Struggling lemon tree

Discussion in 'General Off-Topic chat' started by Wyvren, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. Wyvren

    Wyvren Retired Moderator

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    Yes completely off topic I know, but we have a fair few brains on here and maybe they can help.

    We have two lemon trees at home, one is thriving and the other is dying. We have done everything to get the dying one to revive but so far no hope. Was wondering if anyone might have tips?

    Thriving tree:
    [​IMG]

    Dying tree:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Guest




  3. Reedfish

    Reedfish Moderator

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    Growing plants (mainly cacti and succulents) is my other passion.....

    A few questions -
    Have you inspected the branches/leaves for some sort of pest/fungus?
    Any damage to the bark?
    Any damage to the base/roots?

    Is it getting sufficient water?
    Any chance of some accidental spraying with weedkiller or some other nasty chemicals?
     
  4. OP
    Wyvren

    Wyvren Retired Moderator

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    Hey @Reedfish - As you can see it has no leaves - its been bare like that for about 2 months now.
    No damage to the bark or tree at all (including the base and roots)

    Mum water's it regularly and I tend to give both trees the water from my fish tanks (since I started doing this last year the one which is happy hasnt stopped producing fruit - its almost year round now). I know my mum treated some plants with whitefly stuff, but in general her plants are really healthy and this is the only tree we are having issues with.

    The branches are slowly dying, but the stem is still green. Will try to get a better image of the whole tree.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2016
  5. Firefly

    Firefly Pleco

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    Lemon trees LOVE 3:1:5 fertilizer. Give it lots if you aren't giving it some already. We started giving ours and it has picked up very quickly.
     
  6. RFSwanepoel

    RFSwanepoel

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    It's in the middle of a drive way?
    Maybe there is to much building materiel underneath it, to much cement could have a bad effect it drys out the roots and blocks the roots from absorbing water. It might also be over heating coz of the bricks around it to much sunlight reflected back up to the tree.
    Try planting it in a pot for a while in a shaded area till it regains strength and dig a 1Msq hole where it is and fill it with awesome soil before planting the little guy again if it makes it.
     
  7. RFSwanepoel

    RFSwanepoel

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    O also when replanting plant a PVC pipe next to it as deep as the roots close to the stem and fill this pipe with something to stop it from blocking up and give it water like that and also put some plant food sticks in the pipe for feeding.

    And if you take it out to plant it in a healthier area put some bone meal all over the place.

    And that spot is probably a bad idea for a lemon tree anyway as they require loose soil (Bricks all around is to much weight and no creatures that loosen soil will live there) and lots of drainage and they don't do to well with cold so in winter it will suffer without protection. I'd say get another tree to put there.
     
  8. OP
    Wyvren

    Wyvren Retired Moderator

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    I forgot to add, both of them are in big wine barrels cut in half. They are in the same area, same amount of sun/shade, and stand about 3m apart. Will get my mum to replant it - Im not allowed since I have the black thumb in the family when it comes to normal plants. She has tried all the old tricks in the book and that one is just not happy where the other one is very happy and they get both the same of everything. I think the only difference is the flowers below the trees. The one has the yellow flowers and the other one has some red flowering plant. Altho both had petunia's around them earlier this year.

    We find it very ironic that the one is thriving and the other isnt. She even managed to save an olive tree that they got as a gift once, the dogs decided its a yummy tree and ate the leaves till there was a 5cm stem left over - the tree in the space of two years is now almost 3m tall!

    And thanks for the tips - will pass it along to her :D
     
  9. Noodle

    Noodle

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    @Wyvren I also had a lemon tree planted in a paved area, and it wasn't doing well either.

    My Mom suggested that it needed 'threatening' to skrik it into performing, and suggested that I 'hurt' it slightly knocking a nail or two into the stem.

    That seemed a bit extreme at the time, but as it looked like the tree was going to die anyway, I tried it.

    To my surprise, it really started flourishing, and has beautiful fruit all year round.

    If @RFSwanepoel 's sound advice doesn't do any good, you could maybe try this as a last resort.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2016
  10. tracyp

    tracyp Lotus

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    There's one thing lemons truly hate - poor drainage. Tell your mum to check that the drainage hole beneath the barrel isn't blocked up. And what variety is it? Looks like it might be "Eureka"?
     
  11. RFSwanepoel

    RFSwanepoel

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    You could also try Grafting it with an Orange tree or even a piece of the stronger tree to see if there is still life in this one

    GRAFTING LINKS:

    http://www.treehelp.com/trees/citrus/propagation-by-grafting.asp


    http://www.ehow.com/how_4515363_graft-orange-trees.html

    http://tilz.tearfund.org/Publications/Footsteps+1-10/Footsteps+5/Grafting+citrus+trees.htm

    I used to have a Lemon Grafted with Orange and it made the best Oranges ever.
    It had better oranges that the orange tree right next to it.
     
