HyperFerret
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Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:50 pm
Location: Arkansas, Zone 7

Help! My citrus tree is dieing!!

I have a tiny baby citrus tree. I don't really know what kind of citrus it is yet. I don't remember exactly when I bought it but I do know this is it's first fall. I've kept it outside in the planter that I bought it in. It was doing great with new growth and everything. It had about 6 or 7 or so little balls of fruit growing on it. All but 2 of the fruits had fallen off. I figured this was because the tree was too young to bare that many fruits. Anywho, when it started getting too cold I brought the tree indoors. Since then I've kept it indoors only.

I keep it in a 46 gallon bow front fish tank with a small plant light hanging over the tank. It was doing great. The two fruits have grown a bit larger and have changed from green to yellowish/faded orange. I would say the fruits are lemons but I noticed the oranges in the grocery store are really yellow for being an orange. Not to mention the shape of my fruits are no where near the typical shape of a lemon.

The citrus tree kinda began to drop it's leaves before I brought it indoors. When I did bring it in and put it in the fish tank the leaves started to look healthier. It even bloomed one more flower which gave out a new tiny ball of fruit. But not long after the flower wilted away from the fruit did the fruit eventually fall off. The other two fruits are still hanging on. One fruit is about two times bigger than the other. Though, both fruits are of the same color. Both fruits are right next to each other and they are weighing down the branch quite a bit. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to pick the fruits off now or wait?

I've been giving it the same care since I've brought the tree indoors. But for some reason it is dropping it's leaves like crazy! There are only 29 leaves left. There were soooooo many more leaves than that to begin with. And there is not any new growth happening anywhere. Some of the leaves will fall off green and then turn brown and dry up. Where the other leaves will turn brown and crispy while still on the tree.

So.... As I mentioned before, I've kept my tree in the same planter I bought it in. I haven't added anything to the soil. I thought about maybe transplanting it but I've been told not to mess with it while it was barring fruit. Sorry about the length. I tend to love to write/type. :roll: But anywho, Can anyone tell me what I'm doing wrong?

opabinia51
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Location: Victoria, BC

Grey are you out there? Or does anyone else have experience with citrus trees?

Newt
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Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

Hi Hyper Ferret,

Here's my thoughts. I'm going to put together what you have said in the order that I think could be helpful and the problem or part of the problem.
...a tiny baby citrus tree. ...when it started getting too cold I brought the tree indoors. The citrus tree kinda began to drop it's leaves before I brought it indoors.
If it was dropping leaves before you brought it in, I suspect that either the nights were too cold or the plant is rootbound and needs a new pot about 2" larger or both. A sudden change of temperature will cause leaf drop, so moving it indoors has also contributed to the problem.
I keep it in a 46 gallon bow front fish tank with a small plant light hanging over the tank. When I did bring it in and put it in the fish tank the leaves started to look healthier.
That leads me to think that it needed the warmer temps.
But not long after the flower wilted away from the fruit did the fruit eventually fall off. The other two fruits are still hanging on. Both fruits are right next to each other and they are weighing down the branch quite a bit. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to pick the fruits off now or wait?
It's not uncommon for young fruit trees to lose 80% to 90% of their first and second year crop and it's best to remove all the fruit so the tree can grow a strong root system.
As I mentioned before, I've kept my tree in the same planter I bought it in. I haven't added anything to the soil. I thought about maybe transplanting it but I've been told not to mess with it while it was barring fruit.

I've been giving it the same care since I've brought the tree indoors. But for some reason it is dropping it's leaves like crazy! And there is not any new growth happening anywhere.
With all that is going on with your little tree I suggest you take a look to see if it's rootbound. This is what it would look like. You will need to water a day or two before so the soil is moist and not too wet or too dry. GENTLY remove it from the pot.
https://msucares.com/lawn/tree_diseases/images/rootball.gif

If it's rootbound then it's time for a new pot.
https://www.dirtdoctor.com/view_question.php?id=70
https://www.ourgardengang.com/containerpotting.htm

Once you see new growth it would be best to use a citrus fertilizer. If you can't find one, use an organic one like fish emulsion to help your tree along.

