Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Freeze damage to non-native Alocasia portei in Alice, TX
February 15, 2010 - Alocasia portei family (I think). I have a palm type plant with finger-like broad leaves that grows its "palm like leaves" at the end of a curving trunk. These leave I trim back as new ones grow in...
view the full question and answer

Most invasive, noxious plant in U.S. from New York City.
November 26, 2012 - I was wondering, what is the most invasive/ noxious plant in the U.S? Thanks in advance.
view the full question and answer

Lawn Maintenance in Colorado
March 20, 2010 - When do I begin to fertilize and water my grass in Colorado Springs? I am selling my house and want my lawn to look green?
view the full question and answer

Elaeagnus sudden death in Waxahachie, TX
May 11, 2015 - I live in North Central Texas and have eleagnus planted along my fence in full sun. Last year one dropped all it's leafs and died. The same is happening to one beside it this year. I have sprayed ...
view the full question and answer

Thinning and culling wildflower seed mix plants
May 11, 2015 - Wildflower garden in central Oklahoma I sowed a (mostly) native wildflower mixture in early November here in my Zone 7A Edmond, OK garden. To my surprise, many of the seeds (I'm guessing annuals)...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.