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

Failure to thrive of closet plant
August 13, 2008 - I have a closet plant that is old and was doing fine and then started having droopy leaves. It needed to be in a larger pot so I transplanted into a larger pot with new potting soil. It continues to...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Japanese maple for East Northport NY
August 20, 2013 - I live in NY and I am looking to plant a Japanese maple in front of my house. It would be in front of a window so I'm thinking should I get a dwarf? Or a semi dwarf? I know I want a red color but un...
view the full question and answer

Non-native. Why are my potted Royal Empress trees dying?
June 22, 2009 - I have purchased several Royal Empress trees over the past two years. Why won't they grow? Some sprouted leaves and then died while in the pots I planted them in. While others, that are 2 years old ...
view the full question and answer

Will native plants become invasive from Grapevine TX
February 23, 2013 - Main Question - I want to convert my front and back yards into a native plant sanctuary but worry about if these plants growing out of control/invasive and if neighbors will complain about these "wee...
view the full question and answer

Identification of non-native Grape Hyacinth
April 13, 2013 - Mr Smarty Plants, can you tell me please, what is the name of the flower in the attached link? I see numerous references to it as blue bells or bluebells, but when I check the USDA Plants database, no...
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