Here's some info on growing citrus in pots and indoors.
https://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/gl_trees_shrubs_fruit/article/0,1785,HGTV_3647_3367487,00.html
https://www.fourwindsgrowers.com/solver/drop.html

Most common citrus for pots is calamondin, limes, kumquats, lemons and limequats. Take a look here to see if you can id what you have.
https://www.hungrymonster.com/Foodfacts/Citrus_Guide.cfm

Maybe these sketches of different citrus leaves will help as well.
https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/tropical/lecture_32/04m.jpg

Newt
Last edited by Newt on Sun Nov 12, 2006 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

HyperFerret
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Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:50 pm
Location: Arkansas, Zone 7

Wow, Newt, you're very resourceful! Thanks a lot, you're awesome!!

"The bound roots must be severed." Man, they weren't kidding when they said severed. I'm glad they had a picture to demonstrate what they were talking about. Whenever I transplanted something I only "massaged" the roots to loosen them.

"Soak the root ball in Garrett Juice and water." I've never heard of Garrett Juice. Is that something I can get from a grocery store or from a nursery? Does the Garrett Juice help stimulate new root growth?

When I transplant the tree into a pot 2" larger. Do I need a pot 2" wider or 2" deeper or both? By the way, looked at the pics of different citrus fruits. And um ... ewwww, the blood orange looked soooooo grody! LOL

Newt
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Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

Hyper Ferret, you are so very welcome! I'm glad you like the links. :) I have whole list of links bookmarked that I use over and over again, so it isn't any trouble to find them.

If the rootball is tightly bound and teasing the roots isn't enough, you can sever them to stimulate new growth. If you can loosen the rootball enough for water to be easily absorbed in the center, and for the roots to be able to move out into the soil, then you don't need to sever them.

Here's the recipe for organic Garrett juice. Sorry about that. Don't worry if you don't have all the ingredients. You can use an organic fertilizer like fish emulsion or fish emulsion mixed with sea weed and that will help your little tree. You can purchase these in liquid form from most garden centers. The fish emulsion smells unpleasant when you open it, so be warned NOT to breathe deeply! :shock:
https://www.dirtdoctor.com/view_question.php?id=156

Usually pots are the same height as width, so measuring from top to bottom or across the top should be fine. When in doubt go with the height unless it's an oddly shaped pot or a tall and narrow one. You want enough room for the roots to move out into the soil without getting compacted, but not too much room that the soil will stay too wet.

Sorry about the blood orange. It does look unappealing but I understand it's yummy. Were you able to id your friut tree?

Newt

HyperFerret
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Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:50 pm
Location: Arkansas, Zone 7

I am so saving all of these sites that you give me into my favorites!! Once I have the Garrett juice made up, how long do I let the root ball soak in there? Is it possible to over sever the roots? I have yet to check my root ball, I'm just wanting to be prepared.

By looking at the pics of fruit I was still unsure of what mine would be. Seeing how my fruits were really yellowish and oddly shaped. When I looked at the leaf drawings, my guess would have been the tangerine, due to the rigidness of the leaf.

Since then I have taken my tree outside (for photo quality purposes) and I pulled off the fruit. For fun and not sure of what to expect, I split open the two fruits. Oranges they are! ...Or tangerines or something along those lines. Again, they were small, yellow on the outside, and oddly shaped. But they had a very sweet and juicy taste!!!

Now, that I have the fruit taken off, I can concentrate on the tree itself. I'm gonna try everything you've told me to do. I hope I can get it to survive through the winter. I'll have you know, I greatly appreciate all of your help! I have many pictures of the tree of when it was healthy and pictures of it's current condition. I've just figured out how to get my pics on the web. Would you like to actually see what's going on with my tree?

Newt
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Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

If you make the Garrett juice don't forget to mix it with water. You could use 2 tablespoons to a gallon of water. Soak for about 30 to 60 minutes. You will want to be sure the entire center of the rootball gets soaked. Of course alot depends on the size of the rootball. If it's a small one you could soak for 15 to 30 minutes.

It is possible to over sever the roots. The idea is to loosen them or sever ti release them so new roots can form and move out into the soil. If the roots are so bound that you can't tease them out, make about four cuts around the rootball, from top to bottom of the rootball for a small plant.

