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

Saturday - January 05, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Trees
Title: Protecting a non-native Meyer Lemon from Freezing in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What is the best way to protect my Meyer Lemon tree from freezing Austin weather? It has been planted in my yard for 1 year and is about 4 feet high

ANSWER:

We have 2 problems here: the first one is that the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but the area in which they are being grown (in this case, Travis County.) The Meyer Lemon is native to China, as are most citrus fruits.

The second problem is that, even if non-native plants were in our area of expertise (which they are not) we would not recommend this tree for Travis County. See this Texas A&M University Extension Home Fruit Production article on  Meyer Lemon, which notes:

"Lemons are among the most cold sensitive of all citrus. Because of the likelihood of damaging temperatures in most of Texas, lemon trees cannot be expected to survive for long outside the Valley unless special efforts are provided for cold protection."

This same article made this note about cold protection:

"Blankets, tarps or similar covers are also very effective and have the advantage of being quickly draped over the young tree. The corners should be stretched outward and tied down. More elaborate protection can be provided by erecting a frame structure of wood or PVC pipe over the plant to facilitate the use of plastic or large tarps during particularly severe cold weather. Supplemental heat can also be provided under the covers; incandescent heat lamps and Coleman lanterns are useful."

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Non-native pomegranate failing to fruit from Highland Village TX
October 20, 2012 - Last spring I planted a pomegranate tree (type: Wonderful) which is supposed to produce edible fruit. It had 5 or 6 absolutely beautiful blooms, but each of them dropped off and no sign of fruit. Is...
view the full question and answer

Replacements for non-native purple fountain grass in Austin
September 26, 2009 - Hi-- Just found out that the purple fountain grass I bought (fortunately on sale) is a) not native and b)not perennial. Dang it! If I can find the pots I'm taking it back. I have a part-shade wel...
view the full question and answer

Encouraging bloom on non-native Batwing Erythrina
July 18, 2007 - Hi! I have a Batwing Erythrina in the ground next to my driveway in full sun in Houston. It's nine years old and is about twenty feet tall, but it does not bloom. What can I do? Thanks for your s...
view the full question and answer

Replacement for non-native wisteria in Temecula CA
December 08, 2009 - We recently moved into a house that has a Wisteria bush that has taken over the patio cover. I wish to take it out because it is so messy and looks bad when it is dormant. I am trying to figure out ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native weeping willow in Inman SC
March 30, 2010 - I planted a weeping willow tree last summer and it thrived wonderfully. This year the buds have came out but it has yet to produce leaves where all the others in this area has. I am wondering maybe if...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center