Lime tree not fruiting

Reasons And Fixes For Lime Tree Not Producing Blossoms Or Fruit

When a beautiful lime tree is not producing blossoms and fruit and but still looks healthy, a lime tree owner can feel at a loss as to what to do. It is obvious that the tree is not unhappy and that you have taken, but at the same time it is not happy enough to produce blossoms. There are several issues that could be causing this. Let us take look at this lime tree information.

Reasons and Fixes for a Lime Tree Not Producing Blossoms or Fruit

Here are the most common reasons for no lime tree blossoms or fruit:

Need for fertilizing lime trees

Proper care of lime trees requires that the lime tree get an even mix of nutrients. A lack of certain kinds of nutrients can result in a lime tree not producing blossoms and fruit. Fertilizing lime trees means that they need to get a good amount of nitrogen as well as phosphorus and an occasional boost to the acidity level of the soil. When fertilizing lime trees, phosphorus is particularly important to the plant producing blossoms.

Not enough heat

One piece of little-known lime tree information is that the trees need more heat in order to be encouraged to bloom than their other citrus cousins. If your lime tree is not producing blossoms this year but did last year, check the average temperature and the growth of surrounding shade objects, like trees and new construction. If it was cooler this year than last or if new shade objects are blocking the sun, this may be why the lime tree is not producing blossoms. Making sure the lime tree gets as much sun as possible, perhaps with light reflectors, will help to fix the problem.

Pruning of the lime trees

Many times, in the care of lime trees, people feel they must prune the tree to keep it looking nice. If this is not performed exactly right, you could be inadvertently cutting off the blossoms. Lime trees produce buds on the tips of their branches and pruning those off may cause a tree not to produce blossoms the following year.

Improper drainage or watering

If you take care of lime trees, you need to know that they need proper drainage and consistent moisture to thrive. If the tree is too wet, it will first drop its blossoms and then drop its leaves. If the lime tree is watered unevenly, it will not produce blossoms and it will eventually drop its leaves.

It just happens

Sometimes a lime tree will just inexplicably stop producing blossoms for a year. It may be some small environmental stress that works itself out or simply the tree reserving energy for next year. Treat the issues where you can and then wait a year to see if your lime tree bounces back.

Orange tree flowers, but bears no fruit | The Sacramento Bee

Deep watering twice a week in summer weather, more often during hot spells, is important. Once the tree is established, water every other week. If you have a basin around the tree, start 6 inches or more from the trunk to keep the trunk dry.

Mulching over soil is beneficial. Use a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch, keeping it 4 to 6 inches from the trunk.

Dig down to make sure the soil is moist 12 to 18 inches deep after watering.

Temperature changes have a negative effect on citrus; cold followed by a warm spell can kill the flower buds or prevent the buds from opening.

If the tree produced flowers but no fruit, it is possible the flowers are not getting pollinated. Gently shake the branches when in flower to loosen the pollen and allow to fall on the pistil (the central female part of the flower). Do this over a period of several days.

Veronica Simpson is a UC Cooperative Extension master gardener for Sacramento County.

Garden questions?

Questions are answered by master gardeners at the UC Cooperative Extension services in Sacramento and Placer counties. Send questions to Garden Detective, P.O. Box 15779, Sacramento, CA 95852. Send email to h&[email protected] Put “Garden Detective” in the subject field and include your postal address. To contact UC Extension directly, call:

Lemon Tree Not Blooming or Producing Fruit

I have a lemon tree, started by seed from a lemon slice, which is about 10 years old. It has beautiful foliage and grows to about 8 to 10 feet tall each year. We live in an area with freezing winters, so I have to cut it back in order to get it into the house. Advertisement
My problem is that it never blooms or has any lemons on it. What is the problem? Are two trees needed to pollinate each other? Will it never have lemons on it? I’d appreciate any feedback or help.
Thank you in advance.
Karen from Missouri

Answers:

Lemon Tree Not Blooming Or Producing Lemons

Some citrus does need to cross pollinate. (05/12/2005)

By Linda

In order for pollination to occur, you need to have flowers first. Just having a second lemon tree nearby will not make your original tree bloom. 🙂

Unfortunately, I have no idea why your tree doesn’t bloom. Some types of fruits only produce flowers/fruit on old wood that’s been around for at least a year. Maybe (big emphasis on “maybe”!) by cutting the tree back, you’re cutting off the old wood that would produce fruit. Wild guess on my part. Other possibilities are too-short days (don’t know where you live but this might be an issue if you’re pretty far north), missing nutrients, and being root bound.
Maybe a Google search would turn up some info for you. Good luck! (05/12/2005)

