Gillybby
Full Member
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:40 am
Location: Canberra, Australia

Lemon Tree

So I've moved into a new house and out the back is a lemon tree that the previous owners didn't pay much attention to (as you might have read about elsewhere on the boards). I'm new to fruit trees, the most I've ever poked at one was the old mulberry tree back at my mothers house. I've had a gander about the internet, and from what I can gather the fruit has Melanose (possibly greasy spot? I can't tell the difference!) and might have sooty mould. I say might because I can't quite get in there to check whether it's mould or just a lot of dust.
Pictures of some fruit (the leaves seem fine): [url=https://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e23/Pyrokin/IMG_2204.jpg][X][/url] [url=https://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e23/Pyrokin/IMG_2203.jpg][X][/url] [url=https://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e23/Pyrokin/IMG_2202.jpg][X][/url] <- That one is the one that makes me suspect the mould.

Now, my biggest problem with the tree and probably the hurdle that blocks me from the rest is that it seems to be infested with spiders. There's a huge mass of cobwebs down the back of the tree ([url=https://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e23/Pyrokin/IMG_2205.jpg][X][/url] It doesn't seem like much in this picture, but there's a lot!) and when I try to peer into the tree from the front, it's almost as if there's a giant nest of web and leaves blocking my view. There's lots of rolled leaves with nests inside, and as tempted as I am to get a broom and just thwack everything, I know that's probably going to cause a mess that has a lot of moving bodies.

Another concern of mine is the root system. I grew up in a house where there was constant talk about which trees roots were doing what damage and trees that were a part of my childhood have recently, well, all been cut down. When we all saw the lemon tree out the back ([url=https://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e23/Pyrokin/IMG_2207.jpg][X][/url]), everyone else's reactions were along the lines of "lemons! We can make pie!"

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ReptileAddiction
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Posts: 866
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2012 4:52 am
Location: Southern California

I really don't know about most of your questions but my 2 cents for the proximity to the house is that is is fine. If it starts to lift up the pation then its time to go but I don't think it will do that. The rolled up leaves with stuff inside are spider mites. Do you mind me asking where you are located? It might help us diagnose some of your issues.

Gillybby
Full Member
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:40 am
Location: Canberra, Australia

I'm located in the Southern Tablelands of NSW, Australia. It's pretty much right in the middle.

And I don't think it's spider-mites so much. I've peered into these leave, they're just regular, black beady spiders. Yick.

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applestar
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Posts: 27963
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

I don't live in area where I can grow lemon tree outdoors -- way too cold in the winter -- but I have some ideas.

First. I'm a proponent of leaving spiders alone to protect the garden, but if there are that many spiders as to interfere with caring for the tree, some or most of them can go -- elsewhere :wink: It would be prudent to capture one (close up picture on the camera if not physically) and positively ID what kind it is. Just in case -- I imagine that some spiders are toxic where you live.

On a day that the area would need a lot of watering anyway, I would use the garden hose with a pretty strong nozzie setting to wash off the tree and blast away the spider webs. Even just using water, some of the spiders will be incapacitated or drowned but enough will remain to either climb back up the tree or move away to other locations.

Once that dries, you will probably still need to use a broom, etc. to remove the webs.

Depending on the seasonal gardening weathers there, the proximity to the house wall may have been intentional to give it a protected spot. It may have simply grown more wildly due to lack of care.

Since I can only grow lemons and other citrus in containers to be moved inside during the winter, I've done a lot of reading about pruning them, and lemons are very versatile and forgiving as pruning subjects. After you have harvested what you want from the current crop, you could probably start pruning the tree to fit the space better. If it's that close to the house, you might shape the tree into more of an espalier style.

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