minneola tangelo w/ droopy, inward curling leaves?

coraldelmar10March 19, 2011

My outdoor potted dwarf minneola tangelo AND my potted dwarf dancy mandarin tree had fruit this past season. All of a sudden, the leaves started drooping (as in sad-looking; I'm not misspelling dropping, there is zero leaf drop ;-). Then they (the leaves)started to curl inward, like a taco shell... still the same vibrant color they were 2 months ago when they looked normal. I re-potted 2 weeks ago into fresh potting mix, carefully... the trees still look sad. There are no bugs, and they get at least 8 hrs of great sunlight every day...

What's going on? Any suggestions/advice appreciated.

Should I soak it in a bucket? Maybe the soil isnt retaining enough moisture where the shallow roots get to it?

Im considering a root pruning for both... to encourage new root growth as well as a more branching root system... also, what potting mix do you recommend? The one I used last didnt dry evenly enough, so some parts of the pot were soggy while others were dry.

Thank you! Be well.

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Look up Al's gritty mix. I cant say its the best yet as yet to be determined for me but read about it...LOTS AND LOTS of information on here...And everyone swears by it...As for the leaves someone with more experience will help you :)


    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 12:11AM
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I see you are in zone 10. If you are sure you didn't over-water (like something major happened) then Yes, it could be the exact problem you are talking about with soil moisture: un-even water distribution. I have several trees in the type of mix you appear to use and this is the #1 reason I hate it. In our hot weather we're taught to not water until the top few inches of the soil is dry. Well guess what, over time this will develop dry patches that will never become re-hydrated pending constant rain or major intervention.

I fought this problem two weeks ago with 3 of my container citrus trees in bagged mixes. I could feel the soil had dried out from winter and I was preparing them for Spring (the trees looked fine BTW). Having experience with this, I was DETERMINED to wet 100% of the soil using whatever method I could. I watered it for the entire DAY -- and the soil below 3 inches was still dry. I watered until it was soaked, went away for 30 minutes, came back and did it again: repeat many times. The next day I submerged it in a container filled with water and walked away for 4 hours. Came back and pulled it out -- still dry inside! This is why I hate peat and bagged soil mixes in a desert climate. If you are trying NOT to over-water and mistakenly wait a little bit too long, you've created a dry patch. The patch will only get bigger the more often you make those little mistakes.

If this is the case with your tree, submerge it in water and use any type of dowel (smooth skinny stick) to "loosen up" the soil in the container while it's submerged. The more tunnels you create, the better. The skinnier the stick the better so you don't tear roots.

Most of my citrus trees are in the Gritty Mix where I don't have any such issues. I also rest easy when it's pouring rain outside knowing they won't be drowning. However, the gritty mix is a bit of work to make and cannot be purchased. The ingredients can be expensive but they last for a very long time. The bagged mixes are meant for shorter term - like 1 year (or 2 years MAX) before needing full replacement. How long one can make it last depends on how healthy a tree you are wanting.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 2:56PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Though it will be hard for US to be real accurate, it sure looks like the plant is in need of watering. A careful inspection of the soil/root system can help determine if the soil is soggy (which can also cause this symptom) OR has developed bone dry pockets. Curling leaves can also be cause by excess heat (foliage is transpiring faster than it can absorb water) and spider mites, too.

I also suggest that your plant is wrapped too tightly to the stake. Does it need to be staked at all? Plants can be strangled by too tight bindings, young plants in a relatively short time. The phloem tissue is located just under the outer bark and is easily damaged.

Just for information's sake, I don't use the mix mentioned above though I did employ something similar for a long time. It became such an ordeal to locate all of the different 'ingredients' that I began to feel silly. Especially when it's not that difficult to find ready-to- use mixes that drain rapidly. So, you have options is all I am sayin'.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 4:08PM
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Rhizo, can you recommend some of the ready made mixes that you like?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 8:04PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I use two or three different options from the professional line of Fafard potting mixes. These are not available in the retail market, that I have seen, but I've never had a problem with a locally owned (not big-box chain) garden center special ordering what I need.

See the attached link for the information about what's in these mediums. I use (usually) Fafard #3 and their Nursery Mix. The other heavy weight mixes are good, as well.

Fafard does make product for the retail market, but it doesn't appear to be any different than MiracleGro or similar. Not coarse enough to make me happy.

I first started using Fafard (hmmm, let's see....) over 20 years ago!

Here is a link that might be useful: Click here

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 12:26PM
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I've never used Fafard products but "word of mouth" experience from two friends said that particular #3 product is definitely much better than a bagged mix like MG.

You can buy MG and just add equal parts small pine (or fir) bark chips. Then add some perlite. It's not ideal but also much better than using the mix straight out of the bag.

Pull that tree out of the pot and take a picture of the rootball. Then as Rhizo says, examine the soil by prodding and poking a bit to see the moisture level.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 1:21PM
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Hi I have a 2yr old minneola tangelo and moro blood orange patio tree. My problem is after they flower the new light oranges fall off. What am I doing wrong. Please help
thank you

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 9:54AM
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Darlene, It's best to start a new thread to get help and include pictures. But in short, if the trees are only two years old and A) they are cared for properly, it probably needs another season before it holds one or two fruit, OR B) if the tree experiences far from optimal growth conditions, it may be a while before it does. Either way, the reason is "the tree can't support fruit right now", most likely due to limited roots/foliage.

With more details of the environment, care, and photos of the tree and roots folks here could make a better guess.

Good luck!
Chris, C4F

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 2:56PM
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