En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - March 20, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Mid-summer watering needs of non-native dwarf Meyer Lemon tree in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Central Texas outside Austin city limits. I've recently purchased a dwarf Meyer lemon tree and planted it in a large pot. It's doing very well. I will be out-of-state from July through mid-August. Can you make any suggestions how to keep my tree alive for six weeks during the summer? Since I don't live in town, having someone come by to water the tree is not an option. I really like this tree, I don't want to lose it. Your help is greatly appreciated.

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which those plants are being grown. This is because a plant native to an area is adapted to climate, envirionment, soils and rainfall and has a better chance of surviving in adverse conditions. The Meyer Lemon is a lemon tree brought from China in 1905 by a man named Meyer, thus the name. However, even if it were a native plant, and native to Central Texas, we do not believe it could survive the conditions which you describe.

On the website from Martha Stewart.com Dwarf Meyer Lemon, the necessary conditions for this plant are listed, including this excerpt:

"Water when top few inches of soil are dry but rest of root zone is slightly moist. Lemon trees require moisture all year, especially during active growth from late winter or early spring through summer, when fruit is developing."

How are you caring for the rest of your garden during your absence? If you have an automatic sprinkler system, perhaps the lemon tree could be moved in range of that system, or some portion of the system redirected. The tree will not survive 6 weeks without moisture in Texas in the middle of our very hot summers. We went online looking for commercial solutions to your problem. The best product we saw was unfortunately on a website from the U.K., so we ignored that one. We did find a site from Gardener's Supply Company on Watering which had some suggestions. We have no experience with a system of this sort, and suggest you first try a home improvement store with a nursery department and see if they have something to suggest.

Since this tree is considered hardy to USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11, and Wimberley is in Zone 8a, you are probably going to have to bring it in during the winter anyway. Sorry we couldn't be of more help.

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Identification of spiky red berry in Connecticut
September 25, 2011 - I found an odd berry outside of my school, none of the science teachers know what it is though. It kind of looks like a spiked cherry. It has spikes on the outside, a pit on the insde, and has pinkish...
view the full question and answer

Non-native sedum 'Burrito' sunburned in Providence RI?
June 28, 2010 - I have a sedum burrito that I keep outside and receives bright sun for around 6 hours a day. it looks like it's getting sunburned, the leaves are getting shriveled and browning on the tips. I've bro...
view the full question and answer

Repotting non-native Agave ghiesbreghtii from Spring TX
June 03, 2012 - I've recently purchased an Agave ghiesbreghtii, and will need to re-pot it soon. I have some cactus soil mix as well as a few rocks to put in the bottom of its new pot. There seem to be roots comi...
view the full question and answer

Cutting back of non-native Salvia Elegans in Portland OR
December 31, 2011 - I did not trim back my pineapple sage in the fall. It is now winter and the plants are bare sticks. Should I cut them back or leave them alone?
view the full question and answer

Will Mountain Laurels be harmed by juglones from my pecan tree?
May 06, 2009 - Hi. I just bought a house. It has a big pecan tree at the edge of the front lawn next to the street. I guess it's about 25 feet from the front of the house. I was thinking of planting mountain la...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center