Monday, April 25, 2011

My Very Sad Citrus - help!

Well in line with the whole pledge for Earth Day, I'm investigating plants that aren't so happy in this wee garden...

We got a whole heap of citrus on sale last Winter.  A year ago.  We tried them in the garden although we knew they wouldn't get much sun.  But this is really very sad, the time has come to make a decision on whether to pull them up or not and make way for more shade tolerant trees...

Most of the garden is in constant shade although grass miraculously grows...I've had excellent ideas from my local permie group who have suggested growing currants, alpine or wood strawberries and blueberries in the shady spots in the garden, they'd love the acidic soil too (acidic thanks to that no good pine tree).  Do you have any suggestions for shade loving edibles, especially shrubs and trees...?

This lemon - let's call her Lemon #1 - has lost virtually all its leaves, no idea why, they've all just disappeared - tis a very spindly tree - and with no bugs evident at all! But plenty of little budding lemons and the odd large lemon with very thick skin...

Poor Lemon #1

As for my other young citrus...

The mandarin trees are very young and have tiny mini mandarins...but none have progressed beyond tiny baby size!

The blood orange seems to be the only citrus to be doing well but it gets a tiny bit more sunlight than the others...

This is the lemon on the other side of the lawn (Lemon #2) which also doesn't get much has leaves at least though!


This is the lime tree constantly bedecked in spider webs and pine needles from that great big hulking pine tree that hogs all the sunlight and leaves none for the garden! Are spiderwebs so bad for trees?  I've left it be as it seems happy enough.


So.  Remove the poorly Lemon #1?  No idea why she is losing her leaves.  Perhaps because of the heavy rains we've had this year and lack of sunlight.  What do you think?  :'(

Anyway - look what we have growing under our kitchen sink...although this is the last time because the last lot, whilst prolific, decided to throw spore everywhere overnight!  Wondered why everything was covered in a fine brown dust...pick them young.  They get as huge as small side plates but are far more prolific if picked young and tender like this.

Today is ANZAC day but we missed the dawn service kids being up all night as usual.  Lest we that we are free to grow our vegetables in peace, I'm grateful.


  1. No good asking me about your citrus issues as I have a few myself with my poor lemon tree. Mine has lost leaves (but I have spotted bugs) and the leaves that remain are yellow. I'm told to give it a dose of iron chelate (I think!).
    Maybe you could remove the most troublesome one and try it in a pot for a while?

  2. You may have to skip growing citrus. We have had to where we are for the moment. We have plenty of sunshine, but we also have plenty of wind which makes growing citrus nigh on impossible.

    We do have a lime tree in a very large pot that I haul around to various parts of the garden depending on the daily conditions. I also have a kaffir lime tree that is also potted and parked between the curves of two dark grey 22500 litre water tanks.

    Once we have a more established and mature garden we will plant some permanent citrus, but until then, our citrus orchard remains in pots.

  3. Have you tried feeding with citrus food? This is the perfect time to feed and with all the rain a lot of the nutrients get washed away and citrus are heavy feeders...
    Sunlight is a problem, do they get any direct sun?
    Doing a ph test is a good idea (are they in pots or the ground?) as they don't like it too acid. I have heaps of pine trees too and they are such a pain, but way too $$$ to remove!
    There is also citrus gall wasp to look after which presents as swellings on the branches and generally weakens the tree, however it can encourage the tree to go nuts producing fruit as a last ditch attempt to pass on its DNA but I couldn't see any swellings in your pictures...
    Mushies look great!

  4. Don't know this. How about check on the internet.

  5. Good luck to your lemon and your patience - to grow beautiful trees))

  6. Thank you!! I spoke to the nursery who suggested if the leaves aren't yellowing and are healthy that it is just odd unless there is a marauding possum about the place stripping the tree of leaves! HRMM!!!!!!

    I'm going to prune it right back and see how it fares. If none of the trees fruit or look ok in Spring then they are coming out and into pots to be given to friends and family who have sunny's so disheartening when trees you care for just don't do so well! No sunlight is death for most edible trees I think.

  7. It's always a worry when you plant something new, especially fruit trees which kind of just sit for so long until they actually die or thrive!
    To be honest I think your little citrus look pretty darn healthy! The fact that they actually have fruit on them I think would be a good sign. Good luck with your decision...
    It's also handy to check out the neighbours as well, see what they might be growing in their shady backyards. :)

  8. Hi Mrs Bok! Sorry to hear abt those lemons - I've never grown any but lots of thin spinely issues with my plants are caused by horrible insects! I would keep the tree if I were you - lemon tree is a very useful tree!

  9. Hi OKC! Hi Gooseberry! Yup I hope it comes back. I've pruned it right back now but I'm not sure how it'll go! Our neighbour has a terrific lemon tree, it's huge and about 80 years old :)

  10. Pine trees make the soil really acidic and often make it hard for plants to get nutrients. Citrus like acidic soil but not too acidic. Yours look healthy so it probally is the sunlight issue. I say try pots that you can move around or maybe apply to the council to plant on the verge. Or if you have a friend with a sunny backyard perhaps transplant to their place in exchange for a share of the fruit as a good citrus tree will produce enough for more than one family.


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