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Sunday, December 17, 2017

When to Repot Lime and Lemon in Containers

Q. We have a Meyer lemon and Bearss lime in clay pots. The pots are deteriorating and the trees should be replanted into other pots. In the desert, what time of year is best to transplant these trees into new containers?

A. Put fruit trees into new pots in late Winter or the beginning of Spring. In our Las Vegas climate, this would be from mid-January until sometime in February. Bearss lime is sensitive to mild freezing temperatures. Myers lemon tolerates cold temperatures better.
Myers lemon grown in northern Afghanistan in protected houses for commercial sale
            If they are kept outside, wait until the coldest weather of winter has passed before repotting them. Plants growing in containers or pots need their soil “refreshed”, or the plant repotted, every 3 to 4 years to prevent a slow decline in health.
            Replanting or repotting is not difficult if the containers and plants are relatively small; the plant is gently eased from the container, roots and soil around the edge of the root ball is shaved off, and the plant placed back into the container with fresh soil or container mix surrounding the rootball.
            If plants are large, the soil still needs to be refreshed every few years. Perhaps one way is to auger vertical holes throughout the rootball, while still in the container, and backfill these holes with new soil mix.
            Auguring holes into the rootball damages plant roots but the old container soil must be refreshed. Another method is removing the root ball from the container, removing old soil with a strong stream of water, pruning some of the roots and repotting it.
            Prune the top back when finished to compensate for any root damage during repotting.

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