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Lemon tree thorns

Posted by Mollies_Nana 7b (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 27, 13 at 15:13

I was moving my lemon trees outside 3 days ago and got "bitten" several times. The only "bite" that concerns me is on my left index finger. My entire finger is quite swollen, painful, has some redness and heat, and the spot where the thorn "bit" me is quite noticeable and even seems to have some bruising around it. I have gotten tagged by these trees many times in the past, but never with these results. Just curious if this is normal. The tree that tagged me is 6 years old, but I am unsure of the specific variety. I bought it as a 3-4 inch little souvenir at Orange Beach back in 2006. Thanks in advance for your replies. =)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Lemon tree thorns

In my very limited experience with lemons in containers, which usually means small trees, I have learned it is quite a simple matter to cut off the tips of the thorns with a fingernail clipper, thus blunting the sharpness of the bite.

As a commercial grower of Meyers, I "give blood" everytime I work with them; and sometimes a deep stab can hurt for days.


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RE: Lemon tree thorns

Mollie, you need to see your doctor right away. Lemons do have thorns, and they can be pretty prickly, but your symptoms are not due to the thorn, the lemon or age/type of the lemon tree, but most likely due to an infection you've developed from the puncture wound. Please see the doctor right away. Fingers (and other extremity areas) are predominantly one-way circulation, and you can end up with a very nasty infection that could cost you part or all of your finger. Not to scare you, but you should never, ever ignore symptoms such as these. Please let us know what the doctor says.

Patty S. (RN)


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RE: Lemon tree thorns

Thanks guys! I appreciate the rapid responses. I have learned a lot in my few short hours on this forum! I only have joined one other forum, (a pit bull friendly forum which I help moderate) and I never knew how much I didn't know about anything till I started "learning the hard way". I did cut off all the thorns last night. I also moved all my trees to the kitchen and put them on top of one of my dogs crates in front of a double window. He didn't seem too pleased to be the "lemon tree watcher", I think he was hoping more to be the "cat watcher", but I've got his number on wanting to be the CEO of that job and he keeps getting passed over for the position! Anyway, I did get some Vigoro Citrus fertilizer, as I realized I hadn't fertilized them, and that was probably the reason the leaves were starting to fall off. I admit, I have become neglectful the past couple of months of them, but now they are where I can see them every day and tend to them more properly. I've opened the shades and intend to pull the blinds up so that when the sun decides to shine again, they will receive some much needed rays. It is in the 30's for highs here, so much too cold for a few hours of outdoor time for them, so a little window time will have to suffice. As for my finger, it seems a little better today. It still hurts, but not quite as much, still swollen, but the redness isn't as bad. I'll admit, when I got bit, I wiped the blood, which seemed excessive for a thorn prick, and kept moving trees, despite the continued bites and continued biting, and got probably a fair amount of dirt in my finger where the thorn got me. I've never seen a thorn prick cause so much blood, but I'm sure the dirt didn't help keep it from getting infected. Needless to say, I didn't even put peroxide on it. I think I did rinse it with some cool water and that was about it. Hey, I have 6 dogs, 5 of which weigh 70 pounds or over, 2 are Lab mixes, 3 are pit bull mixes, so I'm no stranger to germs, or cuts and scratches here and there, so I rarely clean anything with more than a swipe of the pants leg... the cool water was as good as a doctor's visit for me... lol. I think it will be ok, I just had never had this kind of reaction, and wondered if maybe they could have some toxicity in the thorns. I will admit, after cutting away dead branches and vicious little thorns last night, my wrists were a little itchy, so maybe I'm a little allergic to the oil that the lemon trees produce... not that it will prevent me from trying to grow more trees, and nothing will prevent me from my beloved homemade Lemon Curd recipe.... do we have a recipe swap section?? I love anything lemon, especially desserts! yum!! =)


