The Q&A Archives: Meyer Lemon

Question: I purchased a 5 gallon dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree which I've planted in the back yard where it receives full sun. The tree had fruit on it when I bought it and seemed to be doing well after planting, producing new blooms as well as a few new lemons. Summer is in full swing and I'm making sure to water every night due to the intense triple didgit heat but my tree does not look good. The leaves are yellow, I have not seen any new blooms in about a month and the tiny green lemons that were beginning to grow have turned brown. What am I doing wrong? Help!

Answer: I don't think you're doing anything wrong. It sounds as though your tree is stressed, both from the transplanting and from the hot weather. It can take citrus trees 2-3 years to become established in the landscape. During that time it will bloom and grow but may not have the strength to fully develop fruit. As a result, it will drop most of its flowers. It may also drop immature fruit throughout the season. Once the roots become established, it should be able to produce lots of fruit. Yellowing leaves can indicate over-watering or a need for iron (depending upon your soil's pH). Although the weather is hot, your tree will be happier with a deep soaking once a week instead of a daily sprinkling. Watering on a daily basis will only serve to keep the roots close to the surface and dependent upon daily watering. Instead, build a watering basin. A water ring, sometimes called a water well, is a mound of compacted soil that is built around the circumference of a planting hole once a plant has been installed. The water ring helps to direct water to the outer edges of a planting hole, encouraging new roots to grow outward, in search of moisture. The height of the mound of soil will vary from a couple of inches for 3 gallon shrubs, to almost a foot for balled and burlapped trees, especially those planted on a slope. Mulch over the ring will help to further conserve moisture and prevent deterioration of the ring itself.

Don't feed your tree - you don't want it to attempt to grow during a summer heat wave, but do give it some iron to help green it up. (Apply according to label directions.)

Best wishes with your lemon tree!

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