How to coax a mature Persian Lime tree to bear fruit?

Kenner, LA

I have a Persian Lime Tree that was in a pot for about 4 years and then in the ground for about 3 years now. It bloomed and bore fruit the first two years in the pot but since I have it the ground it has not bloomed or borne any fruits. I am in the New Orleans area, Zone 9. After reading older posts here, I started to fertilize the tree but still no avail. What kind of fertilizer and what time should it be applied to coax a fairly mature (at least 7 to 8 years old) Persian Lime tree to bear fruit?

Thank you for your time.

Lisle, IL(Zone 5a)

What type of fertilizer are you using (xx-xx-xx), when and how much are you applying, and how much sun and water does the tree get?

Kenner, LA

The tree is in full sun and in addition to whatever rainfall, it is watered about 2 to 3 times a week. As for fertilizer, I just throw in a handful of whatever I am using that time, usually Osmocote 10-10-10 or something similar time release. Do you have any suggestions of type, dosage and time for fertilization?

Thanks.

Lisle, IL(Zone 5a)

A quick search on the Internet found that you should be using 21-0-0 at a rate of 1 cup for each year of the tree's age, so 7 cups for your tree, applied in the Spring. Watering sounds okay, but one deep watering per week may be better.

Kenner, LA

Thanks for the suggestion. I have Googled and there are a number of fertilizer suggestions, and they vary all over the place. I was trying to get some advice from someone who is growing this plant and is getting good produce from it. Hopefully, I can get some first hand advice.

Thanks again for your help.

La Grange, TX(Zone 8b)

I found a link to a booklet you can purchase from your extension service for $5.00. It might be an excellent investment since I was not able to find any free information on the Internet regarding specific information for growing citrus in Louisiana.
http://www.lsuagcenter.com/en/lawn_garden/home_gardening/fruits_nuts/Louisiana+Home+Citrus+Production.htm

I found two other links that may help:
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/extension/homefruit/citrus/citrus.html
http://www.ehow.com/how_6374590_grow-citrus-trees-louisiana.html

I do know your lime tree needs a complete citrus fertilizer with micro-nutrients. I suggest you also purchase a book on growing citrus. It would help you understand some of the issues your lime tree may be having.

You mentioned your tree bloomed and fruited the first two years you had it in a pot. You did not mention the size of the pot or whether the lime tree was a standard or a dwarf. Standard citrus trees need to be root prune more frequently than dwarf citrus, but even dwarf citrus trees need a 24" - 30" pot to grow in. It is very likely that by the third year, your lime tree was very root bound. In addition to not producing any fruit, it probably didn't grow much the last year it was in a pot. If you didn't root prune or tease and straighten out the roots that were growing in a circle before planting in the ground, the roots may still be growing in a circle in the planting hole you made and may not have grown into the native soil. Citrus need soil that drains very well as they dislike standing water or very wet soil. The soil needs to be moist, but not soggy. It is possible your lime tree may be getting too much water and suffering from some root rot enough to keep it from storing the energy it needs to bloom and fruit. Another problem to consider. When Katrina hit, did it flood you yard with salt water? Citrus will not grow well in salty soils.

Citrus grow in spurts and need to be fertilized just before each spurt in order to benefit from it.

Kenner, LA

Thank you Bettydee for your suggestions. The tree grew quite well after being planted, but I have not pruned it. It is not a dwarf and I that is why I moved it from the pot when I felt it was getting root bound. We did not get any salt water flooding during Katrina, fortunately. I think I need to fertilize the tree well, and I will do it early next spring.

Thanks for the links also, very much appreciated.

La Grange, TX(Zone 8b)

You are welcome.

Punta Gorda, FL(Zone 9b)

Here in the heart of citrus country 'greening' is a big nightmare. Many of the large commercial growers are even threatened with losing their entire
crops due to this huge problem. Greening is occuring when the plant seems not to bear or bloom as it should.
Visible signs are a bit of yellowing to the leaves. Google image and see photos so you can recognize.
Foliar feeding is the only thing that saves them, as Citrus greening cannot be cured. It is a horrible disease that keeps the plant from taking
in nutrients and other vital minerals through the root system. Instead, if the plant is not fertilized through the leaves themselves,
it will starve to death. I have a citrus that has it, and this has been the only thing that saves it. I fertilize every other day
through foliar feeding. It has turned it from a non-bearing, stunted small tree to a producing, deep green plant. What were stunted and
disfigured, green leaves are now back to normal. I would have never had fruit and flower had I not seen a recent article on this and recognized
it as my particular problem. It will even cause fruit that is on the tree to just sit, and not ripen at all. Our plants here in Fl. are all now under
quarantine. Caution to other citrus growers around the country! Stay away from our trees! This disease is rampant! Carried by an Asian pest, you
don't want this!
What happened to you happened to me. Mine was potted. When I placed in the ground, I noticed no fruit nor flower as time went by. The leaves were
the only sign, and since it is not too off-color, I let it slip by through the summer without a clue. I hope this is not your problem, but if it is....pay heed friend!
I will say this one last time. If this is what is wrong with your tree, feeding the roots ferts is a waste of time and money. I fed mine all summer until I recently caught
this disease. Nothing! In the case of Citrus greening, foliar feeding is the only thing that produced results. And if your tree does have it, please be responsible
and don't share fruits nor cuttings of it with anyone. :)





This message was edited Nov 17, 2011 5:13 AM

Lisle, IL(Zone 5a)

Per the FL Dept of Ag & Consumer Svcs, it is recommended that home owners whose trees are infected destroy those trees, as syllids can transmit the disease to healthy trees in the area; that is the responsible thing to do. We don't have citrus greening in AZ, but the syllids have been found in Yuma and it looks likes it's just a matter of time before it gets here.

Lisle, IL(Zone 5a)

Here's a link to the phamplet FL put out on citrus greening disease; the recommendation to destroy affected trees is on page 3.

http://www.freshfromflorida.com/pi/chrp/images/Huanglongbing72.pdf

Kenner, LA

Thank you for the real informative post and the heads up. I checked the leaves and I believe that I am fortunate that my tree does not have that dreaded disease. It recently flowered during the warm Fall weeks and a couple of little fruits are now forming. I will see how it does in Spring.

Thanks again.

Punta Gorda, FL(Zone 9b)

Frogy,
The citrus growers have miles upon miles of them, and they are not cutting them down. The entire center of the state of Florida is full of hundreds upon hundreds of acres of infected citrus.
Of course, they will recommend I cut down mine, but what about the commercial growers? It is a commercial crop that would take many years to recover, so 'they' aren't being told to do this. Instead, they
have lobbyists. Me, one little citrus tree, and I cut down mine? I think not. When they cut theirs, I'll cut mine. I'm informed, and careful, but certainly not a sheeple. In the meantime, we all have orange juice.
Thank the ports of Miami for this, and their mistakes of importation. I am not going through this again, already heard the big fight a few years back over canker here. I did not have citrus then, but saw this whole thing go
full blown. My tree was inspected by the state of FL. dept of Agriculture and has a tag to prove it. What's that telling you? ;)

This message was edited Nov 17, 2011 1:33 PM

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