lemon tree

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by suelandress, Nov 28, 2004.

  1. suelandress

    suelandress Windy Island Acres Supporter

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    can I prune my lemon tree? How do I know which part to prune and which part will produce lemons? At what age will it produce lemons? I think it's a Meyers.
     
  2. BeckyW

    BeckyW Well-Known Member

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    Citrus trees respond best to hair cuts - by that I mean imagine giving your tree a flat-top hair cut. Do not prune more than 1/4 to 1/3 of the tree. We never pruned the sides either. Generally the pruning was done after the winter crop was harvested in coastal southern California. Frankly, we just watched when the commercial orchards were pruned and then went out and cut ours down. (It's kind of fun to see the commercial mechanical trimmers -- imagine shaving the tops off of an entire orchard, perfectly level.)

    I didn't see where you were from, however citrus wood makes a very hot fire for fireplaces so enjoy burning the wood too. It has a nice clean smell when it burns. Our Meyer lemon tree produced almost year-round, 3 identifiable pickings per year. We planted dwarf trees from the best nursery in the area - frankly I don't remember them taking long to fruit. It's not like apple trees or something - they bear pretty young.

    Lemons are the most tolerant of cool weather (which is why they do so well along the foggy coasts). The lowest temperature a lemon will stand for only a few hours is down around 25 degrees. We lived where it frosted maybe once every 20 years and did about a billion dollars of crop damage when it did! (Well, maybe not a billion but a couple hundred million!). Lemon trees don't like high summer temperatures - hottest it ever got was in the 90s when the Santa Ana winds blew, otherwise rarely over 85 degrees.

    Citrus trees don't like other plants growing over their roots. We always mulched ours with bark bits, about 6 inches deep. They also LOVE sandy soil and hate clay soil. And they want full sun, as long as you aren't inland with intense heat. If so, you might think about putting a shade cloth over their area in the worst part of summer.

    You didn't say, is it blooming and not producing? Or is it never blooming? Are you growing in a pot or is it ground planted? Conditions?

    You can get great information on growing all kinds of citrus trees in Sunset Magazine. They have a website and a great archive search.

    Good luck with your lemon! Today in Colorado we have 8 inches of snow on the ground. We love it here but I have to admit that every winter I miss the fragrance of the lemon trees in bloom......
    BW
     

  3. suelandress

    suelandress Windy Island Acres Supporter

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    We're in Connecticut. The tree is in a 15" square pot. It's now 2 years old and has never flowered, although it may have been set back a bit when we left it out too long last fall and it got frostbitten. It recuperated nicely, though, and is now over 6 feet tall. I was hoping it would flower this year, but maybe it's not getting enough light. We don't have a southern exposure window, so it's getting eastern light plus 4 plant lights shining on it for 14 hours (daylight doesn't last long this time of year) I mist it at least once a day to give it that "florida afternoon shower" I just don't want to be cutting off any part that might (crossing fingers) bloom.
     
  4. WV Rebel

    WV Rebel Well-Known Member

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  5. suelandress

    suelandress Windy Island Acres Supporter

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    Becky....decided to burn a branch that pruned itself....that smell is suspiciously familiar!!
    :eek:


    WV Rebel....thanks for the link. I wonder whaat "bearing" season is on a potted plant.
     
  6. WV Rebel

    WV Rebel Well-Known Member

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  7. suelandress

    suelandress Windy Island Acres Supporter

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    The link spoke of trees grown outdoors in their native environment. Mine is in a pot and gets dragged in for the winter, where it is probably warmer than its winter outdoors would be.
     
  8. Marcia in MT

    Marcia in MT Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Our Myer lemon tree is in a pot and we've had it at least 15 years. It's grafted, so it grows out a whole lot more than it grows up -- it would be 12' across or more if I didn't prune it!

    If I remember, we had it at least 3 years (and maybe more) before it started blooming. It's self-fertile, so I don't have to pollinate it to get fruit. Which are a bonus, as I got it for the fragrance of the flowers and never counted on the fruit! The lemons take 10 or 12 months to fully ripen, although they are edible as soon as they're big enough to eat.

    All our citrus (lemon, navel orange, lime, grapefruit, avocado) spend the summer outside (winter in a greenhouse) and that's when I prune them. Since it's so hard to cut off a branch that has fruit on it, I try and do a little thinning during the rest of the year, so they're spaced out and closer to the center of the tree. When it goes outside, I use regular pruning practices: cut off anything dead, crossing, or growing into the center of the plant. Then I thin the branches and cut so that the next bud is facing the direction I want the branch to grow in.

    Everything spends the summer growing and I have only very minor leaf drop when they're brought back inside in the fall. The lime is incredibly productive! The grapefruit was grown from a seed but I keep it dwarf by pruning and restricting its root room. The avocado belongs to my kids, but I whack it hard at the beginning of summer and it bushes out nicely. No fruit, though; I think we may need two and I'm NOT getting another!

    Hope this helps.