Answers to your questions (part 2)

Answers to your questions (Part 2)


For a second week, here are answers to your questions, dear readers. 

Q. I have problems with my lemon tree and my orange tree. They make a lot of flowers, but they almost all fall off. In addition, I find that there are not enough leaves growing. What is the cause of the lack of fruits and leaves?

Ms Wu 

Pot grown orange tree

R. First you need to know that a mature orange tree can produce over 100,000 flowers, but only 1-2% of these will bear fruit. It is quite normal for the majority of citrus blossoms to fall to the ground without setting fruit. However, here are some tips for giving your orange and lemon trees a little boost to allow them to produce some fruit. I imagine that as I write these lines, your two plants are inside your house. I remind you that it is important to bring in citrus fruits that have spent the summer outside when the air temperature drops below 13°C. This time usually occurs in September in the southern part of our province. Anticipate the weather to prevent your citrus fruits from being affected by an early frost.

Indoors, place your citrus fruits in front of a south-facing window. It is important that they are as close as possible to the window so that they are hit by as much light as possible. Also periodically rotate the pots so that all their leaves are well touched by the sun's rays. However, in late winter and spring, be sure to move them away a bit so they don't get scorched by the harsh rays of the sun. If you keep your house temperature between 20 and 22°C, this works well for the majority of citrus fruits.

I recommend that you water your citrus trees only when the top two centimeters of soil in their pot are dry. During the winter, water your citrus fruits about once a week. If you live in the greater Montreal area or in the St. Lawrence lowlands, where the soil is calcareous – with a pH greater than 7.5 –, it is advisable not to use water from the municipal aqueduct or a well to water your citrus fruits. By regularly watering the citrus fruits with hard water, this has the effect of gradually raising the pH of the soil in which they are planted, whereas these prefer a pH between 5.5 and 7.

Since the amount of soil in a container is very small, the nutrients found there are quickly drawn by the plants or washed away by frequent watering. In order for them to have good growth, flower and fruit abundantly, citrus fruits therefore need a regular supply of fertilizer. During the winter, it is best to fertilize them only once a month. On the other hand, during the period of growth and development – ​​from March to October – give fertilizer to your citrus fruits every seven to ten days. Once spring arrives, the best time to put your citrus trees outside is when all chance of frost is virtually nil in your area. This moment occurs towards the end of May or the beginning of June depending on the location. Do not place your citrus fruits in direct sunlight to avoid sunburn. Acclimate them by placing them in a semi-shaded spot for a few days before moving them to full sun. Your citrus fruits will perform at their best with a minimum of 6 hours of sunshine.

I hope these tips will help you enjoy a few oranges or lemons in the coming months! < /p>

Q. I planted an arctic kiwi in my garden a few years ago. It is not yet producing fruit. What do you suggest I do to make it finally bear fruit?

Mr. Létourneau

Arctic Kiwi

R. The production of arctic kiwi usually begins 4 to 5 years after planting, provided however that a male plant and a female plant are planted close to each other! The female flowers – which will produce fruit – are borne on separate plants from the male flowers. For example, Pascha is a male variety and September Sun is a female cultivar that offers good production. You should also know that the flowers of kiwis, which usually bloom in May, can be affected by late frosts, which prevents fruit production.

Arctic kiwifruit benefits from being planted in full sun or in partial shade, in compost-rich, cool, well-drained soil. On the other hand, I strongly recommend that you spread compost (2 cm thick over a diameter of 60 cm) at the base of each plant as well as a few handfuls of a slow release natural fertilizer with formulation  5-3-8. In addition, spray liquid algae mixed with water (1 teaspoon per liter of water) on the foliage of your plants once every ten or fifteen days during the months of May, June and July. /p>