By Lynne

I’m having a similar problem although my tree is only going on it’s second season. It hasn’t grown much so I moved it to a sunnier spot. I also just fed it citrus/tropical fertilizer. It hasn’t been long enough yet to see results. I’m hoping it just needed some fertilizer. Also I found out that they need to be fed March through Sept. but check your species just in case. Good luck! Jennifer, (05/13/2005)

I found information on the Internet which stated that lemon trees planted from seeds take 15 years to bear fruit. I still have 7 or 8 years to go with mine. Be patient. (06/28/2005)

By Rosemary

It is worth knowing that the tree has not been grown on wild stock. If it has it may never flower. You may be able to graft onto it to produce healthy fruit. I have a one year old lemon that has fruit already. I also have a 3 year old lime that hasn’t flowered. I think I will try spraying it with seaweed emulsion which is supposed to protect from frosts, and promote healthy flowering. I also have a citrus that grew from a seed and is a really healthy plant but hasn’t flowered. I think I will try grafting onto it this year from Mum’s orange tree which has great fruit in a similar climate. Good luck (07/08/2005)

From my experience, fruit trees grown from seed are never very successful – you would be much better off buying a grafted tree from a plant nursery. They graft the better quality fruit onto a strong rooted variety. Fruit trees need to be fertilized 4 times per year with a citrus and fruit tree fertilizer and if it fails to bloom give it a feed of Sulphate of Ammonia. You don’t need two trees – just some bees to pollinate them. Hope this helps! (08/12/2005)

By Lyn

My lemon tree is blooming for the first time this year at 23 years old. Miracle Gro is the only fertilizer I have used. It winters in the house in an unheated room. (05/02/2007)

By Carol

My research into the subject has found that a lemon tree planted from seeds will not bloom or fruit for about 10 to 15 years, usually, and probably will not be the same as the original tree the seed came from. In other words, if you planted a seed from a Myers lemon the tree probably will not produce Myers lemons when it does bud and fruit. If you want fruit before then, you must graft a bud from another tree onto it. Simply do a search on google “grafting lemon trees” and about 100,000 sites with info will come up. Good luck. (05/11/2007)

By andy

13-13-13 is the food of choice for citrus trees. No you do not need 2 trees to make baby lemons. You must have a grafted tree to produce. My lemon trees are 2 years old producing approx. 40-50 lbs of citrus. It gets better every year. You must control the white flies and other bugs as well. The dark dirt looking stuff on the leaves are not helping the growth. (11/07/2007)

By Randy

My 2 trees are about 8 years old, and basically abandoned until just now. I just trimmed back the bush to make it into a tree once again and I realized it’s starting to bud. I’ve heard it just takes a long time to bare fruit, so just wait and see. (02/27/2008)

Why did my lime tree stop growing?

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Fruit & Vegetable Growing

Lately, I have been sent several requests by viewers of my YouTube Channel to “transcribe” some of my more popular videos so they can be read (for various reasons, including those who have difficulty understanding spoken English). This article/transcription is on Five Tips on How to Grow a Ton of Limes – Organically and the accompanying video is at the end.

Note: This transcription is NOT necessarily verbatim, rather, it’s the script I worked off to produce the video and may contain extra information cut from the editing process. In other words, this article/script contains more information on growing lime trees than the final video does.

Introduction

G’day! I’m Mark from Self Sufficient Me and yes I’m back with another “how to grow a ton of video!”

And, I want to give you guys my FIVE TOP TIPS on how to grow a TON of limes.

This Tahitian lime tree produces so many limes year after year that we simply can’t keep up!

It’s about 6 metres tall and that’s about as big as this variety of tree can get – and it’s around 10 years old and apart from the first few years it has produced an abundance of fruit (literally thousands) year after year ever since. What’s more, whilst the main fruiting season is now (winter in the subtropics) it sets fruit all year round so we never go without a lime.

So how does this lime tree do it? Well, let’s just get into it!

Tip # 1 – Position

Where you place your lime tree is extremely important.

Limes trees are a warm climate plant but yes you can grow them all around the world by keeping its growing heritage in mind and ensuring it is positioned in a nice warm spot.

Protect the tree from strong cold winds by growing it in a sheltered position such as behind a wall that gets a lot of sun or surrounded by a hedge.

