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Gardening Answers Knowledgebase

Search Results for: Fruit--Care and maintenance | Search the catalog for: Fruit--Care and maintenance

Plant Answer Line Question

Keywords: Container gardening, Plant nutrients, Citrus limon, Water requirements, Fruit--Care and maintenance

I purchased a small Meyer lemon plant from a nursery in Florence, OR, and it grew, and blossomed very well, and even produced many tiny lemons - all of which have now, at this point, dropped off. The leaves are yellowing, too. It is in a good size container, in full sun. The container sits in a large saucer which does fill with rainwater. This I empty, but the plant remains wet. New blooms are coming on some of the branches, old blooms are shrivelling. No more lemons coming as yet.

My question is, why did the tiny lemons drop off? And, should the plant get overly wet? My nursery person has no information. I would appreciate any information you have.


The following information comes from Citrus (by Lance Walheim, Ironwood Press, 1996).

It sounds as if your container has good drainage, but maybe the plant is getting too much rainwater. That might be causing the leaves to turn yellow. Another cause could be a nitrogen deficiency, which would be most visible in older leaves, which would yellow from the tip to the base.

As far as the plant's water needs, it will need water when the top two to three inches of soil become dry. Frequent watering (or excess rainwater) can leach nutrients from the soil, so the plant will need to be fertilized regularly -- once or twice a month using a liquid, high-nitrogen fertilizer that includes the micronutrients zinc, iron, and manganese.

The small lemons which drop off may not be anything to worry about, as fruit drop occurs normally as the tree varies its fruit load with its carrying capacity. Pea-sized fruit usually drop about one month after bloom. A more noticeable drop occurs in late spring to early summer, when golfball-sized fruit may drop. Other reasons for fruit drop could be conditions which limit tree growth, such as excess heat, lack of soil moisture (not relevant in your case), and fluctuating weather conditions. It is also possible that the fruit drop is due to lack of nitrogen.

Date 2017-05-17
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Garden Tip

Keywords: Vegetable gardening, Nuts, Fruit--Care and maintenance, Edible landscaping

Here is a short list of good books for both the arm-chair kitchen gardener and for those who like to get their hands dirty:

  • The New Kitchen Garden by Anna Pavord (Dorling Kindersley, $29.95) has lots of photos and diagrams with well organized, concise text.
  • Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini: The Essential Reference by Elizabeth Schneider (William Morrow, $60.00) has "500 recipes and 275 photographs" focusing on the history of vegetables and how to use them in the kitchen. It has no growing information, however.
  • The Complete Book of Edible Landscaping by Rosalind Creasy (Sierra Club Books, $25.00) introduces the idea of planting fruits and vegetables all around the garden.
  • Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally by Robert Kourik (Metamorphic Press, available used online and at the Miller Library) is a classic resource thick with practical details on everything from energy-conserving landscaping and soil preparation to drip irrigation for fruit trees.
  • How to Grow More Vegetables: And Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains and Other Crops Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine by John Jeavons (Ten Speed Press, $17.95) is an old classic which has just been revised and reissued.
  • The Cook and the Gardener: a Year of Recipes and Writings from the French Country-side by Amanda Hesser (W.W. Norton, $32.50) is a delightful book divided into seasons with diary-like entries about living, gardening and cooking on a French farm.

Date: 2007-04-03
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Garden Tip

Keywords: Fruit--Care and maintenance

Meet with like-minded backyard fruit growers by joining one of these fruit gardening societies:
  • Home Orchard Society - $15.00 a year and includes quarterly journal Pome News. www.homeorchardsociety.org
  • Western Cascade Fruit Society (with 6 regional chapters including Seattle Tree Fruit Society, which meets on the last Saturday of the month at the Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 NE 41st, Seattle) - $15 a year, includes quarterly newsletter. wcfs.org
  • North American Fruit Explorers - $13.00 a year includes quarterly journal, Pomona www.nafex.org/
  • Western Washington Fruit Research Foundation - $25.00 includes a newsletter and free admission to events. wwfrf.org

    Date: 2006-03-01
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    Garden Tip

    Keywords: Strawberries, Fragaria, Fruit--Care and maintenance, Berries

    If you feel cheated by the big, red, sour strawberries available in grocery stores late winter is the time to start your own little strawberry field. Starter plants are available in nurseries, but which variety to choose? If you want to harvest many berries at once for jam or pies buy "June-bearing" such as 'Shuksan' or 'Rainier'; if you want lower maintenance plants that will provides a few berries throughout the summer buy "Day-neutral" such as 'Tribute' or 'Tillicum.'

    The experts all agree, you should cut off the first flush of flowers so that your plants will develop larger crowns and eventually more fruit. This means no fruit for the first year for June-bearing strawberries. Don't scrimp on water, but good drainage is also essential. Applying a mulch will help keep the soil cool and moist and protect the ripening berries from soil fungus. But mulch will also give shelter to slugs, so take care to use an organic-acceptable iron phosphate bait (such as Sluggo) regularly.
    While technically perennial, strawberry plants should be replaced every 2 to 3 years with newly purchased stock. Recommended reading on growing strawberries, from Oregon State University, will get you off to a good start.

    Stephen Wilhelm and James E. Sagen in their book, A History of the Strawberry: from ancient gardens to modern markets, investigate how the strawberry was named. The theory they give most credence to is that the runners are "strewed" from the mother plant. In ancient times one word used for "strew" was "straw," and thus a strewing berry became strabery (sic) which eventually became strawberry in England.
    If you want to use straw as the mulch for strawberries look in the yellow pages under "feed stores."

    Date: 2007-04-03
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    Garden Tip

    Keywords: Vegetable gardening, Fruit--Care and maintenance, Chickens

    Kitchen Garden from Great Britain is the only magazine devoted to growing fruits and vegetables. The glossy monthly magazine includes growing tips from readers, articles on growing techniques and new cultivars, plus a monthly feature on small-scale chicken rearing. Subscribe for a mere $73.00 dollars a year at their website, or read it for free at the Miller Library.

    Date: 2003-03-05
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May 31 2018 13:14:08