Q. I found a Myers lemon at a store in California that looked much different than my Myers lemon; they were smaller, darker orange and seemed sweeter to me. Is this Myers lemon different from mine?
A. There are differences between fruit grown in one geographic location versus another geographic location. Sometimes we call these location differences “agroclimatic regions”.
|Both were labeled as Myers Lemon. The one on the right was bought in the store.|
Agroclimatic regions include differences in weather but also differences in soils. All these “differences” evoke changes in fruit quality, reflected in the quality attributes of the fruit. How the plant is managed or manipulated also creates changes in fruit quality.
We see these agroclimatic differences in vegetables and ornamental plants as well. Sometimes these differences are good and sometimes they are not. We don’t know until we grow these plants in different locations.
Fruit grown in the Mojave Desert does not have the same quality attributes as fruit grown in non-desert areas. There are many reasons for differences in ‘sweetness’, color and sugar content in fruit.
Sweetness or sugar content can be masked by the amount of acidity the fruit has. Fruit grown in the desert typically has high sugar content and lower acidity, so some desert grown fruit may taste bland compared to fruit grown in non-desert climates. Other fruit might be better.
Differences in fruit quality can be attributed to plant differences, agroclimatic regions, how the fruit is managed on the tree or after it is picked. Differences in fruit quality can be from the variety or plant selection, graftage, fruit maturity, climate and weather, plant nutrition, age of the tree, how much fruit is grown on the tree, and others.
Try fertilizing the trees with a good “citrus” fertilizer or compost. Change the amount of water the tree gets and try harvesting the fruit later or earlier. Minimize the length of time the fruit is kept in storage once it is picked and off the tree. Prolonged storage can reduce sugar content.