Plenty of sun is the key!

Also with respect to positioning is SOIL… Try to plant your tree where it won’t get water logged. Our tree here is positioned on the higher ground if I planted it down the lower part of our property it would get lots of sun but too much boggy ground would literally drown it as not enough oxygen would get to the roots.

Lime trees don’t need perfect soil they are very hardy, however, like most fruit trees limes won’t tolerate growing in prolonged wet/boggy ground. Your lime will cope with a few weeks of wet feet due to an untypical rainy spell but if that ground is prone to staying sodden for weeks after then that’s not good and it would be better to move it particularly if you see signs of oxygen depletion like leaf drop or yellowing.

Our soil is not ideal at all. We have a thin layer perhaps only 6 inches in places of unfertile topsoil and then it hits clay. Nevertheless, this lime is flourishing because of the position and post planting care of the soil.

The best soil for a lime tree is crumbly free draining fertile soil with plenty of organic matter that does hold water but doesn’t stick together when squeezed like clay does rather it can make a clump but still falls apart easily even when wet.

In reality, you don’t have to have perfect soil and if your soil is just “ok” not too heavy and not too sandy/light then even if it’s not very fertile your tree should grow well if you look after it post-planting.

If your soil is straight clay then consider mounding up with some good soil and plant the tree on the mound. If your soil is very sandy consider digging in a heap of compost and good organic soil about a yard in diameter and a foot deep to get your tree off to a great start.

What about pots – you say? Go for it! A nice big pot 40 litres or more with a good potting mix in a warm sunny position with regular water and it will thrive!

Tip # 2 Water

I know I’ve already talked about water but it’s still worthy of being a tip on its own.

Appropriate water at the best time is one of the keys to lots of good quality produce.

Nature has inbuilt clever ways to ensure the best chance of survival and lime trees are no exception. If your tree doesn’t get enough water during flowering and initial fruit set it will worry that it may not have the resources to support much fruit, therefore, it may drop or shed fruit as a survival instinct.

So, keeping in mind what I talked about in tip # 1 in regard to waterlogging – the best way to ensure a lot of fruit and prevent fruit drop is to give the tree extra water during flowering and early fruit set especially if the tree isn’t getting much natural rainfall.

The other time water is important is as the fruit is ripening or starting to swell. You don’t want dry fruit you want juicy plump limes so again if the tree is not getting much natural rainfall and the fruit is beginning to ripen then give it some extra water.

Tip # 3 Pests

Keep pest management minimal.

This might seem counter intuitive but I’m extremely lazy when it comes to pest management and I like to keep it to an absolute minimum and will only spray or use an organic remedy as a last resort if I can see the balance of pests to good guys is beginning to overwhelm the tree – which is very rare.

For example, if I see a few aphids, scale, or leaf miner damage I won’t do anything about it but if most new shoots are covered in these pests then I will spray with an organic mix such as a vegetable oil pest solution mixed with water to smother the animals. Sometimes I may even spot spray with pyrethrum if there are many aphids but never indiscriminately and I never use potent pesticides.

Citrus bugs – I will pick them off by hand and squish them under foot I know some people who use a small hand-held vacuum cleaner to suck them off the tree!

Gall wasp – I don’t use a pesticide but instead I prefer to prune to keep numbers down.

This tree had a nasty attack of a tree borer – I used pruning and a piece of wire stuck in the hole to kill the grub.

Bottom line, your garden needs a few pests to feed the good bugs, the predator insects, and birds so I never panic at the first signs of pests on my tree.

Tip # 4 Trace Elements

Ensure your tree has enough vitamins and minerals (trace elements).

I decided to make trace elements one of my 5 top tips because it’s often overlooked by backyard gardeners and (in my opinion) is the most probable cause of a tree not growing too well. When people add fertiliser they often forget about the other important nutrients lime trees need which are trace elements! Trace elements are the micro nutrients plants need to stay healthy and produce well – think of them as vitamins for humans you don’t need much but it’s important the tree gets them otherwise it will become susceptible to disease and not grow as well as it should.

Citrus trees are particularly vulnerable to lacking trace elements because they originated from areas with specific minerals and soil where other areas around the world may not have them naturally occurring. Therefore, if the lime tree can’t get these micro nutrients from its soil it will suffer and in some cases even die.

Often citrus fertilisers have trace elements in them but many organic fertilisers may not so it’s a clever idea to give the tree a separate dose of general trace elements about once a year or if the tree is showing signs of stress such as yellowing or veiny leaves.