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RE: Lemon tree thorns

Well, no toxins on lemon thorns. And, doubtful it's an allergy, more likely just an irritation, Mollies, but you should still call your doctor to see about whether or not an antibiotic is in order. It is so easy to pick up an infection in the garden. I, too, garden extensively, and have two extremely active Australian Shepherds. I routinely get scratched, poked or stabbed in the garden. Between my pomegranates, citrus and roses, it's inevitable. The thing, however, about puncture wounds like you've experienced, is there is a much higher chance of having an infection, even if you were good about promptly washing out the wound because dirt and bacteria can get pushed way down into the wound. No need to use anything fancy, and I don't recommend hydrogen peroxide, as if it sits around long enough in your cupboard, it just turns into water (H2O2 turns into H2O). Old fashioned soap and water and good scrubbing is the best bet, then a bandaid with some antibiotic ointment worked into the wound. You probably just nicked a little capillary, and you can have more bleeding than you'd expect, but this has nothing to do with being a lemon :-) Try using long rose gloves, that might help reduce potential scratches and pokes, and let your doc know. Fingers are precious, I have had friends end up in the hospital with the exact same set of symptoms as you have experienced. Better safe than sorry. And, no recipe swap section that I'm aware of, but Citrus Forum folks often post their citrus recipes here on this forum, so please feel free to share!

Patty S.


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RE: Lemon tree thorns

Oh I would love to start a recipe swap... I have the most awesome homemade Lemon Curd... I spoon it over lemon cake... or simply eat it with a spoon by itself.. lol. I love anything lemon, and having my own lemon trees to make it makes it even more wonderful. The last batch of lemon curd I made, I was actually able to use two of my own Meyer lemons. I did have to use a few store bought lemons, but still, it was wonderful knowing that I had my own lemons in there as well. Thanks for the tips on the fingers, I will keep an eye on it and see if my doc thinks I need any meds for it. My dogs are contained to the back yard, so luckily, all my gardening is only frequented by wildlife, which I definitely have a lot of, but the dogs are always contained in the back yard, and the cats are not allowed outside, lest they become a chew toy for Cooper. I've just started some lemon seeds, so hopefully, I will have some additions to my 5 trees before long.... fingers and paws crossed at my place, a happy Nana means for happy doggies, cause Nana shares her treats... well, except for the sweet ones! =)


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Thought I'd share my vicious little trees... this is from November 2012.


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This is from January, right before I picked the lemons. The thing is, after I picked the lemons, they started dropping their leaves. I thought maybe it was because they weren't getting enough water. Now, I'm thinking it due to lack of fertilization.


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RE: Lemon tree thorns

Oh, they don't look so vicious, lol! Very pretty and very healthy looking, Mollies! I have to tell you, I did almost the same thing last weekend, when I was putting down fertilizer for roses. I lost my balance just a wee bit when I bent down to put down some fertilizer, was stepping on a big chunk of wood mulch that turned my ankle a little bit, and I ended up jamming my hand into a rose branch. I promptly drove a very large rose thorn into my finger and broke the damned thing right off, impaled in the top part of my index finger. Now, I'm a nurse, and can stand a lot of gruesome stuff, but that thorn went down to the bone. Not gonna lie, got a little lightheaded. Ran in, yanked out the thorn, bleed like a stuck pig, and I washed and washed and washed that wound. I think mainly just to regain my wits, lol!! It did heal up, and my hands were really clean fortunately, but after I yanked out the thorn, thought I was gone to pass out. Ugh. Apparently I'm good with other people's injuries, but not so good with my own.

So, please share your lemon curd recipe, Mollies! I am making Crunchy Scones this next week for my daughter's wedding shower, and I have jarred lemon curd, but homemade from my own lemons would be pretty sweet. Here's my Crunchy Scones recipe, plus a recipe for clotted cream, very yummy:

Sweet and Crispy Scones
Makes 12 scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 cup heavy cream
1 whole egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• Mix dry ingredients in a bowl with a paddle attachment.
• In a separate bowl, mix cream, egg and vanilla extract.
• Add wet mixture to dry and mix on low speed until combined.
• Turn dough onto a floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll dough out to 1/2-inch thickness.
• Cut out 12 individual scones with a biscuit cutter and place them on a baking sheet. Brush with milk and dust with turbinado sugar. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 15 minutes.

