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A friend of mine gave me well-established lime and lemon trees. They're about four years old, two or three feet tall. She's moving and can't take them with her. The lemon tree is doing relatively well: it's lost two leaves in the last ten days.

But the lime tree isn't doing well at all. It's dropped more than half its leaves. They seem fine, nicely green and healthy, but then just drop off. It has the same light conditions (we both have windows facing the same direction), and I'm watering it on the same schedule as she was.

Could the stress from the move (about ten blocks, walking) be causing this? How can I help it recover? I'd really like to see it healthy again.

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It might be transition shock from being walked outside for a while, but inspect the leaves closely, preferably with a magnifying glass, undersides particularly, but look at the top as well. It might have citrus mite and you can't see the mites without a magnifying glass, or scale insect is another possible problem, though these are easier to see with the naked eye.

If the lime tree is larger than the lemon, it might be it needs a new pot, or the watering regime isn't quite appropriate for it - water thoroughly when the top of the compost feels slightly dry to touch.

  • Well, it's stopped dropping its leaves now. I don't think one's fallen off in a about a week. What do the mites or insects look like? Google images isn't helping much. – Michael Mar 18 '14 at 18:45
  • surprised you can't find images, there's loads. Anyway, scale insect can be soft or hard bodied, the hard ones look like little shields, often brown in colour, clustered on the stems, or they can be soft yellowish looking bumps on the backs of leaves. Citrus mite is a group term for tiny pests - you'd see something on the backs of the leaves, tiny little objects or something like a tiny spider. Usually, with both pests, there'll be evidence on the plant, such as silvery markings on the leaves, or small, damaged areas. If its stopped dropping though, it was most likely transition shock. – Bamboo Mar 19 '14 at 9:35

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