Lemon tree problem

I have this tree that was in shock when we bought the home 4 years ago. We live in a desert climate and it hadn’t been watered. Since then we have done everything to bring it back.

I think it is a lemon tree but the fruit only gets about an inch in diameter then drops to the ground. I cut one open one time and it was very juicey, kinda tasted like lemon.

Leaves are beautiful, full green, Thorn bush type tree about 7 ft high.

Here’s my question: do I have a lemon tree that is still not able to produce fruit and is dropping its fruit early? What can I do to change the situation? And, if it’s not a full lemon tree, are there any such thing as miniature lemons?




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Citrus trees do self thin — they set a lot of fruitlets and then drop many of them at about one inch size. However, it’s strange that your tree does not keep even a single fruit. It’s possible that the grafted variety has died at some point and the rootstock has taken over.

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Wow, Does that mean it may never produce fruit?

It’s difficult to say what exactly goes on, given limited info in your photo and description. Try to locate the graft union at the lower part of the trunk.

Lemons and limes do have thorns (at least most of them), so that is a good sign. Try to get a shot of the tree at the trunk. Does this look like a grafted tree? I see lots of growth near the ground, could there be rootstock taking over?

I almost wonder if it is a seedling tree. This isn’t so common, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen one before. Made teeny tiny gross lemons.

You can always graft over it and get something you want! Rootstock that wants to grow in the desert is good to have.

Here’s a pic of the trunk…

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I’d guess you have a lime tree. Limes are yellow when ready. They are picked green for supermarket marketing to make people think limes are green and lemons yellow.

From the trunk pic, I am not entirely sure the tree is grafted, but if it is (and all purchased nursery trees are) it DOES look like there suckers that have grown up. On the right side you can see an unbroken line from ground on up.

The fruit in your picture does look more lime like, but 1" is still on the small side. I’m not very familiar with calamondins or yuzu but those are smaller - maybe someone else could say.

If this were at my house, I’d make some decisions about whether I wanted fruit or greenery, and probably graft over this tree. Or replace it with something you do like to eat, if it’s not performing other duties (like screening or shading).

If you are in California then you are very much in luck to have access to the CCCP and all the virus free budwood in their collection. I am in Arizona, and we do not have a state curated budwood source.

From what I read, anyone outside of California (except for Texas and Florida) can request budwood from CCPP


It may be more expensive though, based on Arizona quarantine laws.

Based on the fruit size and general lime characteristics, it sounds like a Key Lime.

Watever it ends up being, one thing is certain. That baby needs a good thinning. Might even help out a little with the fruit drop.

Looks like key lime to me. KLs are yellow when ready and golf ball sized.