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Anna, Teacher, writer, biologist
Category: General
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for an arborist -- Background: I have a Ponderosa lemon tree

Resolved Question:

for an arborist --
Background: I have a Ponderosa lemon tree that we planted at least 9 years ago. For the past 4 years it's been producing lemons, lots of lemons. It's now grown enough that I have to use a "grabber" to reach a few of the highest lemons. (I'm 5 feet tall.) 5 years ago we trimmed a few wayward branches, but that's the only attention the tree's gotten other than watering.
Current: I just put a bit of all-purpose tree fertilizer around in the soil (following the package directions carefully, not next to the trunk). Also, because we've gotten an unseasonable warm spell here in south Texas, the tree has budded out again. It had just finished producing a crop in early January, and now it looks as if it's trying again.
3 Questions: 1. Can I let nature take its course with this second crop so close on the heels of the first, or should I do something --and if so, what?
2. Should the tree be trimmed? Can I do it myself, and if so, how? If I need a professional, what should I look for in choosing one?
3. What other maintenance or special care should this tree be getting at this stage in its life?
Thank youl.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  Anna replied 4 years ago.

I apologize that no one has responded to your question sooner. Different experts come online at various times. I just came online and saw your question. I am not an arborist (I don't believe there is one here in the General category), but am a biologist. Would you like me to help you with your question?

Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Yes, please. I'll take any help I can get, because otherwise nothing is going to get done to this wonderful tree.
Expert:  Anna replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for getting back to me. I’m working on your answer and will post it as soon as I have it typed up. Please don’t respond to this post as that can lock me out of the question. I’ll be back shortly.

Expert:  Anna replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for waiting. Ponderosa lemons don't normally need much trimming or pruning. You should prune out any dead or damaged branches, and also any that are crossing or rubbing on other branches. The tree should be fertilized during the growing season, but not during the winter. However, since it is budding again, that is an indication that growing season is here. The only other routine care you need to do is check the pH of your soil. Ponderosa lemons do best with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. If yours is too high, you can get soil amendments to adjust it at a garden center or nursery. Agricultural sulfur is one such product. Provide water during drought, but make sure the soil is well-drained, nothing will kill a lemon tree faster than standing in soggy soil. Once the trees are established (and yours is), they need very little care beyond what I've described. They tend to set no more fruit than what they can grow successfully, so you can leave the buds alone. However, it also won't hurt to thin them out by removing a number of them if you're afraid the tree will be stressed.

You probably don't need a specialist unless the tree is showing signs of disease or pests. If you decide to consult one, just look for a certified arborist. There are a lot of companies billing themselves as 'tree care specialists' and similar titles, but a certified arborist has attended college to become an expert in tree care and has passed a test, as well. This link will take you to a directory of certified arborists so you can find the nearest one:

If you have more questions, let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope you continue to enjoy many lemons from your tree.


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