Ask a Question forum: Potted Ponderosa Lemon Tree

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(Zone 8a)
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AllTheWayLive
Jun 7, 2016 2:06 PM CST
Ive tried everything!! My ponderosa can't stand direct sunlight. It is very thoroughly watered. But the leaves droop and curl.
As soin as I transplanted, it sprung new leaves. But they droop in the Alabama sun, even in shade, they droop.
I just mulched the top for added moisture retention.
Planted in Miracle Gro potting soil mixed with perlite and sand.
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MzBlack
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Jun 7, 2016 2:37 PM CST
Welcome! to NGA

How big of a pot do you have it planted in? How big is the tree? My suspicion is that the pot is too small and/or the pot is not well insulated. To grow a tree in a hot climate, enough root room and pot thickness are needed to keep the roots cool. Hot roots=unhappy tree.

I suggest a minimum 20 gallon terra cotta or concrete pot to keep your tree happy.

Daisy
(Zone 8a)
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AllTheWayLive
Jun 7, 2016 5:11 PM CST
@Daisyl, thanks. I just went from the original 2 gallon pot I bought it in to one twice as big. And black, for Pete's sake....that's not helping!!
Do you think sitting that pot in a clay pot would help for now? Don't want to traumatize the poor thing with another transplant so soon. But we are already in the mid 90s everyday and very humid.
How long should I let it sit in the pot before transplanting?? Plant in pot is about 3 ft tall. A baby!!! Thank You! Crossing Fingers!
Thanks in advance for your help!!

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MzBlack
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Jun 7, 2016 7:16 PM CST
Hopefully, dropping it into a more insulated pot will work for now. But if it doesn't start acting happier, that bigger pot will be in your nearer future rather than your farther future. The soil volume is also an insulator. Next hot day, put your finger down into the soil and see how warm it is.

Daisy

Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 7, 2016 8:52 PM CST
Couple of observations - The plant has really large leaves for a lemon tree. I'm thinking it's lived its whole life in a greenhouse up until you got it. Controlled temperature and humidity, lots of water and fertilizer. As it grows, it may put up smaller leaves that are a little lighter in color, and those leaves will tolerate more sun and heat. I'll admit I haven't seen a Ponderosa lemon for a long time so they may have bigger leaves, naturally.

Are you watering it thoroughly in the mornings? You need to water until the water flows out the bottom, and probably every day is not too much in hot weather. Did you break up the old root ball a bit when you re-potted? If the root ball dried out at any time, it's sometimes hard to re-hydrate the potting soil. The water you pour in will just run right by the old root ball and out the bottom of the pot. Could you stick something like a pencil well down into the soil, where the old root ball would be (not into the new soil you added when you re-potted). If the wood near the pencil point isn't moist when it comes out, your root ball is too dry, and you need to set the whole thing into a bucket of water to soak.

You could maybe get something thick and light colored to wrap that pot in? Or maybe spray paint the pot it's in now a lighter color? You can get good paints that stick to plastic.That pot looks plenty big for your plant. But citrus generally send out feeder roots pretty close to the soil surface so one way to keep it's roots cooler is to use a lighter color mulch.

Did you try acclimating it slowly to the sun? I'd put it somewhere it will just get the early morning sun for an hour or two. Leave it there for a couple of weeks, then move it a little bit further out from under the shade. Also it's cooler under the shade of a bigger tree, so if you have a large tree you can park it near, to do your acclimating, that's a good spot. Big trees transpire a lot of moisture, cooling their surrounding air just like a swamp cooler does.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
(Zone 8a)
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AllTheWayLive
Jun 8, 2016 7:23 AM CST
Thanks guys!! I appreciate any and all advice!!
Im just acquiring my green thumb and I love it!!!!
Hurray! Thank You! Hurray!
MzBlack
(Zone 8a)
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AllTheWayLive
Jun 8, 2016 5:07 PM CST
@DyzzyPyxxy @Daisyl should I prune the large leaves?? Dunno why I asked.......
Maybe start fresh from the original set of leaves?
I'm all ears! Shrug!
MzBlack
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 8, 2016 6:29 PM CST
No, there's nothing wrong with them, they just probably grew extra large from greenhouse coddling.

Did you try the pencil test to see if the original root ball is moist? The plant is wilting in the heat of the day because it can't take up enough water to keep the leaves up.

What have you been giving it for fertilizer?
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
(Zone 8a)
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AllTheWayLive
Jun 8, 2016 7:19 PM CST
@dyzzypyxxy yes. Foliar. Spray and Grow with Bills perfect fertilizer added. Only twice. My other plants love it. The Ponderosa... Ehhh, not so much.
I decided today to wait a week and switch back to Miracle Grow liquid.
As far as tge root ball. We just got three straight days of rain in Alabama. Im off Mobile Bay. So im pretty sure its good and wet. I don't flood it everyday though. The rain was as much as it has had in a few days.
I do water it everyday. And I water from the rooy ball, out.
Whatcha think?
MzBlack
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 8, 2016 9:11 PM CST
That all sounds good. Yes, just foliar feeding isn't going to be enough for a small tree through the warm months. Miracle Gro every second week would be good. As it gets bigger you're going to want to wean it to some slow-release citrus specific fertilizer.

All I can think of for the wilting is to keep it in the shade until you start to see some new growth, then gradually - very slowly! move it out towards more sunlight. Citrus trees really do need full sun to flower and make fruit. But that plant needs more roots before it can support its lush foliage in the sun.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
(Zone 8a)
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AllTheWayLive
Jul 16, 2016 12:01 PM CST
@dyzzypyxxy blossoms or baby lemons?
Should I pick them so the little tree can concentrate on growing?
The tree is doing MUCH better. Ive found a spot under a tree that shades the newer leaves and gives the older ones lots of sun!! Hurray!
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MzBlack
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Jul 16, 2016 12:33 PM CST
Well, you can sure enjoy the lovely scented flowers, but as soon as they're spent and it starts to form the little button that becomes the fruit, nip it off with your fingernails.

Yes, this is so the little tree can send more energy into making leaves and roots, so next year you can let it give you some fruit.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

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