Repot/Root Pruning Dwarf Lime - Timing

WineBarrelNZApril 6, 2013

Hi All,

I should start out by saying that I am a novice at every gardening level. A friend of mine has begun growing dwarf citrus trees in containers and started enlightening me to how bad I have treated our dwarf lime.

7 years ago I gave my girlfriend a dwarf lime in a square concrete pot. 300mm (12 inches) by 300mm (12 inches) wide and 500mm (20 inches) tall. It has been in the same potting mix the entire 7 years.

Now that I know how bad this is for the tree I want to repot and root prune it. I have bought a half wine barrel, drilled for drainage and the ingredients for Al's 5 1 1 mix.

I have read that the best time to repot and root prune citrus trees is Spring. It is currently halfway through Autumn in New Zealand. The tree has a lot of limes on it, we have had maybe 5 limes off the tree the others are not ready. My priority is to do the right thing for the tree, I don't mind losing the crop of limes.

I would love some advice on my best course of action. Do I need to wait till Spring or can I repot and root prune now? If now would it best to remove the fruit?

Thanks in advance for any help or comments.

Dom

This post was edited by WineBarrelNZ on Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 20:14

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I'd depot it, cut off the bottom 1/4 of the root mass, cut some deep vertical slits in the remaining root mass (with a utility knife or equal) and pot up temporarily until spring. I'm guessing you might have some difficulty getting it out of the pot.

Al

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 8:55PM
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WineBarrelNZ

Thanks Al,

Yes I think I may have to break the pot to remove the poor tree.
Do you think I should remove the fruit before repotting or is this not a factor?

Thanks again,
Dom

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 12:02AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

It sort of depends on how much of the root system you delete when you prune. I think I'd bite the bullet on my first root pruning & remove the fruit to ensure a faster recovery. Blooms and fruit are a plant's strongest energy sinks, so other organs will get short shrift insofar as energy allocation is concerned when the plant is blooming/fruiting. The pecking order of energy sinks is flowers - fruits - leaves - stems - roots. I even debloom and disbud the flowering plants that go into my mixed display containers to ensure faster root establishment.

Al

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 1:24PM
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WineBarrelNZ

Thanks so much for your help Al. Reading this and your other posts has given me the confidence to give root pruning a go :D

Thanks again,
Dom

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 4:02PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Good deal! At least 95% of the hobby growers out there have no inkling of how necessary root maintenance is to good health. You'll be glad for including it as part of your routine.

Al

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 7:54PM
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