Baby Lemons Fall Off

I have a young Meyer lemon tree that I planted in a large pot on my patio this past spring. It gets flowers, but the little mini-lemons fall off before long, never getting even close to full size. What causes the lemons to fall off and how can I remedy the situation?
Thanks.
-Fleemo
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On 5 Jul 2005 16:46:14 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

Possible lack of pollination?
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I seem to have plenty of bees, especially Carpenter Bees, buzzing about my garden, and don't seem to have any problem with pollination of other plants. I guess I could take a camel's hair brush to the blossoms and try and hand pollinate them, see if that helps.
-Fleemo
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On 5 Jul 2005 20:42:15 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

I just take my finger and brush it over each flower. Many times if you still have a reasonable number of fruits left after the drop, it can be considered a natural thinning. That is, provided your watering and fertilization practices are proper. I fertilize my lemon and key lime trees with a healthy dose of compost on top of the soil, and liquid seaweed sprays on the foliage. The seaweed has shown to decrease the infestations of red spider mites. Scale is also a problem for citrus, so check carefully for scale on the bark. Pruning citrus is also important. You should not top the tree, but you should remove any branches growing in toward the center, anything shading the fruit, and certainly anything dead.
There is a lot of information about backyard citrus. Do a search and you will find endless information on fertilization schedules, etc.
victoria
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Bourne Identity wrote:

Actually, citrus does not require pollination to set fruit. Only in commercial orchards do they encourage bees, in order to increase the size of the crop. In a home garden, you should get sufficient fruit without worrying about pollination.
Citrus is self-thinning. Fruit falls off if more is started than the tree can support. Other causes of fruit-drop include improper watering (too much or too little), poor drainage, lack of zinc, and insect damage (especially spider mites, which are often too tiny to see).
--

David E. Ross
<URL:http://www.rossde.com/
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the tree can support. Other causes of fruit-drop include improper watering (too much or too little), poor drainage, lack of zinc, and insect damage<
Thanks for your input David. The tree is rather small, only about three feet tall. Perhaps it's not ready to form fruit yet? I'm also wondering about the watering. What kind of watering schedule do citrus, and lemons in particular, like? I water the tree along with the rest of my patio pots, which seem to do fine with a good soaking every two or three days.
-Fleemo
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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

Three feet is good for a dwarf citrus. If it's not a dwarf, it might never bear fruit while planted in a container. My dwarf Eureka lemon is about three feet tall and has about 20 full-size ripe lemons plus smaller green lemons that are still maturing. In the past month, I've already picked about five lemons; so it may have had over two dozen.
Where I live, my potted citrus gets watered at least every other day. However, they are all in either redwood tubs or terra cotta pots, both with drain holes. Also, they are all elevated on bricks above concrete rounds. Thus, with my home-made potting mix, any excess water drains away very quickly. Citrus are very sensitive to poor drainage.
Note that, with frequent watering and excellent drainage, container-grown citrus requires frequent light feedings. Nitrogen, iron, and zinc quickly leach away and need to be replaced. Never feed when the soil is dry; otherwise, you will burn the roots (another cause of fruit drop).
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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Thank you for the info, David. I think my plan of action will be to pick up some citrus fertilizer for regualr fertilizing, making sure it gets watered every other day, and perhaps, as Victoria suggested, experiement with some hand-pollenating.
Wish me luck (and lemons!).
-Fleemo
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If they weren't pollinated, I don't think they would product any fruit, no matter how small. The most common reason for citrus fruits to abort around these parts -- Wisconsin, Zone 5 -- is lack or humidity or a moisture problem, which could be too much (the usual) or too little.
Good luck! Suzy O
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Suzy O wrote:

What citrus grows in Wisconsin? Have you ever heard of June drop?
--

Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8
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Suzy O wrote:

Citrus is apomictic. That means fruit can be formed (and even viable seeds) without pollination. Citrus is also self-thinning, dropping any fruit that exceeds the plant's ability to support to ripening.
Common causes of fruit-drop in citrus is either a lack of zinc or improper watering.
Zinc used to be found in commercial citrus food, but I notice it is now lacking. If you can find a very small sack of zinc sulfate, buy it. Use only about one large pinch per container once in 1-2 months during the growing season. Zinc is also good for gardenias; a lack causes the flower buds to drop without opening.
Allowing the plant to get too dry and then compensating by overwatering will cause ctirus fruit-drop. Citrus (and most fruits, including annual fruits such as tomatoes) require constant moisture. For citrus, however, this does NOT mean wet soil. In the ground, it's okay for the top inch or two of soil to get quite dry before watering; this could mean watering once a week or even less frequently. In a container with a well-draining mix, daily watering might be necessary. Note however that daily watering a container-grown citrus in a well-draining mix will quickly leach away nutrients, requiring frequent LIGHT feeding.
--

David E. Ross
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