Vegetables and Fruit forum: Been asking about growing lemons

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Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
Dec 2, 2012 12:53 PM CST
Planning to get a lemon and Satsuma orange tree to grow in pots. Any hints on keeping them healthy and dwarfed in size?
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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pod
Dec 3, 2012 10:27 AM CST
I have an improved Meyer lemon, a Miho Satsuma and a Mexican thornless lime.

I am not a fan of the lime. It has had continual problems with mealies. I spray regularly with neem.

On the satsuma and the lemon, I use a nail clipper to nip the thorns. My choice and it doesn't seem to affect the plant. I do that so am not inpaled when moving these plants.

In order to keep them in containers, every two to three years, I remove them, cut a couple of inches off the root ball, remove the loose old soil and repot with fresh soil. Their size will be compromised by keeping them in containers to begin with but it is also recommended to prune them back before new bloom growth.

Their biggest enemy in a container is overwatering.

They require minimal fertilizer. I use an organic citrus fertilizer twice a year. I use it only when they are outside of the greenhouse as it produces an incredible population of fruit flies.

I have taken to leaving them outdoors until we get a killing frost. Then I move them in temporarily. I know a few folks that have planted in ground here (zone 8a) and if the weather is ugly, they will use Christmas tree lights and wrapping for protection. Once an inground tree is older, it can be left exposed.

The only other problem might be wind blowing the container over. These will get top heavy when bearing fruit. You might take that into consideration.

Good luck, K
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
ShadyGreenThumb
Dec 3, 2012 12:14 PM CST
Thank you Kristi! I truly appreciate you advice in growing citrus especially since you are near my area . I think we are a little warmer in 9a with less chance of frost. But I will keep that in mind. We will avoid limes for the time being until we are confident in growing citrus in general. Thanks again. I am excited to have the chance to grow fruit. This is a first!
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
pod
Dec 3, 2012 12:52 PM CST
You'll do alright. There is lots of good info out there.

This is one on growing citrus in containers http://www.justfruitsandexotics.com/JF%20ContainerCitrus.pdf
This is for variety selection if you haven't purchased one yet. http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/patiocitrus/varietiestext...

And when you sample your first fruit, you will tell your husband it is terrible, awful ~ that he doesn't need to even try it. lol
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
pod
Dec 13, 2012 7:30 AM CST
Cheryl ~ I came across this link and thought of you. Isn't this a gorgeous container lemon?
http://whiteonricecouple.com/garden/lemon-tree-for-container...
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
ShadyGreenThumb
Dec 13, 2012 11:59 AM CST
I love it! I want mine to grow up to be just like that! I will look for a similar, pot, too. Do you think a coated clay pot will be better at holding moisture than regular clay?
Here is my baby. Look at these flower buds!! And see the bitty lemon? She is one of two on there.
Thumb of 2012-12-13/ShadyGreenThumb/2ca28f
Scroll down and look at the second picture on this link. I LOVE this!!! If only I had a sun room.

https://dutchbritishlove.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/ficus-lyra...
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
pod
Dec 14, 2012 6:32 AM CST
Yes... I would get a glazed clay container rather than porous. Or if you are planning to move it, you might consider putting it in a plastic container and finding a decorative clay pot to set the plastic one into for your own convenience. The heavier container won't blow over as easily but will be more difficult to move. Porous clay will dry out too quickly and also stands a chance of cracking when freezing.

You did catch the comment on that link about the shape of the container?
word of warning on pot selection: if you ever think you may transplant out of the pot you are choosing, do not get a pot which tapers in at the rim like the one our Eureka lemon tree is in. It will be very difficult to take the plant out without damaging its roots. Luckily this pot is large enough to be our Eureka’s permanent home.


I meant a shape like the second photo in this link. http://www.scotts.com/smg/learn/infoHowToArticle.jsp?detailI...

I think the ideal one would be fairly tall and more wide at the top. I said taller because a tree would probably like depth for its' roots.