I'm guessing you know how to search on google for images of oranges, etc. If not, lmk. I would like to see the pics of your before and after tree.

Btw, I just realized that I gave you the wrong link before for repotting. The first link to the rootbound pot was correct, but the second one was wrong and was pictures of houseplants. I've corrected it in the post, but here it is again. It shows how to pot up your plants.
https://www.ourgardengang.com/containerpotting.htm

Newt

peachguy
Senior Member
Posts: 159
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 2:01 am
Location: Ontario

Citrus trees can be a little finicky sometimes bt when you know what to do they are pretty easy. Citrus trees like well draining soil especially when they are in pots, the best mix is 3 parts Coconut Husk Chips and 1 part potting soil or compost9if you can't find the coconut huck substitute it with orchid mix. Second how is the light where the tree is, they really do like there light and if you don't have a south facing window you might want to add supplemental lighting for the tree. As newt said you most likely brought the tree in to fast, with my citrus I aclimatize them for 2 weeks slowly bringing them out in spring and inside in fall. Also the humidity might not be high enough so spray it regularly. And what is there is a temperature differnece between the root zone and leaf zone because if they are differnet the tree if out of balance for ex. if the leafs get lots of sun and heat this make them want to grow but if the root zone is colder below 60F it cannot supply the leaves with water and they will wilt and fall off. It is all about balance so if the root zone isn't warm supplement heat with a heating pad or plant propigation mat also try not fertilize it so much during the winter if you can't supply the optimal conditions. This may be a lot to take in but works for me

HyperFerret
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Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:50 pm
Location: Arkansas, Zone 7

PICTURES!!!!

Fair Warning: I am a photoholic!

Okay, I have quite a few pics I'd like to post. But I have a reason for each pic. Now, the lighting really is much better than what it appears in the photo. The only digi camera I have is inside of my camcorder. As you will see, it takes much better pics with the aid of natural sunlight.

Lets start with when it was healthy.

[img]https://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p154/HyperFerret3/Green%20Thumb/2ndcard137.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p154/HyperFerret3/Green%20Thumb/2ndcard185.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p154/HyperFerret3/Green%20Thumb/2ndcard186.jpg[/img]

Here's the 46 gallon Bow Front fish tank I keep it in.

[img]https://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p154/HyperFerret3/Green%20Thumb/2ndCard332.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p154/HyperFerret3/Green%20Thumb/2ndCard333.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p154/HyperFerret3/Green%20Thumb/2ndCard344.jpg[/img]

Trying to show the size of my fruits.

[img]https://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p154/HyperFerret3/Green%20Thumb/2ndCard355.jpg[/img]

This is what a lot of the leaves and stems are doing.

[img]https://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p154/HyperFerret3/Green%20Thumb/2ndCard351.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p154/HyperFerret3/Green%20Thumb/2ndCard352.jpg[/img]

Close-up of healthy leaf.

[img]https://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p154/HyperFerret3/Green%20Thumb/2ndCard353.jpg[/img]

Took my tree outside (for photo quality purposes).

[img]https://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p154/HyperFerret3/Green%20Thumb/2ndCard359.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p154/HyperFerret3/Green%20Thumb/2ndCard361.jpg[/img]

The biggest fruit before and after I split it open.

[img]https://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p154/HyperFerret3/Green%20Thumb/2ndCard367.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p154/HyperFerret3/Green%20Thumb/2ndCard368.jpg[/img]

The smallest fruit split open.

[img]https://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p154/HyperFerret3/Green%20Thumb/2ndCard369.jpg[/img]

Ahhhh ... relief from the weight of the fruits.

[img]https://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p154/HyperFerret3/Green%20Thumb/2ndCard370.jpg[/img]

Back into the 46.

[img]https://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p154/HyperFerret3/Green%20Thumb/2ndCard375.jpg[/img]

Newt
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Posts: 1868
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Location: Maryland zone 7

Wow, great pics!! Looks like it's being overwatered. Are you letting the soil dry slightly before watering again?

Newt

HyperFerret
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Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:50 pm
Location: Arkansas, Zone 7

Thank you for the compliment on the pictures!

