you give, give, give and get nothing in return!....(sigh)...

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 9:43AM
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happy_girl(Z9 st. cloud)

I got my Meyer lemon from Low*s 2yrs ago. It had 5 small fruit on it & they all remained & ripened. Last year there were about 25 which all ripened. This year I am having to place supports under the branches because it is so loaded with fruit. I have never fertilized it at all. Sprayed it twice with neem oil for leaf miners. Planted 3 seed from a Key Lime 3 yrs. ago. Now, one of the trees is about 10 ft. tall & bloomed for the first time this spring. Only a few flowers on the lower limbs but just last week I found ONE fruit hidden there among the leaves. Yea!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 11:15AM
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Citrus are famous for taking a long time to mature.
One of our grapefruit trees took 10 years before it ever bore fruit.
It was 20 feet tall by then and made up for lost time with a truck load of grapefruits.
Patience is definitely needed for a HoneyBell.
It has grapefruit in it's genes.
The wait is well worth it for the delicious fruit.

From UF:
The Minneola tangelo (Honeybell) is a Duncan grapefruit x Dancy tangerine hybrid released in 1931 by the United States Department of Agriculture Horticultural Research Station in Orlando. This tangelo (like other tangelo cultivars) is therefore 1/2 tangerine and 1/2 grapefruit. The fruit is quite handsome and a genuine pleasure to eat.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 8:21PM
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I got so mad at my Hamlin that I chopped off all the limbs and just left the trunk. 3 years later, it bloomed, and the year I left my house, it was loaded with fruit...all pithy. I should have dug that sucker up and tossed it, and I would have if I hadn't paid $75 for it. None of my trees ever even paid for themselves. I hate citrus, and I will never grow it again.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 9:36PM
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scents_from_heaven(z9b Orlando FL)

Key limes can be finicky and ours produced tons of fruit sevral times during the year but it would produce well one year and then take a year off and come back strong the next year. Our Meyers lemon took over the yard and we had so many lemons it was not funny. The Hamlin produced well one year little the next and tons the next. The Valencia and Ruby Reds produced tons yearly. The sour orange produced well year after year. The honey tangerine took forever to fruit but when it began fruiting it produced yearly. It took time for some of them to mature and then you just have to learn your trees and know their cycle. Some of ours just fruited heavily and then rested the next year. We always had fruit though and it was so nice to walk outside and pick a fresh grapefruit for breakfast or oranges to make orange juice and lemons or limes whenever you needed them. Now I am attempting to grow citrus in containers and it is taking time but things will pay off down the road. Linda

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 10:23PM
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I just found this thread and it seems the place to pose this question. My minneloa has been in the ground for 4 years (it replaced a very old tree) and it is definitely "failing to thrive." My elderly neighbor said that her father had a grove and brought back a young tree like mine by hitting the trunk with a chain, thereby stressing the tree, and it brought it back to life. Any opinions about this? I'm getting to the point where I might try anything.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 10:34AM
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