Worried if she'll bounce back?! (Tarocco Blood Orange)

brkieffner(5B)March 17, 2013

Here is my tree. I received her a little over a week ago through the mail. She had been sitting in her packaging material of cedar chips for the week sitting in a south facing window.

I didn't transplant her right away as I was waiting for the ingredients for Al's Gritty Mix which I finally finished yesterday. I transplanted her bare root and watered the mix evenly until water came draining into the saucer. I also used a small amount of fertilizer with the water which is called Ionic Grow Hydro Nutrient.

I placed her under my T5 HO SunBlaze Grow Light.

I'm worried. She looks dreadful. Will she bounce back? Should I do anything?

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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

It'll probably come back...though it might look worse before it looks better. I'm guessing that week in the window did a number on it. It will take a few weeks for the roots to bite into the next mix, so carefully monitor moisture levels in the upper layers (or wherever the roots are) so that more root-loss doesn't occur.

We almost unanimously recommend waiting to fertilize for at least a week after potting, as this helps encourage the roots to colonize the new mix.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 2:49PM
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Josh is spot on about the fertilizer. Initially, the absence of nutrients encourages the roots to grow in search of food; and with citrus, first the roots grow and then the leaves and branches. When you see signs of new growth, that is the time to fertilize.

I would lose the stake, as citrus are quite self supporting; and will grow more uniformly without the stake.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 3:21PM
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Okay. I will lay off the fertilizer. Her leaves are shriveling away now. I just hope that after it's all said and done she'll be bushy and leafy again and not a stick figure.

I've read about rooting hormones. Yay or nay?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 8:36PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I, too, would relocate that stake.
I'd put it toward the edge of the container, and tie it to a sturdy branch. Leave the stake in only long enough for the roots to re-establish.

Rooting hormones won't be of much help in this situation.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 11:05PM
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Okay thank you. I'll just monitor her moisture levels and hope for the best.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 8:38AM
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All of the leaves have fallen. She has just bright green branches now. She has some new growth it looks like but idk if those will take. I'm gonna hope for the best and see if she has a nice spurt of growth once the roots establish. If they establish.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 9:21PM
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Have faith and patience; we will put in a good word to the citrus gods..

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 10:04PM
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GKGK(9b East of SF Bay)

Every time i have added any fertilizer to the dirt or at initial planting time, i have gotten into trouble. I agree with the be patient and wait advice.

The photo shows dehydration. If the soil was wet, you got too much salt (fertilizer) in the soil and it went to a toxic level. I would also add a flush or two or three along the way to ensure that the salts are not at toxic levels within the soil. (or, you can replace the soil).
If the soil was dry, then it is just that - dehydration. She should recover. You should see it blossom in the initial phase of recovery and then push leaves. NO fertilizer until its grown a while. Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 6:02PM
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She has some baby leaves growing. Nothing major. Still don't fertilize? She's got about 7 groups of them. Leaves are about half an inch to an inch big.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 11:52AM
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molewacker z9b Napa CA (No.SFBay)(9b Danville E(SF)Bay CA)

(formerly GKGK): Good to hear about the baby leaves! That is a good sign. I suggest waiting to feed until you can confirm the leaves go beyond the small size and you have a few inches of new branch growth.

I have a Wash.Navel and Red Blush that were recovering from over feeding (with small "baby" leaves) last July. i gave them more food - - and that stopped the growth. The Red Blush is just now starting to grow again. The WN is stagnant - but i have been flushing....

Stunted growth is a symptom of Nitrogen deficiency. If you have damaged the roots then the plant cannot take up the nutrients and only gets hammered by the salts.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 2:03PM
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Here is how she is looking lately. Lots of new growth. I have Foliage Pro. Haven't fertilized yet. Now that I have it what kind of watering/feeding schedule am I looking at?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 8:38PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hello, great recovery!

The usual advice about fertilizer doesn't really apply in this kind of superior mix, particularly when paired with Foliage Pro - which provides nearly all nutrients in a ratio the plant uses them (this means that there is less salt lingering in the soil or being flushed into the environment).

Start with a 1/2 strength dose, once a week. Pre-water the mix thoroughly, then fertilize, and then do a light post-watering (just enough to force the nutrient solution a bit deeper in the mix).

I think you can fertilize full-strength, personally. But start light, observe the plant, and increase from there.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 11:43AM
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Thank you guys/gals for all your help. Should I be concerned at all about the curl of the leaves? They are very green but have a curl.

Was that maybe because it was new growth prior to all the leaves dropping?

I just want to make sure I do this tree right. I already lost one citrus, I don't intend to lose another.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 8:16PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Wait for the leaves to develop, then re-evaluate :-)


    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 11:35PM
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Here she is now. She has lots of new leaves. A few look...well kinda distorted. Her topmost leaves are about 3 inches from the T5 HO grow light.

I watered her last Sunday with a 1/4 tsp Foliage Pro solution. Did the same today.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 11:29AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Looks good...the more light, the better.
i advise that you increase the fertilizer strength. As for the distorted leaves, keep a vigilant eye out for pests like Spider Mites...but other than that, distorted new leaves are typical and the tree should outgrow it. If the leaves remain distorted, re-evaluate.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 10:54AM
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It's been a minute but here she is. The leaves are still distorted with no pest issues. She has the same amount of leaves but now the coloring seems off? What to do? I fertilize her weekly with a gallon milk jug filled with one teaspoon of Foliage Pro. She's also outside and it has also been raining a lot so I have been fertilizing a tad more.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2013 at 2:05AM
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