Ponderosa Lemon

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by rudell, Oct 7, 2008.

  1. rudell

    rudell Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi...excited I found you citrus experts...I'm in New-Brunswick CANADA and I recently purchased a "Ponderosa Lemon Tree" at WalMart...yes WalMart...I was so excited to find this as my friend has a lime tree that actually has limes on it...now my ponderosa only has leaves..dirt seems very dry ..the tag doesn't say much so I don't know what to do exactly..it says to fertalize every 6 to 8 weeks and while indoors decrease watering ...do any of you from Canada have one and would LOVEEEE to see pictures and what should I use for fertalizer????
     
  2. aesir22

    aesir22 Active Member

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    Hey Rudell, and welcome to the addiction that is citrus :)

    My first citrus was a lemon tree (unidentified, but I think a Eureka) and within a few months my collection has grown considerably. I'll list a few things to help you get started. Don't worry that it all looks long winded, just use them as some basics, and read as many posts in this forum as you can to get a great understanding of how to grow your citrus :)

    First off, a couple of basics to help you care for it. One of the most important things is the pot and the potting media. Make sure it isn't potted in a pot far far larger than the root ball. If so, this can lead to soil staying too wet and the roots rotting. Alongside this, be aware of the potting mix it is in. It needs aeration - 100% peat moss or soil won't be suitable for a citrus. I plant mine in 3 parts bark chips, one part perlite and 1 part peat moss. This ensures plenty of oxygen can get to the roots and is very free draining. The ingredients I use are widely available pretty much anywhere in the world I would imagine!

    Citrus don't like to have wet roots for long. It is best to let them dry out a bit before re-watering, so when the top 2 or 3 inches of soil dries, water then. Don't water to keep the soil moist. This is very important - citrus like to dry out a little between waterings. Depending on the pot, weeks can sometimes go by before re-watering. I once waited 3 weeks when mine were in plastic pots. When you do water them, make sure its a good drink - about 10%-20% of the water should drain out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. You will find in winter you may need to water a lot less.

    Next is sunlight. Citrus love the sun, and I keep mine in a south facing window - but be wary in winter. If the roots get cold (below around 55F) they will stop taking up water. If your tree is in bright light, or even just good light, the leaves are in danger of falling off. If you can ensure the roots don't get cold (preferably over 60F-65F), it should be fine in a south facing window over winter, but if your house, like mine, does get a little cooler in winter, take them away from bright light and store somewhere where the roots can be cooler and the light won't be bright.

    Citrus like humid air. I mist mine 4 times daily, and have them on a gravel tray. Central heating in the winter dries the air, so its very important to make sure the humidity is high. Some people invest in a humidifier, which is a good idea if you can run one ok.

    Fertilizer is a bit of a mixed bag in winter lol. Regardless of anything, citrus fertilizer should be 5-1-3 in the NPK ratio. So thats 5 parts Nitrogen to one part Phosphorus to 3 parts Potassium. Fertilizers usually have the NPK ratio on the back with the ingredients. If possible, get one that is specifically for citrus (though I know some in Canada have struggled) with trace minerals - which include iron, magnese, copper, boron and a few more. Some people fertilize once a month. Others, like myself, half the dose and feed twice a month. Others use slow release...its worth scanning the forum to make a decision on fertilizer. In winter many stop fertilizing, but it depends on the environment your tree is in and a few other things. I feed at half strength once monthly, but again, read other threads.

    Can you post a pic of your tree? It would help to know whether it is a seedling (unlikely) a rooted cutting or a grafted tree. A pic would help identify this. To me, lemons are easy to grow and a really good one to start with, so you have made an excellent choice. The fruit tastes nice and the flowers smell really good too!

    Don't be alarmed if your tree drops a few leaves now. Firstly, it has changed homes - my meyer lemon had a right fit and dropped about 75% of its leaves when I first brought it home, but it's happy now :) Please do take note of the light and root temperature issues I raised - you can get more info on this situation by searching for Winter Leaf Drop on the search option, or I believe Gina (BabyBlue I think her name here is?) has posted an excellent post on Winter Leaf Drop and citrus care over winter with guidance from Millet.

    Read read read, thats all I can say :) Hope this helps! All the best, post a pic if you can!

    Dan
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2008
  3. aesir22

    aesir22 Active Member

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    Since you mentioned wanting to see pics, here is my Meyer Lemon when I first got it, before it dropped a load of leaves lol
     

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  4. rudell

    rudell Active Member 10 Years

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    here is a pic of my ponderosa lemon tree...let me know what you think..since it's been home the only thing I do is spray mist the leaves at they are dusty...
     