Trace elements can be purchased in a powdered or liquid form – you get get a general mix (like a multivitamin) or more specific elements and they can be applied via a spray for foliage and/or mixed in a watering can to be spread around the base of the tree, usually a dose once a year is enough. Also if you already are a user of seaweed tonic or concentrate (made from seaweed) then giving this to your lime tree instead might provide all the trace elements the tree needs as seaweed is high in many trace elements.

My final tip and in my opinion the most important and the biggest reason why our tree produces so well!

Tip # 5 – Mulching (including fertilising)

Mulch like crazy and fertilise appropriately to replenish the energy lost from production.

Nothing is for free and for my tree to produce so well it needs appropriate food and energy. Not a lot but just enough… Energy from the sun is free and most of the water this tree gets is from rain only but I do need to give it food and I do this via mulch and fertiliser – often these two are the same and that’s why I grouped them together.

Mulching is extremely important especially when the fruit tree is first planted and young because if you get your tree off to a good start if often will grow into a strong tree requiring less nurturing later.

Mulching is where you place organic materials around the tree to suppress weeds and grasses and protect surface feeder roots from the elements such as hot sun, cold nights, and retains soil moisture by slowing down water evaporation.

As mulch breaks down it releases nutrients into the soil which is then used by the tree as food and that’s why I have grouped fertiliser and mulch together with mulching as the main heading because it is a type of fertiliser in my opinion.

Also, with respect to fertiliser, a good mulch acts as a slow release mechanism to trap the fertiliser when it’s sprinkled on top and allow the tree to be fed gradually rather than in one big hit this helps to prevent accidental root burn and over feeding resulting in lots of leafy growth and not much fruit. Furthermore, mulch traps the fertiliser and keeps it where it should be (around the tree) rather than getting washed away in the rain.

So, you can see how important mulching and fertiliser are when you work them together. Remember, for a tree to produce lots of fruit it needs food – you can’t get much out of a fruit tree if nothing is going in… Mulching and fertiliser fixes that.

As far as types of mulch goes, you can use your imagination such as dry grass clippings, straw, leaves, a mixture of small debris like twigs, woodchip, even a mixture of mulch with compost can be very helpful. I often use floor and nesting mulch obtained from our poultry (quail and chicken pens) or even guinea pigs as this is a highly nutritious mix of goodness containing manure doubling as fertiliser.

Speaking of fertiliser, the main types I use are organic fertilisers specific to citrus trees and I add this fertiliser only once a year at the beginning of the main growing season (for most areas including us here in SE QLD the best time is spring).

Conclusion

So there you have it – those were my FIVE TOP TIPS on how to grow a ton of limes!

Position, Water, Pests, Trace Elements, and Mulching (including fertiliser)

Do all those things right and you’ll grow a ton of limes just like I can.

Don’t forget to give this video a thumbs up and share it around – subscribe if you haven’t already and visit my website www.selfsufficientme.com

Thanks for watching, bye for now…

Video – 5 Top Tips for Growing a TON of Limes

Mark Valencia

Mark is the Founder of Self Sufficient Me – you can read more on our About Page and subscribe to his YouTube Channel here.

Is Lime Fruit And Lime Blossoms Falling Off Tree Normal?

Lime tree blossoms are lovely and fragrant. A happy lime tree can produce an abundance of flowers, all of which can potentially produce fruit, but lime blossoms falling off tree or lime tree dropping fruit can be alarming. Let’s look at the possible causes.

Reasons for Lime Blossoms Falling Off Tree or Lime Tree Dropping Fruit

There are a few reasons for lime blossoms falling off tree or lime tree dropping fruit. Listed below are some of the most common:

Natural thinning – Lime tree fruit drop or blossom drop can be completely normal. Many times, a tree may produce more blossoms and fruit than it can support. The lime tree will abort some of the blossoms or fruit so that it is left with only the amount that it can support and be a healthy tree.

Uneven watering – While lime tree fruit drop is normal most of the time, there are a few problems that may cause lime tree blossoms or fruit to fall. One of these is uneven watering. If your lime tree has had a prolonged period of dryness followed by a sudden drenching, the tree may be stressed and will drop some or all of its fruit an blossoms.

