lack of new leaf growth on meyer lemon

Asked May 3, 2020, 9:18 PM EDT

I had 4 meyer lemon plants in pots and after 3 years decided to put them in the ground. I covered the trees when the temp got down below 35 degrees F and water and fertilize regularly. One tree dropped all its leaves and never regained any new leaves. I dug up the tree and found that the fine roots had died and only the main root and a shoot were present and short. The other trees retained some leaves but the remaining leaves are curling and there is no new leaf growth or blooms even though I water regularly and have fertilized and added some liquid seaweed to the soil.

Bexar County Texas

1 Response


Limes and Lemon trees are very cold sensitive and should be grown in containers as followed by the patio citrus brochure on the Aggie Horticulture website. Unless, you have deep soils and a microclimate location that is protected during the winter time from the cold Northern winds.

The yellowing is caused by transplant shock and root disturbance, cold damage, possibly planted to deep, transplanted at the wrong time of the year as well as starving for nutrition.

Since the plant has been disturbed by planting, redigging, etc. just leave it where it is in the landscape.

Ideally hardy citrus selections should be planted in the landscape in the months of April and May after they have been sized up in containers. Carefully removing the tree from the container and loosening up the roots is often needed as well.

Fertilize the plant in early March, now (ideally next year in June), and early September with one pound of premium 19-5-9 slow-release fertilizer per every three feet of height lightly scratched in and thoroughly watered in.

Also, check the depth of the tree in the soil as it's probably planted to deep in the ground.

Happy Gardening!

David Rodriguez -Extension Horticulturist
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
Bexar County/San Antonio