SoCalprincess
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Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 3:15 am
Location: Southern California

Please help save my dying Moringa trees!

Hello all,

My name is Holly, and I live in Santa Monica, CA. I am a total newbie to gardening - in fact I really have no where to garden except for my 2nd story apartment balcony. I won't let that stop me though! Back in July, I found out about an amazing vegetable tree called Moringa Oleifera ([url]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moringa_oleifera[/url]) with incredible nutritional and medicinal properties, and decided to start growing some. I got the seeds from a local Moringa farm, and planted the seedlings in the beginning of August. I couldn't believe how quickly they were growing! Each of the eight seedlings were planted in 6-inch pots using commercial potting soil, mixed with a proportional amount of SEA-90 mineral salt ([url]https://www.seaagri.com/[/url]). I was also using some sort of liquid plant food on a weekly basis. The plants were gorgeous, hardy, healthy, with big thick green leaves. Notice the progression from week 1 - week 8:

SEEDLINGS:

[img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/moringa-week0-all.jpg[/img]
After WEEK 1:
[img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/moringa-week1-all.jpg[/img] [img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/moringa-week1-tall.jpg[/img]
After WEEK 2:
[img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/moringa-week2-all.jpg[/img] [img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/moringa-week2-tall.jpg[/img]
After WEEK 3:
[img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/moringa-week3-all.jpg[/img] [img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/moringa-week3-tall.jpg[/img]
After WEEK 4:
[img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/moringa-week4-all.jpg[/img] [img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/moringa-week4-tall.jpg[/img]
After WEEK 5:
[img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/moringa-week5-all.jpg[/img] [img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/moringa-week5-tall.jpg[/img]
After WEEK 6:
[img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/moringa-week6-tall.jpg[/img]
After WEEK 8:
[img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/moringa-week8-all.jpg[/img]
[img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/moringa-week8-tall.jpg[/img]

Over those 8 weeks, they were sporadically visited by white moths depositing egg sacs (eww... poor babies) - but I kept this under control by inspecting the leaves and removing any egg sacs on a nearly daily basis. A few hatched which resulted in a couple holes here and there, but nothing major. So I sprayed them with a vegetable insecticide that the nursery told me was organic, however afterward I realized it contained PBO and threw it in the trash. During Week 9, I noticed that the leaves of my overachiever (2nd from the right) were starting to yellow at the bottom, so I decided to transplant them into 7 gallon pots - and yes, they were slightly rootbound. I assume they went into shock from the combo of transplanting and spraying - had some drying/yellowing/dropping leaves, but they seemed to recover well and about 2 weeks later were sprouting new growths at about twice the rate they were before, plus some were budding. YES! The super-growing trees were at it again!

After WEEK 13:
[img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/moringa-week13-tall.jpg[/img]

THEN - everything seemed to turn upside down. They were attacked by red spider mites after a bout of warm windy weather - I sprayed them with cool water in the morning daily for a few days, and that took care of that. Since then, I have been noticing different kinds of symptoms on different trees - and I have no idea what they are, or what to do. They get morning sun until around 1 pm. I've been watering them about once a week - they don't seem overwatered... but they are supposedly prone to root rot. Any ideas?

As of today, After WEEK 15:
[img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/moringa-week15-all.jpg[/img] [img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/moringa-week15-tall.jpg[/img] [img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/moringa-week15-tall-02.jpg[/img]

Thrips???:
[img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/sucker02.jpg[/img] [img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/sucker03.jpg[/img] [img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/sucker01.jpg[/img] [img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/sucker04.jpg[/img]

Root Rot??? Fungus???:
[img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/fungus.jpg[/img] [img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/rootrot01.jpg[/img] [img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/rootrot02.jpg[/img]

Strange Powdery substance, woven in a circular pattern from the center outward... Mildew???:
[img]https://www.scrapbook-couture.com/moringa/powder.jpg[/img]

What am I doing wrong?

The grower I got the seeds from recommended that I spray them with a mixture of water and habanero peppers to protect them from the insects, so I did that this morning - but I really want to be proactive and that probably won't help if it's more than one ailment affecting them.

Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to read this! I'm just praying that after 4 months of starting from nothing, they don't die now...

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

Hi Holly,

You have been very thorough with info and pictures. :) I wish I could help more, but I'm totally unfamiliar with this species. I've done some research and I'm thinking the damage you show in the last pictures could be spider mites or nematodes. I found this site on growing these trees.
https://www.treesforlife.org/project/moringa/do/do_grow.en.asp

I also found this site which has some other links on the bottom on the right in a yellow box.
https://www.treesforlife.org/publications/press/miracle/

The second link lead me here. When I clicked on 'Cultivation', it wasn't all that helpful.
https://www.le.ac.uk/engineering/staff/Sutherland/moringa/moringa.htm

The last link resulted in a search page. When I searched with Morinjia or drumstick tree, I only got info on how to eat it. You might be able to get help here.
For more information about the drumstick tree

To find out more about the drumstick tree from Trees for Life, contact Curtis Bryant by calling 945-6929 e-mailing info@treesforlife.org or writing Trees for Life, 3006 W. St. Louis, Wichita, KS 67203.
I also found this about cultivation.
https://www.le.ac.uk/engineering/staff/Sutherland/moringa/cultivat/cult.htm

I don't know anything about the SEA-90 you've used. You might be over fertilizing and that is causing a flush of growth that is attracting insect pests by stressing the plants.