  12. OP
    Wyvren

    Wyvren Retired Moderator

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    Thanks guys again.

    @tracyp - I can honestly tell you I have no bloody clue :p I cant even get a leaf off the dying one to show you. Ok Im compiling all the answers and printing it out since no internet at home means we cant access this once I get there.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2016
  13. RFSwanepoel

    RFSwanepoel

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    This should help with causing damage to the tree with the shock therapy suggested by @Noodle

    But if you do go with rusted nail please be careful as this will cause the tree to stop making fruits after a few years so only temporary shock once it starts growing again take the nails out. It will produce fruit for a while and big ones to but it's a final attempt to spread by the tree.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2016
  14. OP
    Wyvren

    Wyvren Retired Moderator

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    The nail will really be the last last last thing we try. If she can't get it happy in the next few months she is considering replacing it with something else rather since the one tree we have is giving us so many lemons that we actually can't use it all and keep giving to our neighbours.
     
  15. RFSwanepoel

    RFSwanepoel

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    The to many lemons thing might also be a sign of bad health. How long has this been going on and do you ever get more than 3 lemons at a time or does it make like 3 and then 3 new lemons and then another 3 constantly ?

    They do try to reproduce when they feel they are gonna die.
    Same thing happens to cut flowers and yearly plants, if you keep cutting the flowers they keep making new ones in order to seed before winter but once they have made some seeds they will die.

    A tree is obviously not the same as a year plant unless it is dying. Does it have very light or dark leaves ?
    Lemons usually have very dark leaves and a slight dark green undertone to it's bark. If it doesn't have this it's probably not in good health.
     
  16. OP
    Wyvren

    Wyvren Retired Moderator

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    Well its leaves are a nice green, some a bit yellow (but its about 10 in the whole tree). Its been growing slowly but surely the past few months - loads of new branches. The stem is thickening as well and its surviving the wind now. This tree since the day we got it has always had a minimum of 5 lemons on it, during december there was at least 10. Its about 3 years old now. Will have a look at its bark when I get home.
     
  17. RFSwanepoel

    RFSwanepoel

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    Cool if it is making new branches it's fine...
     
  18. Dirk

    Dirk Dwarf Catfish

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    Right,

    Seeing that everyone has now come up with a theory and a guess, let me tell you what is actually going on.

    The clue to this is that you come from Bellville which is on the Cape Flats to the largest of extents, and this means that the soil there is sandy and extremely poor in nutrients. What this means is that all nitrogenous fertilizer will just about fall through the sand as soon as you add it and citrus specifically needs regular amounts of nitrogenous fertilizer, so it is showing shortages of nitrogen. Second problem is that citrus requires iron for green leaves and sand is also very poor in iron. Third problem is that the sand is acid and citrus trees do not like acid soil. Fourth problem is that citrus require a constant amount of water and in sand the water also falls through very rapidly so you have to water regularly and in small amounts.

    So what to do: Buy a slow release fertilizer, something like 5:1:3, N:p:K (please don't ask me to explain this as well, just ask the garden shop) and sprinkle about a level cup around the tree in a radius of amount 1 meter, do this in spring, summer and autumn. Buy some agricultural lime (against the acidity) and sprinkle a level cup over the same area, do this only once and then let us see if things improve. Then buy a little plastic container of iron chelate (honey jar size) from the garden shop. Put a teaspoon of iron chelate in a 5 litre bucket, dissolve it and pour it on around the tree. Do this every three months. Then put a mulch around the tree, something like pine bark, so stop moisture loss. Then you must water the tree at least twice a week, with a sprinkler to wet an area of about a meter.

    In a years time you can deliver the lemons to my front door........

    Your local CD Rom,

    Dirk
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2012
  19. OP
    Wyvren

    Wyvren Retired Moderator

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    Baie Dankie @Dirk Bellstedt

    My mum will be at stodels first thing tomorrow morning with her shopping list. She did ask me to tell you, that the tree's are in a topsoil/potting soil mix since we dont even have sand in our garden we live near the Tygerberg nature reserve and have rock hard clay. She is actually saving up so that she can have top soil spread out all over the garden to help it out.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2016
  20. RFSwanepoel

    RFSwanepoel

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    Clay is probably one of the larger issues you will have with the lemon trees as they need a lot of drainage.
     
  21. TomK

    TomK

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    Ah well, here is a song in the mean time...

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 1, 2016

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