The Q&A Archives: Meyer Lemon Leaf Drop

Question: My Meyer lemon tree is in a 5 gallon container. When I bought it it had a few lemons on it and I didn't want to send it into shock so I have kept it in the container for the past 5 months. It now has around 20-25 lemons ripening on it. Everything looked great until last week when I fertilized it. Now almost all of the leaves have fallen off, and every time the wind blows more leaves fall off. One of the lemons has a orange/brown circle outline on it. I think my tree is dying. Please help, I have been trying to grow a Meyer without killing it for the past 3 years. I don't want to lose this one!

Answer: It doesn't sound good for your tree! As you've learned, plants growing in containers need some special care, especially when it comes to fertilizer application. Because the roots are in a confined area they are more susceptible to burn if too much fertilizer is used. It's always best to use 1/2 to 1/4 strength fertilizer and feed more often than to apply it full strength.

You may be able to save your tree by unpotting it, washing all the soil off the roots and then repotting it in fresh soil. It may take some time, but the tree might recover and produce new leaves and fruits. Pick off the affected fruit, since it won't ripen properly anyway. Removing the fruit will help direct the plant's energy into recovering from the over-fertilization rather than into developing the fruits.

Hope your tree perks up soon!

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