jeffc5386
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Location: Foster, Rhode Island

Help with meyers lemon tree please

Hello, I have a 2 year old lemon tree. The Trunk seems very thin and weak, but the branches keep growing outward. Should I be concerned that the trunk isn't getting thicker? please help. Thank You Jeff

NesOne
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Re: Help with meyers lemon tree please

Have you pruned it at all? I'm not familiar with lemon trees, but I know that pruning will allow for more nutrients/growth to focus on the roots, which I believe would help the trunk get thicker.

imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Help with meyers lemon tree please

Most lemon trees that are fruiting do not like to be pruned. If your two year old is a seedling, pruning it will make it bushier.
Some of the ranginess of the tree may be related to variety. Meyer lemons have relatively small trunks with long arching branches. It is just the way they grow when they are young. True dwarf trees are also on the short side, but the trunk thickens over time. In the ground, though a 'dwarf' citrus can still get over 30 ft tall in 20 years.

If you started your tree from a cutting, air layer, or graft it will fruit sooner, otherwise it may take 5-7 years to fruit from seed and some trees may never fruit.

The other reason for a small trunk and relatively longer branches would be if the tree is not in full sun. The branches will get longer then. In full sun, the branching will be shorter.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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ElizabethB
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Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:53 am
Location: Lafayette, LA

Re: Help with meyers lemon tree please

Hi Jeff, welcome to the forum. I checked your profile and did not see any information on your local. Please update and include your county and state. That information lets the forum members provide you with better advice and information.

From your description I am guessing that you planted from seed probably from a store bought or gathered Meyers Lemon. A fun experiment that can result in an attractive ornamental plant. Meyers Lemons are hybridized so do not set high hopes for edible fruit.

Is your seedling in a pot? If so how large, what kind of soil, drainage and where is it located?

Your growing region (county and state - not just USDA zone) is very important when growing citrus and fruit trees. Fruit tree varieties are VERY region specific. Citrus is grown in the south/deep south unless green housed over winter.

Fruits and citrus do best if you plant grafted trees. Young trees are usually available in 3/5 gallon containers and are 3/5 years old.

Example: I live and grow in Lafayette, La. - deep south. 4 years ago I planted a 3 gallon Satsuma in February. Proper planting time for my region. The hole was no deeper than the root ball but 5 times wider. G was NOT happy about digging that hole. The existing soil was not amended nor was any fertilizer added. The tree flowered but I removed all of the flowers and did not let it develop fruit nor did I do any pruning. The first year the focus is on root development. The only thing I did that first year was make sure it had adequate water.

The following winter we had not one but TWO hard freezes. The temperatures remained below freezing for more than just a few hours. I paid attention to the thermometer and when the temperature dropped below 32 degrees I used a hose end sprayer to cover the entire plant with water which immediately froze creating a shield of ice. Even though the temperatures dropped into the low 20's the core temperature of the tree did not get below 32 degrees. Commercial growers in Florida do this to protect their groves when they have a freak freeze.

Second year: I fertilized with 8-8-8 in mid February and again in May. In the fall I harvested a couple of dozen nice Satsuma.

Third year: Fertilized with 8-8-8. Had an arborist out to inspect an enormous, very old, southern live oak. He recommended applying Ammonium Nitrate to the yard because the tree was sucking huge amounts of nitrogen out of the soil. My mistake - I applied the Ammonium Nitrate too close to the Satsuma. I had lots of beautiful foliage growth but only produced 4 fruit.

I should have known better. -wall-

This year: 8-8-8 in February. No pruning other than a sucker from the root stock. The tree has lots of blooms. :-() Hopefully a nice crop of fruit in the fall.

:eek: Sorry! Ramble, ramble.

My point was that even in the deep south Citrus trees need protection form crazy weather.

Jeff - provide more information and decide if you want an ornamental Citrus or a producing Citrus. If you want fruit and you live in a region that is suitable for Citrus growth and production or you will be green housing your tree over winter then really consider purchasing a grafted tree.

Good luck
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Help with meyers lemon tree please

Actually, if you can get a slip from someone who has a tree with good fruit, Meyer lemons are not that hard to root, providing you take the cutting at the right time. It is also pretty immune to trestiza so it does not need to be grafted onto resistant root stock.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

jeffc5386
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Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2015 1:50 pm
Location: Foster, Rhode Island

Re: Help with meyers lemon tree please

Thank you all for all your advice. It is planted in a 5 gallon bucket with holes drilled into the bottom for proper drainage. It was grafted I bought it from eburgess.com. It did flower last year but te flowers didn't last long. I slowly placed the plant outside in the summer months, did it a couple hours at a time over two weeks. In the colder months it is indoors at my work in a 60-70 degree room in a window facing the south. My hardiness zone is 5-6. We have had a unusually cold winter but it's been indoors, waiting for the warm weather to place it outside. I might buy a eureka lemon tree which I have heard a lot more people have had luck with. A lot of people I have talked to have had bad luck with a Meyers lemon tree. Hopefully I have better luck with my new fig tree with i grafted off my uncles fig tree. But once again thank you for all you help with my question

imafan26
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Help with meyers lemon tree please

I actually like Meyer Lemons for cooking especially lemon meringue pies more than the store lemons. I have to use the store or Lisbon lemons for the zest though since my lemons have to be very ripe to be yellow and the rind is thin and turns my pie green.

In fact I have a bunch of over ripe Meyer lemons still hanging on the tree and my citrus trees are flowering again.

Most Meyer Lemons sold these days are the improved Meyer. it doesn't taste as good as the old Meyer, more bland, but it is virus free. It would not matter where I am, nearly every citrus tree has trestiza. The Meyer lemon is a carrier but actually is immune to the disease which is why I can make cuttings from my tree to make new ones. I don't need resistant root stock. The trestiza virus in Hawaii is apparently a unique strain and quite virulent. Even grafted trees will only last about 20-25 years before the bark starts peeling off and the tree dies.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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