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Thinning citrus

I PLANTED a young Meyer lemon tree this year which is doing very well - in fact, too well. It is absolutely loaded with young fruit. I realise the fruit will need to be thinned, but I do not know how. Do I thin as I do my peach, taking out all but the strongest, or do I need to be more drastic? Also, I have another lemon which I am growing from a pip planted earlier this year, also doing well. Will it grow true to the parent lemon?


FOR the next couple of years remove almost all the fruit, leaving only one or two on each main shoot, to encourage strong vegetative growth. Then, when there's a good framework of strong branches, you can leave more fruit to develop to full size.

The lemon you've grown from a pip is unlikely to be the same as the fruit it came from, but you can grow Meyers from cuttings. In summer, take a good, strong, leafy shoot about 25cm long, dip the end in rooting hormone and plant it in a pot of freedraining mix or sand and place in a warm, shady spot. Make sure the mix stays moist. If all goes well, it should be well rooted and ready for planting out next spring.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 187, 2005, Page 33

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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Last updated: September 29, 2006