Keeping the lime blossoms on the tree means that you should make sure that your tree gets an even amount of water. If rainfall has been light, supplement by watering the tree from a hose.

pH imbalance – Lime tree blossoms can also fall from the tree due to the soil being too alkaline or acidic. These conditions prevent the lime tree from properly taking in nutrients. Without the proper nutrients, the tree is unable to survive and grow fruit, so lime tree fruit drop occurs so that the tree can survive.

How to Fix Lime Tree Blossom and Fruit Drop

Chances are, a lime tree dropping fruit or lime blossoms falling off tree is perfectly normal. You should not worry about it unless your lime tree shows other signs of distress, such as leaf drop or discolored leaves or if your lime tree drops all of its fruit or blossoms. Keeping the lime blossoms on the tree as best you can is really just a matter of keeping your lime tree as healthy as possible.

Citrus Success

Sophie Thomson

SOPHIE THOMSON: This is the Riverland in South Australia – around 260 kilometres north-east of Adelaide. It’s irrigation country where water from the Murray is used to grow beautiful fruit.

But it’s the citrus that I’m here for – the fruit trees that so many home gardeners ask us questions about – and to get some answers, I’m lucky enough to meeting with Australia’s ‘Mr Citrus’ – Ian Tolley.

G’day Ian.

IAN TOLLEY: Oh Sophie. How nice to see you.

SOPHIE THOMSON: Great to see you too.

Now Ian, you’re meant to be semi-retired and it looks like you’re as busy as ever!

IAN TOLLEY: I am and whilst birthdays keep rolling along, it doesn’t diminish my passion for all things citricultural.

SOPHIE THOMSON: Ian became absorbed with growing citrus in his early twenties.

IAN TOLLEY: Well I was meant to be an engineer in the family tradition and that just didn’t happen because I quit just before I graduated and the reason was that my father was beginning to develop an orchard and nursery work and I fell in love with that and I’m still in love with citrus.

SOPHIE THOMSON: In 1966, after many years of horticultural study and hands-on experience, Ian won a Churchill Fellowship that took him to orchards in South-east Asia, the USA and Israel where he set about solving citrus growing problems and his work’s been recognised with a medal of the order of Australia.

Now I’m here to find out what the essentials are for citrus success. What are they?

IAN TOLLEY: Well, make up your mind that the variety is what you want, get the right rootstock, make sure that you plant it properly, make sure the nutrition is ok and learn to shape the tree – you’re there for life.

SOPHIE THOMSON: Wonderful. Let’s get started.

IAN TOLLEY: Ok.

SOPHIE THOMSON: Let’s go step by step through those points.

First off, variety and rootstock.

If we start with step one – so how do people know what variety to choose?

IAN TOLLEY: Make your own mind up because generally, no matter where you’re living, you can make a good variety, so long as you get the right rootstock – that’s the important thing – so the selection of the variety’s not as important as having the rootstock because that does so many things for you.

SOPHIE THOMSON: Such as?

IAN TOLLEY: Well, take this for example. Here’s a lovely rootstock and a little graft put in of the variety that someone’s selected. We’re aiming to put a root system underneath your variety which is resistant to plant pests and diseases in the soil. We’re also going to influence the maturity of the fruit, we’re going to improve the quality of the fruit – all of those things are very important – so we need to select the right rootstock for the right area, the right soil, the right climate – all of those factors.

SOPHIE THOMSON: If you go to the Gardening Australia website, you’ll find Ian’s guide to identifying the right rootstock for your garden.

Now, to Ian’s second essential for citrus success – planting.

Now we’re inside in the hothouse, but the principles are the same – whether we’re planting citrus Ian, whether it’s into a container or in the ground, aren’t they?

IAN TOLLEY: Yes, absolutely.

SOPHIE THOMSON: Ok, so where do we start?

IAN TOLLEY: We want to soak the tree to free up the potting media. Stick it straight in the bucket of water. It’ll bubble for a minute. That’s it.

SOPHIE THOMSON: Ok, well while it’s soaking, can I ask you, what are you using in here. Is this just normal potting media?

IAN TOLLEY: It’s potting media. It’s got chicken manure with additives – a couple of cupfuls – and then we want to make sure it stays there, so here’s the magic formula – zeolite. It’s a rare earth, mined in Australia. I usually put in, for instance, a tablespoon in here. That’s already in there actually – mixed up – and that locks the fertiliser with the nutrients, in the potting media so that when the start to grow, they can pick it up at any time…cuts the fertiliser use in about half!

SOPHIE THOMSON: Wonderful. What’s the next step?