If you contact Curtis Bryant, I'd love to know what he tells you.

Newt

opabinia51
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Location: Victoria, BC

Try spraying the foliage with an aerated compost tea, I don't know where you would find such a product in your area. You can make your own compost in your apartment by constructing an indoor compost box.
Buy a tote box and drill holes in the bottom an don the sides, place bricks underneath the box and place a metal drip tray beneath the box.

Shred some newspaper (or even better just pick up some leaves) and place in the box.

Next, seek out about a pound of red wriggler worms (these are notoriously expensive to buy (about ten or 20 dollars a pound) so if you can find someone who has an existing compost pile get them for free). And add them to you bin. Water the bin just to dampen the newspaper or leaves.

Now chop up your left over vegetables and bury them amongst the newspaper and leaves.

Do this each day and in about a month or two you'll have rich, humusy compost (that you can use to fertilze your trees and make compost tea with).
Incidentally, the drippings from your compost (from the drip tray) can be used as a foliar spray as well.
To make compost tea: Use a 5 gallon bucket and fill with water, place an air pump in the bucket (find at a local pet store) and then place a few handfulls of compost in the water. Let the pump run for a couple of days and then use as a foliar spray for your plants.
Another option would be to use a liquid fish (smelly so not recommended for an apartment building) or liquid seaweed fertilzer and dilute it down and use as a foliar spray.

Also be sure to use non sterilized compost in your soil mix to give your plants a healthy flora and fauna to help stave off any infections.

Da Farmertom
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Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 2:09 pm
Location: Florida/Hawaii

Hello,
I see at least 2 different insect pest problems. You did a good job of photographing them. 1. The white circles look to be made by a pest called the spiraling white fly, they make these spirals, perhaps leaving eggs behind.
2 The clearing is likely caused by another insect pest called a thrips. Thrips, have a rasping sucking mouth part that digs into plant flesh so they can suck the juices from the leaves, they both are a pain, but are difficult to eliminate, entirely, because there are millions in the surrounding area. Usually they don't eat that much, and are almost never fatal. Good luck!
FarmerTom

Aloecalico
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Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2011 6:05 pm
Location: Southwest desert USA

Moringa Pests

How are your Moringa trees? Did you find a resolution to your spider mites and thrip? I am in SW desert and have the same problem, and have not found a reasonable solution that does not impair the editablility of the leaves.

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

I wouldn't think Ohio nurseries would carry them. From the wiki article linked above:

"The "Moringa" tree is grown mainly in semi-arid, tropical, and subtropical areas, corresponding in the United States to USDA hardiness zones 9 and 10. While it grows best in dry sandy soil, it tolerates poor soil, including coastal areas. It is a fast-growing, drought-resistant tree ."

You could try growing it indoors in a large container. But it is a tree with a big taproot, so will need a large, deep container, and still will be somewhat stunted compared to in-ground growing. If you want to do this, the best way would probably be to buy seeds and start your own from seed.

It will drop its leaves if temps go below 60 degrees. So you might have to just grow it indoors all year round. Since it likes semi-arid and is drought tolerant, it probably doesn't like how humid / rainy our summers are here in Ohio any better than it likes how cold our winters are. And it wouldn't like our soil either, another reason why you would have to grow it in a container.

Personally, I prefer to grow things that like my climate rather than to try to force things to grow that really hate it here.
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Joyfirst
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Location: Southern California

Re: Please help save my dying Moringa trees!

I wonder, if you were able to grow them? I have the red spider mites on my moringas too. I am growing new seedlings, and I hopeI will cover them in time to prevent that problem.

imafan26
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Please help save my dying Moringa trees!

Interesting discussion. I could not open any of the pictures. I haven't seen a moringa in a pot before. They are quite big trees and send out long branches, but they can grow in pretty narrow spaces. I did not know they had the kind of problems you are seeing.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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PunkRotten
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Location: Monterey, CA.

Re: Please help save my dying Moringa trees!

Great thread. I am planning to start many trees when it warms up. I am not sure if they will overwinter here though. I hope I don't get these pest problems like everyone else. I have a small mulberry tree that spider mites were attacking. I sprayed them with soapy water and it seemed to do the trick, for now at least.

imafan26
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Please help save my dying Moringa trees!

Moringa here are not really prone to many pests but they are pretty much in the ground with good air circulation and they get hacked a lot so they don't have a lot of leaves on them. I had one in my garden and I had to work to kill it. It was just too much work to try to keep it under 8 ft.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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