Serve with berry jam, lemon curd or clotted cream and a cup of tea or coffee.
Clotted Cream

Ingredients:
2 cups heavy cream (raw cream or a good quality full-fat organic. Do not try to use ultra-pasteurized heavy cream)
Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 180 F. (This might just be a setting called ’warm.’)
2) Place heavy cream in a heavy bottom ceramic, cast iron or enamel pot, about 8 inches by 13 inches. (You want to keep the cream shallow, but not so shallow it burns; 1-3 inches up the side is good.) Cover the pot and place on the center rack of the oven. Leave undisturbed 8-10 hours, until a dark yellow crust has formed on top of the cream.
3) Uncover and allow the cream to cool. Recover and place in the refrigerator overnight.
4) Using a spatula, pull the clotted cream from the dish and transfer to a storage container. Use leftover cream in baking applications.
Tips:
Store in refrigerator. Use clotted cream in 4-5 days.

Patty S.


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RE: Lemon tree thorns

Mollies, leaf drop can be due to a number of things. Some leaf drop is normal for citrus particularly in the late winter/early spring as new leaves are pushing out. Heavy leaf drop could be due to a variety of different causes, under watering, over watering, being root bound, sudden drops or climbs in temps, not enough light. One thing I do see, is that your trees are still in the nursery pots? I would suggest you pot up into much larger pots, and use a well draining potting mix. If you search our forum for "511 mix", you'll get a great potting mix recipe. Other folks like to use Farfad's Professional mixes, and again, you can search "Farfad" to find out which if the professional mixes are recommended.

Patty S.


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RE: Lemon tree thorns

Thanks for the tips Patty... by the way, my name is Lorrie. I use Mollie's Nana on everything. Mollie is my "grand dog", an 8 year old American Pit Bull Terrier. God, I love that dog! She's not my only one, but one of .... 3... of my very favorites of the 6. Can't say I could choose between the 3 as to which one is "the" favorite, as they all hold their own special place for getting me through 3 terrible deaths in my life. I'll have to tell you about them sometime.

Now, onto the lemon curd. First, you'll want to be throwing out that jarred lemon curd, and trust me, you'll NEVER buy jarred lemon curd again, especially since you have your own lemons!! I found this recipe online, and it is my absolute favorite thing. I swear, I can literally eat this by itself with just a spoon. I can only imagine spooning it over some vanilla ice cream.... mmmmm.

Classic Lemon Curd

6 TBS unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (not bottled)
1 tsp. grated lemon zest

In a large bowl, beat butter & sugar with mixer, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the eggs and yolks. Beat for 1 minute. Mix in lemon juice. The mixture will have a slightly curdled look, but will smooth out as it cooks.

In medium, heavy-based saucepan, cook mixture over low heat until it looks smooth. The curdled appearance disappears as the butter begins to melt. Increase the heat to medium and cook, (stirring constantly with a wooden spoon), until the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes. It should leave a path on the back of wooden spoon and will read 170 degrees on candy thermometer. Don't let the mixture boil.

Remove the curd from heat and stir in lemon zest. Transfer into a bowl. Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the lemon curd to prevent a skin from forming, and chill. The curd will thicken further as it cools. Cover tightly. It will keep in the refrigerator for a week, and in the freezer for 2 months.

** Note** I never add the zest because it's a skill I simply cannot perfect. Every time I have tried to add it, the zest seems to clump at the bottom of the bowl and lay there laughing at me, so I refuse to let it mock me, so now, I leave it's mean little self sitting on the lemon to sulk. That will teach it to mock me!