IAN TOLLEY: Drain it out. We can actually do a little bit of pulling out….we’ve got our root system coming out…look at that.

SOPHIE THOMSON: So you’ve just bare-rooted a citrus tree?

IAN TOLLEY: Yes I did – and it’s wet, so that’s important to know that this is being protected by a moisture barrier. Now, when we get it in here, we’ve got to keep the height – remember the height – and the height here – so it’s about there….

SOPHIE THOMSON: Right.

IAN TOLLEY: ….so we settle that and we’re going to put mix around it without piling it in. Don’t damage it – lift the roots out and spread it over the whole of the pot.

SOPHIE THOMSON: And then we just backfill with soil, gently?

IAN TOLLEY: Very gently.

SOPHIE THOMSON: And so we wash the potting media off a plant that we’re going to plant into the soil too?

IAN TOLLEY: Absolutely.

SOPHIE THOMSON: Now what’s the right timing to be doing all of this?

IAN TOLLEY: The magic temperature – 14 degrees centigrade. When the temperature starts to go above 14 degrees, you’ve got root development….soil is warming up. Just keep on planting while that’s happening.

SOPHIE THOMSON: But by the end of summer, we need to stop planting because the temperature’s going to be cooling and the soil’s going to get cool again and root growth will stop?

IAN TOLLEY: That’s right and we want establish the tree before that happens.

SOPHIE THOMSON: If we planted into cold soil, the roots will rot, won’t they?

IAN TOLLEY: They will rot and then because you love your plant so much, you will keep watering – just in case it needs it – and that contributes to its death.

SOPHIE THOMSON: Oh.

COSTA GEORGIADIS: Sophie will be back later in the program with Ian’s other two essential tips to keep your citrus alive and healthy.

Sophie Thomson

SOPHIE THOMSON: Fertilising is a huge and complicated subject, but do you have a general rule for feeding your citrus Ian?

IAN TOLLEY: Yes I do and it’s just monthly…

SOPHIE THOMSON: Ok.

IAN TOLLEY: …without fail – summer or winter.

SOPHIE THOMSON: And what sort of thing do you use?

IAN TOLLEY: Always composted chicken manure – organic – but you need to have additives to it and perhaps this bag is typical of the sort of elements that we use that get mixed up. All of the manufacturers now adopt this policy.

SOPHIE THOMSON: So it’s a range of different nutrients ranging from boron to zinc….and anything else?

IAN TOLLEY: Liquid seaweed which helps to boost all the activity in the soil and so make the whole thing a living, active thing for the tree to take advantage of.

Sophie, don’t waste your fertiliser with over-watering. We don’t want to flood underneath and all the fertiliser’s gone. Make sure you’ve got enough water there just to have an odd few drips out of the bottom of your pot.

SOPHIE THOMSON: And how often do we water?

IAN TOLLEY: Ask the plant! You just go to its leaves and if the leaves are shiny and really firm and cool – more than anything, they’re cool to your touch – then you know the plant is happy, so go away. Wait until you can come back and say, ‘Oh. It’s not cool, so it’s not transpiring,’ so you need to water. Do it now.

SOPHIE THOMSON: Ian I’ve got ask. Why the white trunks?

IAN TOLLEY: Sunburn control. Sunburn’s a very serious matter. It can kill trees. Just use ordinary white exterior paint every 5 to 7 years – something like that and you’ve got protection.

SOPHIE THOMSON: Now you wouldn’t have to do that with trees in the ground if they had a canopy that was shading their trunk, would you?

IAN TOLLEY: No you wouldn’t.

SOPHIE THOMSON: And that brings us to the last of Ian’s tips for citrus success – pruning.

SOPHIE THOMSON: Lots of bushy growth.

IAN TOLLEY: Lot’s of bushy growth, but a little bit suckering…tending to go well out and be a bit unruly. Remember – citrus grows fruit on the tip of terminals – that’s what we’re aiming for – a shape like a pear drop….upside-down pear and that’s what we’re aiming for.

SOPHIE THOMSON: Ok and how would you do it? Would you….do you just get in there with secateurs or……

IAN TOLLEY: Secateurs for doing this? From this distance, you can’t see what you’re doing and it’s quite dangerous. Throw them away.

SOPHIE THOMSON: Ok.

IAN TOLLEY: Use something that you can say that, ‘I’m doing shaping, not pruning.’

SOPHIE THOMSON: Ok.

IAN TOLLEY: That’s the key behind that and looking back here, you work out where you want to go and you can go straight in. Here we go.

