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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    11

    Advise needed for meyer lemon tree that does not flower

    I have a 7-8 year old Meyer lemon tree that used to flower and produce lemons every year, however it has not done so for the past 3 or so years. The tree is kept in my greenhouse during the winter months and then when the weather breaks here in NJ, it is placed outdoors. In the past I had a lot of leaf drop in the winter, however this year I kept the leaves moist 2-3 times per week using a hand sprayer and lost very few leaves. I am careful not to overwater the tree and it has grown quite nicely over the years and I repotted a few years ago as I felt that it had outgrown the previous pot. Last year I cut back all the suckers as I thought that too much energy was going to the new branches. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Maryland zone 7
    Posts
    3,042
    Hi Chiropod,

    Sometimes citrus will bloom poorly for a year or two and sometimes will suffer from bud drop. With that said, you mentioned:

    I am careful not to overwater the tree and it has grown quite nicely over the years and I repotted a few years ago as I felt that it had outgrown the previous pot.
    Citrus likes to dry out a bit and then needs a deep watering. You should water until the water runs out the drainage holes.

    Repotting "a few years ago" makes me think your tree is pot bound.

    You also don't mention fertilizing, and considering it's grown in a pot, that could also be part of the problem. These plants do best when they have an organic fertilizer that contains micro-nutrients. Here's how to grow citrus in a pot. Take a look and see if there are any clues to help.
    http://leon.ifas.ufl.edu/News_Columns/2002/121502.pdf
    http://www.hgtv.com/landscaping/citr...ors/index.html

    Newt

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    11
    I have fertilzed the tree every two months over the years using a citrus fertilzer that I picked up in Florida awhile back. This past year, I was told to pick up a fertilizer called bloom booster and I have been adding that to the water every two weeks and using epson salts once a month.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Maryland zone 7
    Posts
    3,042
    Overfertilizing citrus can cause bloom drop or leaf growth at the expense of flowers. Have you checked to see if the tree is rootbound?

    Newt

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    11

    Citrus

    How do I know if the tree us rootbound?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Maryland zone 7
    Posts
    3,042
    Here's some ideas to tell if your tree might be rootbound: you fertlize which causes growth, the tree has been repotted "a few years ago", it's not blooming. Take a look at the drainage hole(s) to see if you can see roots. If you see roots, it's really rootbound. Another option would be to gently remove the tree from the pot and take a look. I suspect the roots will have circled the inside of the pot and be a tight mass at this point.

    You can root prune and put it back in the same pot or transplant to a pot that is 2" larger. Be sure to tease out any outer roots so they won't continue growing in a circle. Do you need sites on what a rootbound plant looks like and what to do?

    Btw, one thing I use to help plants to bloom is milk. Yup, the stuff I put in my coffee. It contains calcium and minerals that aid in bloom production. When a container of milk is empty, I fill it with water and use it on my potted plants. If I hard or soft boil eggs, I let the water cool and use that too. When I steam veggies without added salt, I also use that to water plants. It's great stuff. Sometimes I will just add a tablespoon of milk to my watering can.

    Newt

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    11

    lemon tree

    Hi Newt.

    Thanks again for responding. I highly doubt that there is rootbound going on. I looked at the underside of the countainer yesterday and I could not see the roots. As previously noted, I tranplated to a much bigger pot last year. The tree is producing a large amount of new folliage at this moment and I hope that once that is done, it will then produce flowers. I am discouraging all suckers on the trunk. Once the rain stops here in Southern NJ, I will be able to have a better look at the roots and trim if need be.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Maryland zone 7
    Posts
    3,042
    I'm a bit confused about the repotting. In your first post you said,
    ...I repotted a few years ago as I felt that it had outgrown the previous pot.
    Now you say:
    As previously noted, I tranplated to a much bigger pot last year.
    If the pot is too big your tree will probably concentrate on growing roots before it produces leaves or flowers. There is also the risk of over or under watering.

    Newt

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    11

    lemon tree

    To be quite honest, I did repot, but I cannot be sure if it was last year or the year before. In regards to watering, in the winter when the tree is in my greenhouse, I only water when the soil becomes dry, whereas in the summer, for the most part the rain takes care of the tree, unless we go through an extended dry period. As previously noted, I usually fertilze bi-monthly as that advice was provided to me by a retailer of citrus trees many years ago when I first bought the tree.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Maryland zone 7
    Posts
    3,042
    I realize you trust the advice you got, but from this site I gave you.
    http://leon.ifas.ufl.edu/News_Columns/2002/121502.pdf

    WATER; Although potted trees are especially vulnerable to dryness, most watering mistakes involve overwatering. Sun exposure, hot or windy days, and air-conditioning will increase the need for watering, while cool cloudy days have the opposite effect. As a rule of thumb wait until the top inch or two of soil is dry to the touch, and then water by slowly filling the container until thoroughly wet.

    FERTILIZER; You can use a slow-release formula every two months, or a liquid feed every other week. Look for a mix that includes the micronutrients iron, zinc, manganese, molybdenum, copper, and boron. Read and follow label directions, and watch your trees. Fertilizer problems usually show up at first as discolored of misshapen leaves.
    You can use your finger to measure by poking into the soil up to the first knuckle for one inch and the second knuckle for two inches.

    Newt

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