Help me save my tree!
January 17, 2005 9:22 AM   Subscribe

Springfield Lemon Tree Filter: I have a Meyer lemon tree which was subjected to very cold temperatures last month. I was able to get it inside, but it spent almost a week outside, with temperatures in the low twenties (F). All of the leaves have dried up, and most have now fallen off. No new leaves have grown. I've had this tree for about six years, and it was a few years old when I purchased it. I'd very much like to save it.

It is in an extremely oversized pot, which I thought would help shield it from the cold, but apparently it wasn't enough. At the very least, I'd like to be able to save the roots, even if I have to graft another tree to the trunk. Any ideas?
posted by bh to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
I would say at this point put it somewhere indoors where it gets just a bit of sunlight, lower than normal household temps., water it lightly about once every 2 weeks, do not fertilize!, and let it remain dormant til temperatures climb back to the mid 50's.
Then plunk it back outside and hopefully it'll make a comeback.

Just keep in mind, many plants are fickle, and it may be dead no matter how much you try and fix it.
posted by ducktape at 12:48 PM on January 17, 2005

Follow ducktapes advice and be sure to mist it when you water it. Citrus fruit trees like humidity.
posted by sophie at 1:48 PM on January 17, 2005

I addition to ducktape's very good advice, if the root system hasn't been killed outright (which, unfortunately, is very likely) then root rot will be the greatest obstacle to recovery. So be very careful about overwatering. Any dead roots will rot in soggy soil and the rot will spread to live roots. You might also consider removing from the pot, rinsing off soil, treating with a fungicide like captan, and repotting; you might not want to do that if you're eating the lemons.
posted by TimeFactor at 2:33 PM on January 17, 2005

I think it will be fine.

Citrus crops suffer from hard freezes, but the trees bounce back. Just coddle it until warm weather. If it can be outside in the sun, all the better.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:58 PM on January 17, 2005

A hard freeze for a plant in the ground is very different from one in a pot. For plants that are hardy to a particular zone you need to subtract about two zones if grown in a container, which explains why I'm doubtful that bh's tree is alive. I'll hope I'm wrong though.
posted by TimeFactor at 2:02 AM on January 18, 2005

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