Your tree looks delightful. Have you had a chance to smell the fragrant blooms yet? When you do, you may want to keep it nearby.
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
pod
Dec 15, 2012 7:27 AM CST
And here is a link I had saved from a blog on growing Meyer Lemons near your area http://herselfshoustongarden.com/2009/11/lemon-trees.html
Name: Arif Masud
Alpha Centauri (Zone 9a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Container Gardener Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Enjoys or suffers hot summers Multi-Region Gardener
KAMasud
Jan 1, 2013 2:00 AM CST
Why pots, why not grow them in the ground? You only have to provide them winter protection for first two years which in zone 8 or 9 means a plastic sheet thrown over the tree and tied at the base or you can use any old sheet.
Regards,
Arif.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
ShadyGreenThumb
Jan 1, 2013 1:12 PM CST
Hi Arif, I wish I had a sunny place to grow trees in the ground but the natural forest has shaded us pretty well, and there is barely a sunny spot in our yard. The perfect spot for two potted trees is flanking the front door. And as luck would have it, it gets a decent amount of sun there! There are two very large crepe myrtles in the beds in front of the front door, and the trunk allows the sunlight to come in fully. I have visions of pretty potted trees there bountiful with it's fruit!
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Arif Masud
Alpha Centauri (Zone 9a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Container Gardener Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Enjoys or suffers hot summers Multi-Region Gardener
KAMasud
Jan 1, 2013 11:00 PM CST
You are lucky to have a shaded garden. As Lemons and Limes are the requirement of every kitchen I suppose containers is the only way forward. Cheryl as I also have to send the sun light into funny corners I use a strategically placed looking mirror to bounce the light into corners. In nurseries I have seen these plants in heavy fruit in small pots, I don't know. Either they are cutting the root ball out of the soil when in full fruit and selling fast to gullible buyers or they are using some chemical. First is a possibility because they do the same with roses at this time of the year.
Regards,
Arif.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
ShadyGreenThumb
Jan 1, 2013 11:36 PM CST
Arif. A shady garden has it's cooler advantages in the hot summers. But at the same time, I don't get to enjoy certain flowers, in fact, in our heat, we are very limited with flower color and so I have learned to color my garden with foliage and texture.

We think along the same lines~ I have thought to put up large decorative mirrors against a wall to do just that, bring sunshine and light into a dark shaded corner. But I am afraid with the amount of rain and wind we get and my OCD (I joke-sorta), it would make me crazy to keep those mirrors clean and sparkly always. Our sprinkler would also leave hard water marks on the mirrors. I have thought again and again about it and I truly think mirrors would make one more chore that I don't need.

The little citrus trees are in 3 gallon pots awaiting their new 7 gallon homes. They will stay in there for 2-3 years. Then next size will be a 15 gallon and that will be it for the rest of their lives. I have been cautioned not to put them into bigger pots too soon as too much energy is put into the root system to fill up a too-large pot instead of growing. Prudent trimming will keep the trees a manageable size and keep the fruit easy to reach.

Later, if it appears to be root bound, the roots would be trimmed as you would a bonsai. I am not familiar with all this yet but it makes sense to me. I, too have seen trees full of fruit in small pots. I hope I can learn to be a successful potted lemon tree grower.