SOPHIE THOMSON: Wow!

IAN TOLLEY: Bye bye…..See you later. All finished.

SOPHIE THOMSON: So you do that with trees in the ground too?

IAN TOLLEY: Absolutely.

SOPHIE THOMSON: And how big would you try and keep the trees in the ground?

IAN TOLLEY: I don’t want to let them grow more than 2 metres.

SOPHIE THOMSON: And how often should we be shaping an established tree?

IAN TOLLEY: If you’re getting a normal crop year after year, you don’t have to worry, but if you see a very light crop coming your way, that’s red for danger. That’s the year to start shaping your tree – getting the number of terminals down and you start to get the tree back to a normal crop, every year.

SOPHIE THOMSON: Well thank you so much for having us. It’s been an absolute privilege.

IAN TOLLEY: Well it’s a pleasure for me too. I’ve really enjoyed the atmosphere. It’s nice to have that opportunity to just explain a little bit about my passion.

SOPHIE THOMSON: Wonderful.

COSTA GEORGIADIS: Well that’s all we have time for. I hope we’ve inspired you to get out and make the most of these early spring days in your garden.

I’ll leave you with a taste of what’s in store for you, next week. See you then.

Inspired by a recent trip to Vietnam, Jerry suggests some exotic herbs to plant for a taste of paradise.

JERRY COLEBY-WILLIAMS: It has a wonderful flavour. It’s not quite basil and it’s not quite mint – somewhere in between. It’s normally eaten raw, so you’ll find this in spring rolls, food parcels and stir fries.

COSTA GEORGIADIS: Jane will be visiting an espalier expert to get the lowdown on giving it a go in your garden.

ANGUS STEWART: Don’t be fooled by flowers and fruits…..

COSTA GEORGIADIS: And Angus will tell you the pitfalls to avoid when choosing nursery plants for your place.

I’ll see you then.

By Julie Christensen

Lime trees are among the most cold-sensitive of all citrus trees, growing outdoors only in warm, mild climates. But, you don’t have to live south of zone 9 to grow lime trees indoors. If you’ve got a sunny window with southern exposure, you can grow lime trees indoors no matter how much snow piles up outside.

Lime trees, with their glossy leaves and fragrant flowers, are gorgeous in their own right, but if you can bring a lime tree to harvest, so much the better. Lime trees typically need at least 3 to 4 years to bear fruit, depending on the size of your tree at purchase. They also need ideal growing conditions, including plenty of sunlight, adequate moisture and well-draining soil. Trees moved outside for the summer are most likely to bear fruit. Once the limes appear, they’ll take several months to mature on the tree. They do not ripen off the tree, but can be picked when they are sweet enough.

Planting and Caring for Lime Trees

The first step in growing lime trees is in tree selection. Opt for a dwarf variety for indoor growing. Dwarf trees have been grafted onto a dwarf root stock so the trees stay under 10 feet tall. Some grow less than 8 feet tall. Buy lime trees through a reputable nursery – preferably one that offers a guarantee on its trees. Lime trees are susceptible to some root diseases that can be contracted in the nursery. Starting with clean, healthy stock is absolutely critical.

Plant the lime tree in a plastic, ceramic or clay pot that’s slightly larger than the root ball of the tree. Make sure the pot has plenty of drainage holes. If you want to move the tree outdoors in the summer, consider choosing a pot with coasters so you can easily wheel the tree about.

Fill the pot partly with a light, loamy potting soil. The potting soil should be somewhat sandy and well-draining. When possible, use a potting soil made specifically for citrus trees. Gently place the rootball in the pot and continue filling it with soil. Tamp the soil down lightly and water until the soil feels moist to the touch.

Lime trees, like all citrus trees, need at least 6 to 8 hours of bright sunlight daily. Place your lime tree in a sunny window. During the winter, you may need to supplement the natural sunlight with a grow light, especially if the leaves drop or turn pale green. Keep lime trees at temperatures between 55 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. A temperature of 65 F is ideal. Sudden changes in temperature can harm the tree, so don’t place it near heaters, radiators or exterior doors.

During the summer, you can move the lime tree outdoors. Wait until the last expected frost and then gradually move the tree outdoors, bringing it inside at night until it acclimates. Keep the tree on a patio or terrace in a protected area that gets full sun. Reverse this process in the fall – gradually bringing the tree indoors. It may lose a few leaves as it makes the transition from indoors to outdoors, but if you acclimate it slowly, it won’t experience too much shock.