I sometimes double the bathes of this because it is so good and I always end up eating several spoons right after I make it (I just can't help myself!). I think I might have to make some tonight!!

Here is the website I actually got the lemon curd recipe from: http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/lemon_curd.aspx

I usually make a really simple lemon cake to spread this over. A lot of times, I will put the cake in a Bundt pan and put spoons of the lemon curd on the batter mix before baking. That way, there is a "surprise" at the bottom of each slice of cake. I always end up spooning some on each slice of cake anyway, simple because I cannot get enough lemon. My kids won't touch lemon cake, they say it's all I ever make!

Easy Lemon cake

Duncan Hines Lemon Cake Mix
4 eggs
1 pkg. 3.5 lemon pudding mix
1/3 cup oil
1 cup water

Prepare Bundt pan with cooking spray and flour. Mix together and bake in 350 degree oven for 50 minutes. I sometimes add a few spoons of fresh lemon juice, this makes the cake more dense, making it more like a pound cake, but it is very good with the added lemon juice.

Lemon Glaze

Juice from one lemon
About 1 cup powdered sugar
zest from 1 lemon
few drops of yellow food coloring (if desired)

Mix together and drizzle over cooled cake. May need to add more powdered sugar to get consistency desired. Again, I don't use the zest because it's a skill I haven't mastered, but the glaze always turns out really nice. I add the food coloring simply for preference. I like the cake to be as "yellow" as my lemons... lol


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RE: Lemon tree thorns

And all of those recipes are better with Meyer lemon, IMHO.
Okay, my BIASED opinion; and we haven't even mentioned Meyer lemon cardamom ice cream; we recently introduced it in Guatemala and the most common response???? This may be the best ice cream I have ever tasted!!!


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RE: Lemon tree thorns

Johnmerr.... the above comment is completely useless without a recipe attached. Until then, you cannot be my friend.... =)~

(and I'd really like for you to be my friend.... so snap, snap with that recipe.... please! =D )


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RE: Lemon tree thorns

John is referring to the Meyer Lemon & Cardamom Ice Cream recipe posted in the Los Angeles Times a while back. I've made the ice cream and it is very good. I would consider adding a bit more sugar, though. Here's a link to the recipe.

Patty S.

Here is a link that might be useful: Los Angeles Times: Meyer Lemon & Cardamom Ice Cream Recipe


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RE: Lemon tree thorns

Yup, that is the recipe; although I didn't get it from the LA Times. One note: the recipe maligns the Meyer when it mentions avoiding the "bitter white pith"... no such thing exists in the Meyer; they must have adapted the recipe from one using an ELB lemon (Eureka, Lisbon, Berna)


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Oh, thank you Patty... I will have to give this a try. I loved the two Meyer lemons I got off my tree... I will post a pic of them.

The last 2 nights, I have spent all evening clipping thorns off my trees. I also noticed that it looks like I have had some spider mites. I didn't see any spider mites last night, just where they had been chomping down on the leaves. =(

I cut off all the damaged leaves and branches that were dead or dying. Some of the branches, I stuck down in the dirt, as I have done that twice and had the twigs take root. Amazing for someone that doesn't know what they are doing, huh?

I got some citrus fruit Neem oil spray and sprayed them the other night. I think I read to spray them 3 days later, so I will spay them again tonight as I sprayed them Tuesday. I did a lot of trimming, and removed all the leaves that I could see that were damaged.

I did get some citrus tree potting mix, but then read the thing on the 511 mix, so I know I need some pine park. I think I have some perlite at home, not sure about peat, but I can get some. I haven't re potted the new ones since I got them May 2012 (a steal at the local Kroger, $2.00 each and all had lemons on them).