Yes, most of the time I let it dry out. Um .... truthfully sometimes I forget to water it and it really dries out. Now, on the pic of the unhealthy leaf with the black tip. It may look like it was burnt by being to close to the light but the leaf pictured is actually located furthest from the light. I've been told that having the tree in the tank will not allow proper air circulation which the tree needs. Is this true? If so, can I not hang/mount a tiny fan on the tank to create my own air circulation? Also, I'm not sure if I read it off the Internet or off of this thread, but I read somewhere that the tree requires high humidity so I should be spritzing the tree with a spray bottle. I haven't been doing this before I read that. Is that part of my problem?

Argh! Only 24 leaves left! (Just went to count them) It is sooo not good if you can easily count how many leaves a tree has.

Newt
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Location: Maryland zone 7

It truly looks like some type of rot or fungal problem. I do think you should take it out of the fish tank and keep it out. You could try the fan idea but I'm not sure that will help at this time.

Please forgive me if I'm repeating myself, but I'm having one of those days. I would suggest you take it out of the pot, if you haven't already, and look for some type of root rot. Take a look at the possibilities here. Look especially at foot rot, feeder root rot, twig dieback, greasy spot and slow decline.
https://plantpathology.tamu.edu/Texlab/Fruit/citrus/citrus.asp
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/HS122

Newt

peachguy
Senior Member
Posts: 159
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 2:01 am
Location: Ontario

I do no that is not a lemon or Calmondin it is either a manderin, sastuma, clementine or tangor I can really pin point what it is. Do you remember anything that labeled it from when you bought it, what does it taste like sweet tart, bitter this could help in finding out what your problem is some citrus are harder to take care of because of the conditions they can handle.

opabinia51
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Location: Victoria, BC

The black that I saw on some of the leaves and branches, leads me to believe that you have a fungal infection. Try spraying your tree weekly with an aerated compost tea.

If I have time tonight I'll look up the different organic methods of dealing with a fungal infection. For now though, aerated compost tea will provide the plant with a healthy flora and fauna to combat any pathogens.

Newt
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Posts: 1868
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Location: Maryland zone 7

Seeing how the tips of the branches are blackened, I'm thinking that the fungal infection is in the soil or root system. I could be wrong, but it's just a feeling.

Opa, what do you think of these home made remedies?
https://www.ghorganics.com/page15.html

Newt

opabinia51
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Location: Victoria, BC

They look good. Haven't tried them myself. Give it a go!

Dadblastit! I looked directly at my publication with the organic remedies this morning to! Oh well, have to bring it in later.


Good luck with your citrus tree,

I'm back to reviewing policy.

opabinia51
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Okay, here we go:

Milk as an antifungal spray (long since known as a remedy for powedery mildew, it turns out that the calcium along with the natural cultures that exist in milk are a perfect remedy for fungal infections.

Peppermint Spray. Make a solar tea by tying 1 cup of dried peppermint or spearmint into a guaze bag or pantyhose and place in a 4 L glass container.
Add 1/2 cup of seaweed powder, 1 drop of natural soap and adash of tabasco or other hot sauce.
Fill container with distilled water and place in sun for 2-3 hours.

Strain into a sprayer and use for deterring soft bodied insects.

NOTE: this also effects beneficial insects so, use sparingly.

Sage Spray: Make by substituting dry sage for the mint. Will work against corn borers, corn earworm and codling moths.
Let sit for 24 hours before adding 1 drop soap per 1 gallon of water.

I have more that I will add at a later date.

HyperFerret
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Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:50 pm
Location: Arkansas, Zone 7

Good news and bad news...... Bad news first: Last post I made, I only had 29 leaves left. Since then I've lost 9 more leaves. Good news: I haven't lost anymore leaves yet. So far it's stuck with 20 leaves for quite a while. (other 9 leaves dropped pretty quickly and close together) Also: About the black on the leaves and tips of the branches, good news ... um sorda, kinda. The "Death of the Black Grip" (DBG) hasn't spread any further on the branches nor has it formed/appeared on any other leaves. Now, the two branches that have the DBG that I have pictured on here, should I cut those off? If so, does it matter if I cut it straight or should I cut it at an angle like as I would when cutting a rose?

