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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Meyer Lemon With Few Fruit

Q. Our Meyer lime is full of blooms.  In previous years it has yielded lots of fruit.  However, last year the blooms were abundant but all of the bloom fell off and we had a crop of one lime.  What happened? 

Meyer lemon flowers
A. This is probably Meyer Lemon. Can be difficult to say exactly but we can start to narrow it down. The major culprits are irrigation, late spring freezes and poor pollination.

            Meyer lemon is self-pollinating which means it can pollinate itself. However there does seem to be some evidence that bees will increase fruit set and the number of fruit produced. Check your fruit and see if you lots of seed. If you do have lots of seed then a lack of pollination was probably not the problem. If there were just a couple of seed then maybe the tree needs access to more bee activity.

            If we have a late spring freeze then it is possible that the flowers were killed after pollination resulting in poor fruit set. This can happen some years. If this might be the cause then try to restrict cold winter and late spring winds from directly landing on the tree. Use a wind barrier after or during bloom but don’t cover the tree and restrict bee activity.

            If the tree is not being watered evenly, a very dry and wet cycle or even one very dry period during or slightly after bloom can cause fruit drop.

            Watch how you prune. Prune right after harvest which should be December and no later than the first part of January. If you delay harvesting the fruit into the spring then this can interrupt the normal flowering and fruiting cycle.

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