of lemon tree
'Meyer' lemon tree, which was about 10 years old, has suddenly died.
It was laden with ripe fruit when the leaves began turning yellow
and withering. We picked all the fruit, but it was too late. Other
types of citrus growing nearby are fine and there isn't any sign
of borer. What do you think could have caused this? Our soil is
volcanic and quite free-draining and we did water the tree during
the height of summer, but maybe it should have been more frequent.
However, why are the other citrus ok? And is it safe to plant another
lemon in the same spot?
looking at the plant and conditions, it's hard to pinpoint one specific
reason for your lemon tree's sudden death. You say that your soil
is free draining, so even though you watered during summer, it may
not have been enough. It pays to water for longer periods (up to
one hour) at a time every other day in summer. Also, mulching is
a great idea as it conserves water, keeps down weeds and the plant
is less likely to dry out. Make sure that you keep the mulch away
from the base of the trunk.
Even so, it's odd that
only one tree has died. Other possible causes include a viral or
fungal infection, lack of nutrients or excessive fruit production
causing the plant to run out of food for growth. The tree could
have suffered from fungal root rot. If so, there's not much you
could have done to save it. It's best to dig the plant up and start
all over again. Use Yates Basamid Granules in the old place to kill
any fungal spores or soil insects. However, I would warn against
planting a replacement lemon in the same position.
Gardener, Issue 86, 2001, Page 22
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.