I appreciate all the suggestions for curing the black fungus (what I'm calling DBG) but which method should I try? Or should I just go with process of elimination? If so, how long should I give each method to have a chance to work? When I checked to see if the tree was root bound it looked no where near the pictures you showed me. But I'm still transplanting the tree. I've bought a spray bottle and I mist it several times a day like crazy. Lol, I also blow my breath on the tree hoping the extra carbon dioxide along with the oxygen would somehow help it grow stronger faster.

Newt
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Location: Maryland zone 7

Please stop misting your tree until it is completely recovered. I still think too much moisture is a big part of the problem. Cut off the blackend branches to where the limb intersects with another. Have a solution of one part bleach and nine parts water ready to dip your pruning shears into between each cut. Then wipe them with a clean paper towel. When you are all done rinse them in clean water, use a little WD-40 to spray them. Then wipe with a clean paper towel. That way you won't be spreading anything.

Here's how to make the pruning cuts and other interesting info on pruning orange trees. Look especially under 'Pruning Cuts' at this first site.
https://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/howtos/ht_prune/prun001.htm
https://pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/pubcd/B949-W.HTMl
https://www.citrustreesource.com/publications/other/Shedding%20Light%20On%20Pruning.pdf

If it doesn't need to be repotted it would be best to just leave it alone. You could kill it with kindness and all that fussing. These trees don't like alot of fussing after. Oh, and stop breathing on it. It really doesn't need that either. :)

Newt

HyperFerret
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Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:50 pm
Location: Arkansas, Zone 7

Well Dang! Everything I'm doing is just so completely wrong. :oops: If the tree was capable of any facial expression, any time I come near the tree ... :shock: would be it's facial expression.

Peachguy and some other peoples suggested that I mist the tree because they are used to humid climates. And that the tree absorbs a lot from the water on it's leaves. This is why I began misting the plant. On the breathing thing, I didn't know if it would help but I didn't know it would hurt it. Sorry.

When I took the tree out of it's pot the roots curled around the curve of the shaped soil. I could see all the ends of the roots. Is that not root bound? I was trying to say it didn't look as near as badly root bound that the photo depicted. By the way, the roots looked healthy.

Newt
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Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

Guess it sounded like I was scolding you. So sorry. :oops: Doing too much at once here. If the roots can be seen and are circling, then it does need a new pot. Gosh, sorry I misunderstood. We'll get your tree to smile at you yet! :D

I'd say a better way to add humidity for now would be to place a tray of water next to the tree.

Newt

HyperFerret
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Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:50 pm
Location: Arkansas, Zone 7

I was originally going to post -- I can see little tiny tiny tiny green nubs on the branches and near where previous leaves had fallen. Are these new leaves trying to come up? If they are, then they are taking FOREVER to grow!

Now that I've glanced at the hyper links you last posted, .....I have several lateral buds. I'll look at the links again on Friday when I have more time to spare. I got on the computer kinda late and I need to sleep now to recharge my brain cells.

Just wanted to jump in here and wish all you guys a ~HAPPY THANKSGIVING !!!!!!

Newt
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Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

Hyper Ferret, you should see leaves from the 'tiny green nubs' eventually. Try and keep in mind that trees tend to grow more in slow motion then other plants. They take their time to establish their roots. Leaves are expendable to a tree and they will shed them when they are stressed. When they are strong again, they will put out new leaves. Patience is definately required when growing trees.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving. I'm off to cook again. :roll:

Newt

feefox
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Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:00 am
Location: NZ

Fruit falling off my citrus tree too.

I have a small Yuzu citrus tree and it is fairly young. I have put it it a big pot outside. The pot has lots of good storebought compost and dirt in it. At first it went very well and then it had four little fruit on it. Now two have dropped off. I take comfort from one of the previous replies to the person who started this post, that young trees loose most of their fruit (90%) for the first few years. Is this definatly the way it goes?

Also my lime which I have next to it in a pot, has dropped a few of its leaves and the very topmost branches are looking a bit yellow. Am I overwatering? Tonight I have put some citrus food in the pots. Also it is summer here, so there is no problem with low temperatures or anything like that. I feel so sad now when I was getting so hopeful !

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