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  5. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    rudell, you have a nice tree. Ponderosa Lemons are a unique type of lemon, that produces a fruit 2 to 3 times larger than the common Eureka or Lisbon lemons that are sold in the store. I notice that you have the tree setting in a collector tray to catch the drainage. One word of caution. Never let your tree set in the drainage collecting container when it has water in it. Always empty the collecting container quickly. Aesir22 has given you most all of the basics of citrus container growing that will provide you with the knowledge for success. I would say one thing on the subject of hand misting a citrus tree. Hand misting does not provide any beneficial benefit for a citrus tree. The extremely short lasting effects of hand misting has such a short duration that benefits do not exist. However asser22' s suggestion of a pebble tray is a good idea. Studies have long been carried out by Purdue University concerning hand misting citrus, and have shown that it is a waste of time. "Perhaps" hand misting might remove a little of the house hold dust. Any way good luck with your tree. Take care of it and the tree will repay you for many years to come. Welcome to the forum. - Millet
     
  6. rudell

    rudell Active Member 10 Years

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    ok so I water it and empty the water that comes out right away??? when it's time to repot I will definitly be back here... when will I see flowers and lemons? and will this be year round or 1 lemon a year orr??????
    thanks everyone
     
  7. rudell

    rudell Active Member 10 Years

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    looking forward to your post...! is it rooted cutting or grafted or ????
     
  8. aesir22

    aesir22 Active Member

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    Hi rudell,

    I'm not the expert, and I can't really tell if it is grafted or not. My eye isn't very good with these things lol but I couldn't identify a graft line...so not sure basically. Think it may be a rooted cutting but don't hold me to that, let one of the pro's take a look and say for sure! I'm not great at looking for graft lines lol.

    When you water, wait until you see water come out of the drainage holes at the bottom. Water for a little more, making sure you soak the whole volume of potting mix - don't just pour water near the stem, it needs to reach every root. Giving thorough watering is very important, then letting them dry out somewhat between equally so.

    It's difficult for me to say when you will get flowers and fruit - especially with winter I think it is dependent on it's conditions. My meyer lemon is still adjusting to its new home, and has thus not grown a single flower as yet. But I don't expect it to at the moment. It had 13 lemons on it when I bought it - too many for a young tree in my opinion, so I removed them. I hope it spends a while focusing on foliage. I bought a tahiti lime back at the beginning of September. It now has four little clusters of buds waiting to open into flowers.

    I think lemons flower and fruit through the year, depending on how good its conditions are. I think Millet get some of his citrus to go through 6 or 7 flushes of growth every year (I think I read that, lol) so it might be worth waiting for a post from him to see if he knows how often it will bloom. But like I say, its more than once a year to my knowledge.

    Have you come to a conclusion about fertilizer yet?

    Dan
     
  9. aesir22

    aesir22 Active Member

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    Oh, just to add...Millet is right saying the drainage dish you have under the pot isn't the best idea. I water mine in our outhouse in the sink. I leave them for an hour or so for water to drip out. If you keep any water in that drip dish, the roots will soon start to rot. best to fill it three quarters to the top with clean gravel, pour water in and sit the pot on the gravel, ensuring that the pot doesn't come into contact with the water. This is for humidity purposes. But definitely don't let it sit in water that you just watered it with!
     
  10. aesir22

    aesir22 Active Member

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    Sorry to post so quick again. I just took another look at the pics you posted. Some of the leaves are a little yellow, and some seem to have yellow veins, so it's worth asking an expert about whether they think it may be deficient in a certain mineral. Deficiencies are common and very easily treated once identified. I can't tell what the white bits on the leaves are. Dust? Residue from where you bought it? I clean the leaves on my citrus once a week and they seem to like it :) And it makes them more aesthetically pleasing :)
     
  11. rudell

    rudell Active Member 10 Years

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    As for the leaves being a bit yellow I figured this could be from bein in a Walmart for who knows how long?
    I know it's like spraying residue spots on the leaves..I've taken a spray bottle with water and a drop of dishsoap to try and clean it ...
    but my other household plants(not much left) I use to clean with mayonaise and the leaves would shine to a point people thought they were fake plants ..has anyone tried this on a ponderosa?
     
  12. aesir22

    aesir22 Active Member

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    Mayo? Ew lol. I just use warm water on mine. When I first get them I put a few drops of dish soap into the water to get rid of the usual residue that seems to gravitate to leaves in garden centers, but after that, just good old water! Not sure whether citrus would like the mayo or not, sorry lol
     
  13. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    Nice post aesir. I would add a couple points--one good way to prevent your tree from sitting in the water that comes out of the pot is to set the pot on some feet. If you use a pebble tray, you can just use pieces of bricks or 3 small pots (3 or 4 inch), but anything that provides a stable base above the pebbles will work.

