1. Lop Sided Citrus Splitzer
Julie wrote into us with a worry about her newly acquired Lemon & Lime Splitzer. She was concerned one side was larger than the other.
Our advice was to trim back the Meyer lemon side a little to balance up the plant.
In spring we also suggested that Julie remove the flowers from the lime side ( the smaller side) to encourage growth, not fruit.
This is the hardest advice to accept, as we know that you are all keen to get that first citrus fruit. When the plant is establishing itself the more pressure you can take off your plant, by removing early fruit, the better. Let the plant get strong and large, the crops of fruit will come, stressing your plant slows everything down.
In winter citrus are literally chilling out. You won't see much growth , do keep the water up to them, it’s cold but it can be dry so remember to check moisture levels particularly in pots.
2. Look at my yellow leaves!
Daniel writes -
"I'm a bit new to growing anything and I am concerned that the tree is dying. I was going to give it a feed of citrus liquid fertilizer not sure if it is the right time of year for that and if it will help with this problem? There are about 3 lemon or limes developing on the tree at the moment. I was also going to transplant this tree to a location that it gets the morning sun because in winter in its current location it is shaded though winter. I don't want to move it and kill it. it has been in this location for about 3-4 months"
Daniel your tree is very hungry, the yellow leaves are symptomatic of a lack of food through the growing season – Citrus are very heavy feeders!
However don't panic all will be well. During this winter period, let's improve your soil quality so that the tree will absorb and take up food when the weather warms up!
Compost or organic growing mix applied around the base of the tree then top with some sugar cane mulch or pea straw. Spread all this out and form a lovely delicious blanket.
We know you will resist, however if you remove the fruit the tree will cope a lot better….it's just a bit too young and stressed to hold fruit at this stage.
A seaweed solution every few weeks will be a sweet comforting treat. When Spring comes start feeding – A good organic complete fertiliser- You'll find more information about feeding in our FAQ's.
The tree will need at least 8 hours of sunshine – if you feel you want to move it wait until spring cut it right back and gently move it then…..however improve the soil with compost. Good luck, be confident and keep us up to date with how your tree is improving.
3. Where’s the fruit?
Margaret from South Australia has written in with this query….
- About 4 years ago now I bought a Splitzer – Orange and Lime. It flowered the first year, but didn't set fruit. The second year I had flowers and one only orange – which ripened and I ate it. Yum. The next two years, no flowers, no fruit. I have fed it, tip pruned it lightly last year (it hasn't grown much).
Obviously I am doing something wrong.
Margaret it's not that you're doing something wrong, it may be just that you're not doing enough? Citrus are very heavy feeders. If the plant isn't growing it is possibly because it is short on A)TUCKER B)SUNSHINE C) WATER. These are the three VITAL and most consistent things for success!
Apply all purpose plant food – organic is best or a citrus fertiliser at least 3 times annually. In addition and in between feeds use tonics seaweed or blood and bone.
Full sun and heat is required to bring on plenty of flowers and consistent watering will keep the fruit on.
A good hard cut back in late august a good feed may be just the thing.
Be persistent and consistent it will happen, the fruit will come.
Thanks for your question Margaret.
This is a Citrus Splitzer in the orchard that is four years old ….full sun plenty of food and consistent watering.
4. When do I repot
Knowing when to repot your citrus can be tricky…..however the simple rule of thumb is does the plant look too big for the pot?
If you can keep the water and the food up to the plant then you really don't have to repot. Citrus will stress if they dry out or get hungry. They display this stress with yellow leaves or mottling. The leaves may drop off or you'll notice a thinning in the foliage, as the plant is unable to support it's growth….If your decision is to repot to a larger pot this is what we suggest.
Select a new pot that is only one or two sizes up from the old pot….going too large can be counterproductive
Use a premium potting mix
Make sure the pot is going to drain away water when planted. Cover the drain holes with broken pottery or stones then add the potting mix.
Remove a good few millimetres of the old layer of potting mix.
Seat the plant down well into the new pot top up and around with the new potting mix and leave a space from the top on the pot to the top of the potting mix of about 10 – 20 mm. This allows room for plenty of water without spillage and fertiliser wash out.
Add in your controlled release fertiliser.
Water in well and top up with extra potting mix in need.
Avoid punching, hard pressing or squishing in the potting mix. The water will move the mix into any air spaces and you can really hurt and damage the citrus roots by this aggressive and unnecessary procedure.
You may wish to give your citrus a little hair cut to encourage it to grow wide in it's new pot?
Stand back….Well Done, your citrus tree will thank you.
5. What if my lemon grows faster than the lime?
We have endeavoured to select a combination in your Citrus Splitzer® that has
similar vigour to each other. It still could happen that one may grow faster than
the other. If this happens you have some options that may correct the situation.
Firstly, reduce the fruit load on the one that is slower growing. The more fruit on
any citrus the less the growth. You can use this to adjust your Citrus Splitzer and
keep the growth even. At any time you can prune your Citrus Splitzer to even up
the growth or just generally keep it to the size and shape you require.
6. Will my Citrus Splitzer grow well in a large plant pot?
Yes, we recommend a container of 40cm diameter or larger. Our modern
Garden Centres have a fantastic range of decorator pots that will match with
your garden décor. Your Citrus Splitzer® has been grown in a high quality
Debco potting mix. We recommend that you choose a Debco mix as it has the
features required for your Citrus Splitzer to grow well.
7. The flowers are dropping off my Citrus Splitzer, am I doing something wrong?
Citrus in general have many more flowers than they will have fruit. It is natural
for flowers to drop and also for some of the fruit that sets to drop during the
fruiting period. If the plant is under stress during the flowering and fruit setting
period the amount off drop will be increased. During this time ensure your
Citrus Splitzer® is kept moist without being over wet. This will help your plant to
set its fruit. Remember young citrus will be more prone to this as they will not
have a well developed root system.
8. Will the bees get confused and cross pollinate my plants?
Bees will move from plant to plant as normal. Tahiti Lime and Navel orange are
seedless and will not cross pollinate. Meyer lemon will as normal cross pollinate
with other Citrus. Cross pollination is a natural occurrence and will not be affected
by a double grafted plant.
9. If my tree is full of fruit will it become weak?
If your Citrus Splitzer® has a heavy crop then it will be busy growing fruit and may
not grow itself. This is fine with a well established plant but with younger plants
you may be better off reducing the crop to get some increased size in your plant.
It can happen in citrus that if a tree has a very heavy crop then the next year it
may have a rest and only set a light crop. If this is happening to your Citrus
Splitzer then our advice is to hand thin the heavy crop to about two thirds. This
should even out your cropping.
10. I am worried about gall wasp attacking my Citrus Splitzer®, what can I do?
In areas where gall wasp is a problem the main control method is to remove all
galls by the end of august before they hatch. The removed galls should be
placed in a plastic bag and put in the rubbish. It is important to do the above or
the problem will get worse.