Fern Elementary | Project Lemon Tree | BizgenicsA year later, we were back at Fern Elementary School in Kalihi to visit Jessica Canyon’s class and checkup on the Project Lemon Tree installation. We’re happy to report that all four meyer lemon trees are healthy and producing lemons!

Scale & Ants Removed

One tree had ants harvesting scale bugs. Students were taught today how to scrub off scale with toothbrushes and diluted dish soap (two tablespoons Dawn brand per gallon). Dawn soap has a special bubble additive that also has unique results in repelling bugs. Ant bait was also recommended to keep ants from supporting bugs on trees. A regime of spraying the scale-infested plant was set up for once a week for a month with Dawn soap or Neem oil, both organic solutions. After that, spraying once a month for all trees was recommended to keep bugs away, especially when leaves are young. It was also recommended that buggy plants like hibiscus and gardenias be kept a safe distance from lemon trees.

Pruning Shooters

All trees had “shooters,” sprouts from the rootstock that poke out from below the graft height where the preferred fruit branch was originally joined to the tree. Most fruit trees are grafted so that disease resistant rootstock can protect the tree while best fruit branched added above. Rootstock generally produce inferior or no fruit so you always want to be on the lookout for shooters and remove them. Shooters occur more so when the tree is young and the lower trunks are exposed to sunlight. When trees mature and shade out lower trunks, shooters will be be much less likely. One tree had shooters that had grown so much that the shooters were much taller than the preferred meyer lemon branch. When trimmed off, the tree was only 1/3 the size. But if they were not trimmed, the preferred fruit branch would eventually be shaded out and die.

Training Branches

Branches were also trained up onto the trellises. This is important in the longterm as the lemons will eventually get heavy and drag down to the soil or even break off the tree. Until lemon trees are older, support skeletons are useful to helping lemon trees grow well.

Lotsa Lemons!!!

Fern Elementary | Project Lemon Tree | BizgenicsThe really good news is that all trees have many lemons only after one year of growth. great job Fern Elementary!!!


Author: steve