Sunday, January 30, 2011

Treating Yellowing Citrus Leaves

Yellowing Citrus Leaves
Quite a few leaves on my Meyer lemon tree (mostly on the side facing away from the window) have turned yellow and dropped. While some leaf drop is normal during the winter months, it's been a bit excessive this year, especially during the past few weeks. Leaf drop can result from insufficient sunlight or a lack of nitrogen. Yellow leaves with green veins (which doesn't seem to be the case here) can indicate an iron deficiency.

To rectify this, I moved my tree to a window that gets about 5 hours of direct sunlight a day, which is the best I can do. I also treated it with my slow release citrus fertilize. I have to remember that as my tree gets larger, I will have to feed it more often. At this point, I think I've gotten the problem under control. The yellowing has stopped and the tree is showings signs of new growth. How are your citrus trees doing this winter?

21 comments:

  1. Mine is crumbled up in bits on the kids' floor LOL... between neglect and the dog bothering it..... :) I haven't done much for it since I brought in inside...

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  2. My trees are doing okay. They have new growth of leaves even, but none have flowered so no fruits for me this year.

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  3. Mine is blossoming, and I put her outside most days. I keep hoping a bee will come along and pollinate the blossoms, and I gave them each a good tickle with a q-tip, so keeping my fingers crossed I might get a lemon or two. She'll be heading north in two weeks, so I might have to give her some additional artificial light for a while, until our weather warms enough to put her out on the porch. I have no south or west facing windows that aren't shaded by the porch.

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  4. Hi Thomas,
    Just wanted to let you know that you were one of my choices of blogs to receive the Stylish Blogger Award. If you care to, you may pick up the badge for your sidebar from my blog.
    I admire your wonderful garden and the lovely photographs and commentary.

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  5. I brought my lime tree into my classroom because we get good afternoon light. I also dumped a bunch of slow-release citrus fertilizer on the pot and have been watering regularly (I read that one thing about citrus is that you need to be methodical about watering, so I'm trying to achieve that.).

    Results? Meh.

    It's not dead, and there is some new growth now that we're moving away from the solstice and getting more light. But only one flower and no fruit this year. It's still way too cold outside to go out there, and I think not light enough in my room.

    So it's alive, but as usual it thrives in summer and hunkers down for winter.

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  6. weaverpat - Thanks so much for the honor!!!! You're a sweetheart.

    Fiona - Methodical is probably a good thing but resist the urge to overwater! Citrus trees actually like to have there roots dry out a bit in between waterings. During the winter, I give my trees a good soaking once a week - at the most once every five days. Of course when they are outside, I water every 2 to 3 days.

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  7. Sorry about the leaves but is that Meyer lemon nubbies (baby fruit) I see?

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  8. I'm trying to get mine to survive this cold spell we're having. Good luck! I think you did the right thing.....they love sun.

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  9. A friend keeps on repeating the same thing every time he sees a yellowing leaves... "oh, it needs N component in the fertiliser"...

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  10. Holly - yes they are baby meyer lemons! about 60-70% of them will drop but the rest will go on to mature. last year, I had a total of 22 lemons from my little tree. The year before that, 9.

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  11. I wish I had a window in the house that got five yours of sun in the winter but I don't. That is the primary reason I have not dived into growing some small citrus trees. I just cannot overwinter them properly given my house location. I will just have to enjoy yours from afar.

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  12. My citrus (and my hibiscus) and struggling with spider mites!!!
    I think I have it under control but the plants have suffered.

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  13. Thomas, I told you of my difficulties with the meyer lemon in another comment some weeks ago (wet soil, not enough light, cold room, FUNGUS growing on the wet soil, leaves falling). That was only a month after getting the tree. But after replanting it in fresh soil, adding fertilizer and moving to a more sunny location (protected from the kitty), I have NEW GROWTH!! And BLOSSOM BUDS!! YAY!!

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  14. Sorry, I forgot to sign my name after the above anonymous comment: Anna in MD.

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  15. Anna - Good to hear! Thanks for sharing.

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  16. Thomas, my Bearss Lime just dropped it's last leaf and gave me a look of "Well thanks for nothin'." It seems I missed the signs of white fly and aphids, (yet again) and then paid the price. It should rebound.

    My citrus are miserable inside the house, but thankfully will rebound when placed outside after the last frost date. It's my yearly citrus cycle, leafy coming in the house, denuded going out.

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  17. Thomas, thanks for the response. I am always worried about overwatering because most of my houseplants are succulents.

    In this case, I water about 2x a week, occasionally 3x - when it was very cold and the building heat was on all the time. I checked yesterday and the new leaves seem to be doing well.

    No problems with yellow leaves this year, thanks to a citrus fertilizer with chelated iron. At least, that's what I think made the difference.

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  18. I used to have some pretty big lemon trees (in huge pots) on my patio, when I lived in San Diego. I found that it citrus trees can have a copper deficiency when in pots, especially since nutrients can be washed out of the pot with watering (had to water every day there). I regularly sprinkeled copper sulfate on the soil around each tree, and watered it in, and it made a huge difference. Took care of the leaf yellowing right away. Of course, having your plant indoors comes with a whole other set of problems. For example, you probably never have to deal with common citrus pests.

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  19. Anonymous, thanks for the tip! I will have to look into that.

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  20. Your Meyer lemon has inspired me to try a hand at it. I have been blogging about the progress at:
    rochnycitrus.blogspot.com

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  21. Our tiny house came with a neglected garden that included some older fruit trees we have a lovely dwarf (probably Meyer lemon) that is *covered* in fruit. We're so fortunate!

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