I bought a lemon tree last week - a lemonlicious dwarf - potted it, beautiful leaves, was doing beautifully, came out one morning and it's dropped every single one of it's leaves except 1 - there's ants down at the root stem. Used good quality potting mix, blood and bone, and it seemed to be going well. Any ideas?
Oh dear @hellsbells, sorry to read of your new lemon tree.
Welcome to the Workshop community. We're looking forward to reading all about your projects and plans for around the house and garden. Feel free to post anytime you need a hand or have something to share with other members.
That's very disappointing, and frustrating for you!
Couple of things come to mind. Citrus are often quite susceptible to "transplant shock" and react by taking drastic action that the plant looks upon as self-preservation. Before potting up, did you thoroughly water the tree a couple of days before disturbing it, and when you did pot it up did you try not to disturb the root ball any more than absolutely necessary?
Watering well a few days before potting or planting allows the plant to absorb as much moisture as it can so it's well hydrated when you work on it. Citrus also dislike having their roots disturbed - they have relatively shallow, fibrous root systems and if these are damaged or unnecessarily teased out when repotting or planting, they will resent it and react by wilting, dropping leaves, etc.
Also when you potted it up, the process is to water it in thoroughly, and then leave it alone for several days to settle into its new situation. Sometimes leaf drop may result from over-watering - that is, the potting mix or soil being kept too moist over a period of time. Roots need oxygen, so it is best to thoroughly wet the potting mix so there is water running out the drainage holes in the base of the pot and then not water again until the top 5 - 10cm of soil is quite dry.
Coming into the winter months, don't over-water and don't add any more fertiliser other than what was used when you potted the tree up. You could use a weak seaweed solution (seaweed only, with no added fertiliser or trace elements) to assist the roots to establish in the pot. The tree can survive over winter without foliage. If it doesn't produce new growth come September, then it's likely it will not survive.
A point to bear in mind - make sure you keep the labels and your receipt. Many garden centres and plant retailers offer a plant guarantee these days so if your lemon doesn't come good, you may be able to have it replaced.
Welcome to the Workshop community @hellsbells. I'm sorry to hear about your unfortunate situation.
Just thought I would mention leading on from @Noelle's comment, that we also offer a perfect plant promise. All our plants are guaranteed for 12 months, so if you’re not 100% happy, return your plant (with receipt) and we’ll refund it. This does exclude seedlings, as well as potted colour (bloomers). Fantastic bit of peace of mind and assurance when making a plant purchase.
We look forward to hearing of your lemon tree making a full recovery and please do keep us updated.
I knew that but just in case the purchase wasn't made at Bunnings .. there are many garden centres also offering plant guarantees. Gives great peace of mind to every plant purchaser.