    The second point is that the tree will bloom better if you expose it to about 800-850 hours of temp below 65F. This cold stress or rest period allows the growth buds to differentiate into flower buds.

    As for grafted or rooted--it appears to be rooted to me. I do not see any sign of a graft scar.
     
  14. aesir22

    aesir22 Active Member

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    Oh good, glad I wasn't too far off the mark :) I couldn't see a graft but my eye for these things isn't so great! We learn more about citrus by scrawling through these forums than by surfing the net for tips! Thats how I learned the basics, anyway :)
     
  15. rudell

    rudell Active Member 10 Years

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    wish someone from Canada would post pics of their PONDEROSA LEMON ....
     
  16. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Google Images is quite helpful if you're not specifically interested in seeing a Canadian-grown Ponderosa. I'd post a picture of mine if I had a camera. Your tree looks nice. I'm sure you'll get much enjoyment from growing it.

    My tree which is about 5.5' tall, bloomed two or three times this year (in spite of being pruned last winter) and currently has a half dozen fruit, the largest of which is about the size of a large grapefruit. One of the stems snapped from the weight of the fruit as I was late in providing support for it; it'll have to be pruned away once the fruit has ripened.

    Does the tag on your tree provide any clue as to the tree's origin?
     
  17. rudell

    rudell Active Member 10 Years

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    wow 5.5' tall and you have this is the house with huge lemons ......this must be just beautiful...I just wanted to make sure they would bloom in canada as a lot of people say " well it probably came in from Florida and don't think your gonna get any lemons "
    oh and my leaves are starting to curl in a bit ..and this is a sigh of ????
    On the walmart tag I had this on it
    PONDEROSA LEMON
    Harvest; EVERBEARING
    Gen.Nurs. Stock Ins Cert. #

    on another tag
    ISD Treatment : Sept 17, 2008 (what does this mean)?

    another tag
    Assorted Citrus
    2.3 Gal (8.6L)
     
  18. rudell

    rudell Active Member 10 Years

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    forgot pics of leaves curling in...
     

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  19. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    Any curling in those pictures is what I would consider normal--citrus leaves are not flat.
     
  20. aesir22

    aesir22 Active Member

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    Yeah, mine have curls in them too.They may just be adapting to their new home. They tend to curve more when it is too hot or sunny in a bid to conserve water in the leaf, but yours don't seem to be curved through this stress.

    As always, check for bugs and and disease. I shouldn't think your tree has any, I just mean regular checks, especially on container grown citrus indoors in winter, is a prudent course of action.
     
  21. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    The information on the tags looks familiar. If the certification number is 47220651, then the tree is from a nursery located in Florida. I believe the ISD treatment tag indicates the tree has been treated with the insecticide Imidacloprid. I'd like to know the implications of this with regard to the consumption of the fruit.
     
  22. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Imidacloprid, would certainly kill any, or most, insects on a citrus tree, but I do not think Imidacloprid would offer any fungus control such as canker, or especially citrus greening. Personally, I would never ever, ever purchase ANY TYPE OF A CITRUS TREE that has been in the state of Florida. With 100 different varieties of citrus trees in my collection, the risk of disaster is just too great to accept. - Millet
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2008
  23. rudell

    rudell Active Member 10 Years

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    that's it that's the number so my tree comes from florida.....
     
  24. rudell

    rudell Active Member 10 Years

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    what what ??? your scaring me here what disaster is just too great..I don't understand ...this would be a danger to other citrus trees...or???? what is citrus greening???
     
  25. aesir22

    aesir22 Active Member

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    There has been a problem with citrus trees in and from Florida. I think citrus canker was the issue, but don't quote me on that! Whatever it was, I believe it spread rapidly and affected many citrus. It spread so bad, I believe the authorities got the permission to destroy the trees people owned...I read of one person who refused to destroy hers and one day came home to find they had destroyed it for her. As a result, I think the ability to ship citrus out of Florida was prohibited.

    I think Millet indicated he wouldn't risk having any trees from Florida, because if he did and one was infected, it may easily spread to his dozens of other citrus trees. And that would be a catastrophe!

    I don't know what the chances of your tree been infected are, but from what I have been reading recently the danger is pretty slim. Don't worry over it. If you want more info on the Florida ban, someone here can probably correct what I have said (since parts will probs be wrong) or you can do a google search. Don't get overly worried though, your tree won't disintegrate overnight :)
     

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