Hey guys, I moved into a new house last year and I have this nice lemon tree (I think, lol) out back. It's about 6.5' tall and very robust. Anyway, the tree has lots of fruit from late last fall and I was wondering if I need to pick them off so the new crop will develop to their fullest potential? Or do I just stay out of the way and let mother nature take care of that? I have not done my homework on this (yet) so any advice would be great!
As you all know, the drought last year was terrible and the TX gulfcoast was no exception. I could have watered the tree a little more than I did and I am sure that affected the quality of the fruit (not too impressive.) The fruit are pretty large- about 4" long at least. My neighbor says it is a lemon tree but the fruit are not very sour like a lemon. I'll have to post pictures at another time.
That doesn't look like any kind of lemon I know. Have you tried asking the former owner for the name? Citrus trees are self thinning, that is, they will drop fruit keeping only what they can sustain.
If the fruit you have now is ripe and of low quality, you should pick it. It's not going to get better. That way the tree can re-direct its energy into its new crop. Fertilize the tree regularly and keep it well watered this year so it can recover from last year's stress. You will find the flavor will improve as well.
With the soil as dry as it was last year, I found I had to water well beyond the crown's drip line. Any closer to the drip line and the dry soil nearby wicked the water away killing the delicate feeder roots.
Unfortunately, I can't ask the previous owners because I bought a foreclosure and the owners flew the coop. The neighbors say it's a lemon tree so that is all I have to go on for now. I'll pick as much of the fruit as I can and just compost them. Sounds like a good plan, thanks again Betty.
Metrosideros-it very well could be a meyer lemon tree, thanks for the link.
If the fruit are still good, you can preserve them with salt.
Simply cut each fruit in quarters, but not the whole way through. The middles should still be connected, holding the fruit together.
Place the fruit into a large jar, one at a time, and place a generous amount of sea salt on them as you pack them in. Pack the jar tightly with the fruit and salt.
Cover the jar and let sit for a day.
The fruit will express juice and should mostly fill the jar, over a day's time. If any of the fruit is not covered with juice in the jar, squeeze juice from other fruit into the jar until liquid is covering all of the fruit. (If no extra fruit is available, to make juice to fill the jar, water can be used.)
Put some more salt in the top of the jar. Close the jar tightly, and let sit for a week.
After a week, place the jar in a refrigerator for a month. When a month has past, you can start using the fruit. To use the fruit, remove it to a bowl and drain it; cut it apart and de-seed it; then cut / chop it up, and place in a recipe. (As long as you were generous with the salt, it will last in a jar in a refrigerator for a year.)
Preserved salted Citrus is great in salsa, sauces, salad dressing, and relish!