I also had no idea how to self pollinate, which I'm embarrassed to say. I lost an opportunity to have a LOT of lemons right now, because in January, I had a ton of blooms. I didn't pollinate them, and now, I have 2 tiny baby lemons that I'm not sure will make it. I feel like an idiot for not knowing I had to do the pollinating myself... live and learn the hard way seems to be my motto in life.

I moderate on a pit bull forum, and we are ALWAYS telling people to RESEARCH the breed before going out and jumping in both feet first and bringing home the dog and knowing nothing about the breed, then coming to the forum asking a MILLION questions that they should have asked before they got the dog. Now here I am doing the same dang thing.... it may not be a dog, but last night I was beating myself up pretty good for not researching more about how to care for them before I got them. I feel like I'm one of those people that we shake our heads at because they know nothing about dogs at all, especially the breed they just brought home, and now they are in a mess... and here I am in the same mess. What a dope I am.

Anyway, here are my Meyer lemons that I got off my trees in January. I put them in my Lemon Curd... it was wonderful! Hope to make some more this weekend. Hope to be able to save the 4 of my 5 trees that look a lot different than they did in January. **sigh**


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Meyer Lemons make lemon curd perfection....


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RE: Lemon tree thorns

Lorrie,

The Meyer lemon flower does not need help from anyone or anything to make lemons; it is a perfect flower. It does need bees, or some sort of pollinator to make seeds; but who wants more seeds?.

Your tree only held onto 2 lemons because it is so young; and possibly a little underfed; not to worry, it should be blooming soon and you should get many more, if you feed it adequately.


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RE: Lemon tree thorns

And the Meyer lemons that became lemond curd... guess these should have been first... lol


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RE: Lemon tree thorns

Thanks John... actually, I'd love more lemons, because I'd love more seeds. I'm trying to get some seeds to root now to give my sister. I'm hoping that they will sprout and I can have them at a decent size to give her by her birthday in November.

I love my lemon trees, if for nothing else but the smell, but I also LOVE making things with lemons, and the lemon curd and lemon cake recipes I listed above take about 8-10 lemons to get enough juice for both recipes. Well, I usually double the curd recipe, so in order to make that much and the cake, I need about 8-10 lemons. The store bought lemons are by far better than bottled lemon juice, but to have my own lemons and not have to buy the lemons?? That would be heavenly!!


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And of course, the finished product... ummmm.


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Thanks for the recipes, coping them down as we speak. Couple of things - the Improved Meyer (and nearly all citrus) do not need to be pollinated to create fruit, they are parthenocarpic, and can produce fruit without the assistance of pollination. You will not get more fruit if you pollinate. And, if you're after seeds, again, you don't want to propagate from seed, as the Meyer lemon will not come true from seed. You're better off either rooting cuttings or grafting budwood.

Patty S.


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Thanks Patty! Can I just root some of the green wood new growth? Whatever my oldest tree is that came from Orange Beach, I have no idea what it is, it was a little 4 or 5 inch twig when I bought it, now it's a good 4 and a half to 5 feet tall. I accidentally broke a branch off moving it or something a few years ago and just cut it off even at the bottom and stuck it in the pot. I noticed a few months ago that it had rooted and is now about a foot tall.

Keep in mind that I haven't fertilized any of these trees since I've had them. Who knows what they would be if I had taken better care of them. But I have the Vigoro spikes now, although I ended up buying the HUGE ones without knowing it. I put one in a ziploc bag and broke it up into about 4 pieces and put each piece into 4 of the small pots and put half of one spike into the 4 ft tree. I hope that will be sufficient fertilizer for them, being as they haven't had anything. I feel terrible for not knowing they needed something stronger and more often than regular Miracle Grow once a year in the spring. I feel like Charlie Brown with his pitiful Christmas tree. =(


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RE: Lemon tree thorns

Yes, the Meyer lemon will root pretty easily and will also grow on their own roots well. Oh, and you MUST fertilize the Meyer frequently. They require more fertilizer than other citrus due to being so prolific fruit producers. Toss the Vigoro spikes, they don't work, and actually can cause more issues. Pot your trees up, they're in too small a pots, use a well draining mix, and then fertilize with DynaGro Foliage Pro 1/4 strength in the winter, 1/2 strength in the summer. This is our MeyeMike's system and if you've seen his potted citrus, you'll want to follow his recommendations. He and I (and many others) also put down Osmocote Plus (MUST be the Plus formulation for the micros) twice a year as well. Your citrus will not manage very well if they are not regularly fertilized, and have enough room for their roots to expand, but stay well draining.

