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Fruit Drop and Stunted Growth :(

Posted by baconquest MA (My Page) on
Mon, May 6, 13 at 8:48

Hi Everyone!

Its been a while since I've been on here, I got really busy preparing for my wedding, and I just got back from my honeymoon!

Anyway, right before I left for the honeymoon in mid-April, my 2-3 year old containerized meyer lemon tree was EXPLODING with new growth and blossoms. When I returned, most of the blooms had dropped and it looks like the growth has stagnated. The leaves still look very healthy and the new growth still looks good too. Its just like its halted growth altogether. Also, most of the blossoms have dropped, which obviously happens, but almost all of the fruit has dropped with it. I now only have 3 pea sized fruit on the tree out of the several hundred blossoms that started. Also, there's a couple remaining blossoms and buds, but they're all "sterile" and do not produce fruit and drop incredibly easy.

While I was gone my neighbor watered for me using FP and vinegar (I set up the watering cans before I left), she slightly overwatered, but not terribly. I have it in 5-1-1 and the mix drains very well. Another thing that changed is that I think the tree is getting less direct sunlight. The sun now passes almost directly over my house, shining brightly on my roof during the day instead of the southern exposure. Could either of these things be causing the stunted growth or fruit drop, or is this a normal process? I'm bummed about the fruit drop, but luckily the tree is still very healthy looking. With the fickle nature of containerized citrus in the Northeast I continue to count my blessings!

Also, this one is specifically for Mike, but when will you be putting the trees outside? Its still chilly at night here, I've been reading to wait till temps are consistently above 50 at night, so I'm guessing I'll put them outside starting around Memorial Day.

Sorry for the novel, and I will post a picture when I get home, but I wanted to get the conversation going! Thanks everyone,

-Mike B

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Fruit Drop and Stunted Growth :(

Self thinning is normal for all citrus. I would expect a tree of that age to only keep less than a dozen fruit so yours is doing what is should. It does need more sun from what you have said.

Mine go out when the lows are 40 degrees or more and the days are in the 60 degrees or more range. Basically if you have warm days they can see a few hours of cool weather.
i know that was for Meyer Mike but wanted to share anyways.


RE: Fruit Drop and Stunted Growth :(

Good to know Mike!

Temps here are in the 60's-70's during the day and low 50's high 40's at night. I think i'm going to let them soak in some rays this week, but I'll watch the weather in case of some cold nights. I'm fighting a fungus gnat problem too. This will help thin the numbers in my house :/ Just wanted to make sure I wasn't going to kill the tree or make it drop its remaining fruit before bringing it out!

RE: Fruit Drop and Stunted Growth :(

Hey Mike and Mike..How are you?

Mike congrats on you wedding! I hope you went somewhere warm where you can wear sandels and t-shirts at night and where citrus trees flourish..

I had my trees outside almost a month ago! Yes, with the exception of nights into the mid thrities when I carry them in, they are there to stay.

From my years of experience here in the great fickle North East, I would have to say that the only thing the cold does to mine under 50 degrees is cause extreme yellowing since my trees are not taking up nutrients as easily as they could when temps are much warmer than that by June.
The only other problem I could see is using a soil mix that stays too wet and the cold combined.

I have found that hardening my trees off with a wide range of temps actually makes them tough.
Growth and nutrient uptake is definitly slowed, but the bugs that wish could live on them in my home are no longer and issue as so freely watering.

Just get them acclimated to the temps and sunlight in the start and I would start now.
I would start them in dabbled sunlight light under trees, or a bug screen over them or shade cloth , or just morning or late afternoon sun for a about a week or two then more sun by the thrid then full by the fourth.

i would also bring them in when temps drop into the 30's and not worry about the 40's. If you see them start to yellow, or wilt when it warms quickly, don't worry.
They will get use to it and will take up nutrients so as the green will come back by the time the the temps stabilize more roughly about the start of June:-)
By the way, great mix!
Good to see you again.

Mksmth! How are ya? Hope you are well. Please share some pics of your trees for me to see. They must look good buddy!


RE: Fruit Drop and Stunted Growth :(

Thanks Mike!

Just got back from the Southwest! Was glad to get home and find the temps close to what we were experiencing out there!

I went ahead and put the trees outside. Yesterday I noticed the new growth on the tree was a little wilted in in the afternoon sun, but this morning had perked right back up! With the rain coming today I'll be careful to monitor the mositure in the mix so it doesn't become too moist. Also, looks like we're in the clear as far as temps are concerned until later in the weekend, so I won't have to haul the plants back in for a few days. I put my Miewa kumquat out too, it really hasn't done much inside since I got it in February except start to replace some of the leaves that have dropped. Hopefully the change in light will spark some new growth and the tree can flourish. Its a very nice looking tree!

Getting the Meyer out has also solved the fungus gnat problem in the house, looks like that pot was the soul source of them. Quite the relief to not have those buggers buzzing around my house all day. Unfortunately I don't think I'll be having any lemons on the tree this year. With such a young tree its probably best for it to focus on getting some strong growth on it anyway, but I was a little disappointed that the citrus gods didn't allow for at least one lemon!

Hope all is well and I'll get pictures up SOME DAY!



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