Water the lime tree just enough to keep the soil slightly moist. Soggy soils promote fungal growth and root rot, so allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering. Lime trees appreciate humid surroundings so place the tree near a humidifier or mist its leaves with a spray bottle. This is especially important during the winter when the air is particularly dry.

Fertilize lime trees every three weeks from spring to summer with a citrus fertilizer or one made for tomatoes or vegetables. Fertilize at a rate of 2 tablespoons per tree, or according to package directions. During the fall and winter, fertilize every six weeks. Lime trees are prone to micronutrient deficiencies, such as iron and magnesium. Apply a micronutrient fertilizer each spring.

Lime trees don’t need the extensive pruning of orchard fruits, but you can prune them occasionally to remove dead wood or branches that rub against each other. You can also prune to control the tree’s size.

Lime Potential Pests and Problems

Disease problems are usually related to moisture levels and include root rot and fungal diseases. Provide well-drained soil and don’t overwater to reduce these issues. Aphids, leafhoppers, mites and scale all afflict lime trees. Before you bring a lime tree indoors for the winter, spray it with warm, slightly soapy water to dispatch any insects. If insect pests become a problem, treat them with insecticidal oil or soap.

Lime Varieties Worth Trying

The most important consideration is to purchase a disease-resistant variety that will stay small.

  • ‘Persian’ limes (also called ‘Bearss’) are a favorite choice. They are a disease-resistant, naturally dwarf cultivar.
  • ‘Eustis’ limequats are a cross between a lime and a kumquat. They have the flavor of limes and are more cold-tolerant.

Want to learn more about growing lime trees?

Visit the following links:

Growing Citrus Indoors in Cool Climates from Purdue University Extension

Citrus Trees: An Ideal Indoor Plant Selection from Colorado State University Extension

Hawkins Corner covers some of the basics of lime tree care:

Help! My Finger Lime Has No Fruit!

Posted by Boutique Citrus on Jan 8, 2019 in Blog | Comments Off on Help! My Finger Lime Has No Fruit!

So, your Finger Lime has looked promising with it’s little flower buds and then all of a sudden, they’re gone and there’s no fruit forming either. Not again!

We get this question about Finger Limes from lots of keen gardeners and while it’s hard to be precise as to what the problem is, we can narrow it down to a few key things.

Six Reasons Why Your Finger Lime Tree Might Not Have Fruit

1. Not enough water during fruit set

It’s critical to water your Finger Lime tree during fruit set – especially if you have it in a pot. Make sure you are watering it twice a week to ensure the soil is moist. To test, insert a couple of fingers in the soil close to the trunk of your Finger Lime. If it’s damp then great, if it’s dry then time for water! Not enough water will result in the tiny fruit dropping off and leaving you with no Finger Limes for Summer.

2. Not enough sunshine

While the Finger Lime is a rainforest plant, we know from the 6000 trees we have that they LOVE full sun. As long as you are regularly watering your Finger Lime, you should find it will respond well to a very sunny position.

3. Climate

South East Queensland and Northern NSW are where Finger Limes naturally grow. Western Australia has some success with Finger Limes but it’s the humidity of NSW and Queensland that sees Finger Limes burgeoning and reaching their full potential. Dry, arid or frosty and colder climates will challenge the hardiest of these varieties and usually see you losing your fruit to frosts. If possible, have your Finger Lime in a hot house for the colder months to recreate the tropical vibes of its natural environment.

4. Pollination

There’s plenty of talk about the significant reduction in bee numbers all over the world. For keen gardeners and farmers alike it’s important to have plenty of flowers and plants that attract the bees to your garden and orchards to get them to do their work. As with any fruit, the Finger Lime flowers are pollinated by native and honey bees – if the flowers aren’t pollinated, your Finger Lime tree won’t produce fruit. Alternatively, you can try pollinating yourself with a small, clean and sterilised paint brush.

5. Numbers

Single Finger Lime trees seem to be particularly prone to not producing any fruit. Having two or more in your garden or pots seems to provide our friends with the success they are looking for – no doubt the bees doing their pollination work also contributes to this point.

6. Fertilizer

Regular feeding with a nitrogen phosphorus and potassium fertiliser should give you great results. Just be sure to make the right dilution and do not fertilize while your plant is flowering. Before or after is OK.

Let us know how your plant is doing or if you’ve got a question, contact us here.

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