Patty S.


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Oh boy... guess I should have asked about the fertilizer brand first. Now I have 15 useless spikes and I've already opened them, so no chance of returning them I bet. I could try, but not sure if Home Depot will let me exchange them.

One thing that I have been wanting to do, but have been scared to do so far, is plant them in the ground. I guess I could start a new thread on this subject, but I have read that I can plant them as long as I plant them on the Northwest side of the house and plant them deep with a thick covering of mulch or pine shredding. I would really like to plant them, I just don't want to lose any of them.


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RE: Lemon tree thorns

Okay, Lorrie, where do you live? I have some limited experience growing Meyers inground and perhaps could be some help to you. As for the spikes, can you tell us what is the formulation? Vigoro makes some pretty good products, so it is possible you could grind them up and use them that way. My favorite home garden citrus fert. is Vigoro Citrus and Avocado; just follow the label instructions.
Note that I have very limited experience in container growing; so if you leave them in pots you would be better served to take your advice from Patty, or Meyer Mike, or maybe Josh (Greenman here), depending on where you are.
FYI Meyers have a deserved reputation of being "finicky"; but inground they are quite easy to please; and in the field, grown as a crop, they are simple.


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RE: Lemon tree thorns

Johnmerr, thanks for the quick reply... unfortunately my hotspot is out at my house, and I haven't managed to get my phone linked up to this forum yet. I'm in Tennessee, in the 7b zone. I "think" I got the Vigoro Citrus and Avocado, but may have just gotten the citrus. I did break them up some and sprinkle the ground up mix around a little under the soil. I am going to check into getting the other that Patty mentioned. I am going to re pot as soon as I can manage to pick up the pots, the pine bark and other stuff so I can re pot them properly, but I definitely would love to plant them in the ground if possible. I think so far this winter, it has gotten down in the 20's, but that's as low as it has gotten here. We have a pretty wide open field here, so I could definitely plant them out in a field, but don't have enough to call them a "crop", unless the seedlings I am trying to sprout take off, then I will hopefully have a few more next year that will take off. I'm in West Tennessee, not too far from Memphis. I've read that some varieties can handle cold weather close to 10 degrees, I'm hoping mine can as well.

Thanks everyone for your help. =)


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RE: Lemon tree thorns

Johnmerr, thanks for the quick reply... unfortunately my hotspot is out at my house, and I haven't managed to get my phone linked up to this forum yet. I'm in Tennessee, in the 7b zone. I "think" I got the Vigoro Citrus and Avocado, but may have just gotten the citrus. I did break them up some and sprinkle the ground up mix around a little under the soil. I am going to check into getting the other that Patty mentioned. I am going to re pot as soon as I can manage to pick up the pots, the pine bark and other stuff so I can re pot them properly, but I definitely would love to plant them in the ground if possible. I think so far this winter, it has gotten down in the 20's, but that's as low as it has gotten here. We have a pretty wide open field here, so I could definitely plant them out in a field, but don't have enough to call them a "crop", unless the seedlings I am trying to sprout take off, then I will hopefully have a few more next year that will take off. I'm in West Tennessee, not too far from Memphis. I've read that some varieties can handle cold weather close to 10 degrees, I'm hoping mine can as well.

Thanks everyone for your help. =)


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RE: Lemon tree thorns

Meyers can withstand temps to about 28 degrees; below that they would need a cover and a heat source to survive.


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