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Trees/Meyer lemon tree


I have had my Meyer lemon tree for about a year. It was outside for the summer and in our laundry room where it gets nice afternoon light for the winter. It was doing great until about a week ago when the lemons started dropping off. I thought that was normal but the new glossy leaves that were there two weeks ago have turned yellow/ brown and and clearly not doing well. The soil is damp which is unusual as I water it only once a week. Should I repot the tree? It is usually dry within one week so clearly it isn't absorbing the water. I'd love any advice I can get so to save my tree!
Thank you!

Well Iím sorry to hear about you Lemon tree, IĎll see if I can help.

When potted trees such as lemons and other citrus suddenly drop leaves or fruit itís an indicator that something changed environmentally either to the soil, the amount of light itís getting or sudden temperature change. My first thoughts though go to what you said about the water not being taken up by the tree but rather just sitting in pot.  You said that you water it weekly. Does the pot dry thoroughly before you water again or do you water weekly regardless? The reason Iím asking is because what you described to me if a classic indicator of over watering.  If the tree hasnít been moved (i.e. the light conditions havenít changed) and the tree hasnít been exposed to cold temperatures, I would immediately start looking at the water situation.

For the time being, I would not water it any more until the pot is thoroughly dry. Depending on how large the tree is, a good indicator to determine water presence is by lifting or moving the pot to physically gauge how dry the pot is getting. Obviously if were talking about a very large pot then this method isnít going to work (let me know if thatís the case and Iíll tell you about a soil moisture probe you can buy).

If water has saturated the soil (meaning that the water is almost standing in the pot) I would recommend removing the tree from the pot and letting it dry out for a day and then putting it back in the pot.

There are many other things that can cause leaf drop including nitrogen deficiency, salt burn from excessive fertilizing and root damage that can cause leaf and fruit drop but in all those cases they are predicated by other symptoms.

If Iím misunderstanding you or you think something else might be going on feel free to write me again and Iíll see if I can help.

Best Regards,


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James Parker


I can answer questions regarding tree identification, plant pathology (plant diseases), entomology (plant insect problems), soil science, organic horticultural practices, proper pruning techniques, pesticide questions, watering, turf care, fertilizing.


I have 10 years of experience in Forestry and Urban Forestry in Greater New York City working and consulting for government agencies, private residents and large corporations.

International Society of Arboriculture Connecticut Tree Protection Association North Eastern Organic Farmers Association

Bachelors of Science Horticulture Oregon State International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist (NE-6660A) Connecticut Arborist License (S-5496) CT Pesticide Supervisors License (S-5496) NY Commercial Applicators License (CO881265) Accredited Organic Land Care Professional (AOLCP)

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