I can protect the trees on the front porch. I read the longer they stay in the cold weather, the more cold hardy they become. I have no intention of bringing them indoors but I will if for some unforseen reason we have a long, unusual cold snap. But as you say, a simple cover protection from frost is simple to do.
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Arif Masud
Alpha Centauri (Zone 9a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Container Gardener Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Enjoys or suffers hot summers Multi-Region Gardener
KAMasud
Jan 2, 2013 3:53 AM CST
Thumb of 2013-01-02/KAMasud/2e56c9 Thumb of 2013-01-02/KAMasud/af1e98
The above is a four year old Kumquat in the ground. It does not grow all that large, maybe ten or twelve feet. The one below is a grafted Orange, this one also does not grow all that large. So maybe they might do well in a container. I had them in containers but the poor things looked so miserable Shrug! . They get in summer about six hours of sun and in winters maybe three hours.
Thumb of 2013-01-02/KAMasud/671fbb
Now to the pruning part. As you can see they are in the ground and I can't cart them around so they have to put up with the frost. Now what the frost does is all the growth after July(soft) rots due to it. That is all the damage done. That is also natural pruning. All the pruning I have to do is to cut out the damaged part and some to shape the bush so don't prune early. Let the frost do its damage first.
As to root pruning, they should be going dormant any time soon (that is they will go to sleep). Now slip them out of the pot (when they are fast asleep), brush off as much of the dirt then wash the root ball. That's it, you have the entire clean root structure in front of you. Now this is what I do maybe some one else does it different, different cooks. Cut away all the thick roots, any thing larger then your pinky. You can see better, now cut out the fine/very thin roots which will reduce a lot of confusion and you will be left with healthy medium sized roots. What ever is left trim to shape/fit inside the new pot. Pot it with fresh soil and let the plant rest under some shady tree. Sun is not important at this stage direct frost protection is. After a month or so(spring, sap rising) some activity should start now gradually(snails pace with a lot of rest in between) shift it into more and more light until it can take the full sun.
Now it(surgery) should be done with a firm but loving hand(like with a spoilt brat) the plant should not feel you anxiety. What ever others may say but I am 100% certain that plants can feel.
Above I have written direct frost protection. You can do that even now, put them under some kind of a shade, they will soon be going dormant and will not require the sun nor heat. If you feel sad about it put some felt kind of felt blanket or grass around the pot. Go easy with the water.
Regards,
Arif.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
ShadyGreenThumb
Feb 3, 2013 5:53 PM CST
My new little tree is looking a bit wilty? The new little lemons from the blooms are dropping off. There are a lot of new flowers on it. Do you think it is just new, adjusting to it's new pot, and it is winter?? It was transplanted about 2 weeks ago.
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
pod
Feb 3, 2013 8:00 PM CST
If I would guess, just a setback from being transplanted and the new location.

You might remove the fruits and let it get its' land legs again. I would bet it will be fine.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
ShadyGreenThumb
Feb 3, 2013 8:55 PM CST
There are so many flowers and bitty fruits to remove! 100's! Confused
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
pod
Feb 3, 2013 10:06 PM CST
Wow! Really? Perhaps the fruit shedding is normal.
Can you question the man that you got it from?
Name: Arif Masud
Alpha Centauri (Zone 9a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Container Gardener Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Enjoys or suffers hot summers Multi-Region Gardener
KAMasud
Feb 3, 2013 11:22 PM CST
Cheryl your tree is flowering which means it is happy with whatever you have done Thumbs up . As to the fruit, well maybe the roots have not gained a proper foothold to provide enough nutrients to the fruits. At this stage I would consider it best to lessen the load by removing the fruits. Instead you will have enough perfume from the flowers to make up for the loss plus fruit next season. Don't feed the plant yet or the tender roots may get damaged, let it establish itself first. Take it easy with the watering at this stage. Give it Lovey dubby looks and maybe like Lynn says, sing it a lullaby but ignore it in general.
Regards,
Arif.
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
pod
Feb 16, 2013 10:03 PM CST
I ran across this article on post blossom fruit drop and thought of this thread. If you are interested, http://www.mycitrustree.com/postblossom-fruit-drop.html

How is the tree doing?
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
ShadyGreenThumb
Feb 17, 2013 6:26 PM CST
Thanks you for posting that, Kristi. The Meyer Lemon and Owari Satsuma tree is doing fine. I think it was in shock from transplanting. We have had some sunny warm days to help it along even though the nights have been really cool. I keep forgetting it's only February!
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.

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