Gopher vs Seville Orange tree

svanessa(9/SoCal)March 10, 2014

A gopher nearly destroyed my Seville sour orange. It's hanging on by 1 side root. The 4' tree can't stand upright on its own so I have it staked. It is leafing out and looks OK.

My question is will wounding the base and using root tone or other hormone help it to grow more roots at its base so it stabilizes? Any other ideas to get it to produce more roots? Should I throw out this 4 year old tree and try to find this rare variety again?

Thanks, Sue

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Do not wound your poor tree any more than it's wounded. It will NOT help to stimulate root growith, but may end up girdling the tree and spell its ultimate demise. Continue to fertilize with regular citrus fertilizer. Set more gopher traps. Staking is a good idea for now, until it have developed significantly more root growth, as attested by a significant amount of leaf canopy increase. I would leave the tree staked for at least a year, maybe two. You would be surprised at how resilient citrus trees are. I nearly lost a small Valencia I had given up for dead due to a gopher attack. It is back and doing well. If you do need to replace, it's going to be hard to find a Seville, as the only grower I am aware of that propagates the Seville is Four Winds here in California, and they cannot currently ship to S. Calif.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 6:53PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Sue, this is a sad thing. We plant all our trees in gopher wire baskets, and so far so good, plus we do our best to get rid of the evil voles and gophers.

Can you take cuttings of that Seville and graft or bud onto something else for preservation in case the tree dies?

Suzi

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 7:16PM
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svanessa(9/SoCal)

Thanks Patty, I'll leave it alone for now to see what happens. I bought it at Atkins Nursery in Fallbrook 4 yeas ago. They specialize in citrus. Even saw my first Buddah's hand, really cool-looking fruit.

Suzi, I have gopher traps in active holes. They just cover them with dirt AFTER they have crawled across them to get the enticement I put out. I can't understand how they didn't trip the traps...three times now...so I'm going in for the kill, bait.

As to grafting, I've never done that but want to. I've only a Lisbon Lemon to graft to. I haven't bought any other citrus yet. Too busy with my figs!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 2:29PM
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johnmerr(11)

For the most part, T-budding is easier and more often successful for citrus than other forms of grafting.

Even I can get about 30% success rate. If you are grafting onto an older Lisbon, I would try about half a dozen T-buds on wood that is about a year old.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 8:47PM
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svanessa(9/SoCal)

Thanks, John. I will give it a try. In the mean time I dug a moat around the tree tonight, deeper than the gopher tunnels. ;-) Also baited several holes.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 12:29AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Atkins has the same issues all propagators now have, Vansessa - citrus propagators in the state of California are now required to do all propagation under screen. Atkins does not have a screen house, so they can no longer propagate their own trees. They have to get them from a grower who can propagate under screen. So, we are now much limited in what cultivars are available to us here in California. They can order certain varieties to be propagated from certain growers, such as Willit & Newcomb, Citrus Tree Source, etc. If Atkins doesn't think they can sell those rarer cultivars,however, they won't grow them. Most of us CRFG members in N. San Diego county have been good about buying up those rarer cultivars from Atkins, as well as a few other growers in Fallbrook, including Durling Nursery, who also would propagate some of the rarer cultivars (like the Valentine pummelo), but they now must depend on the larger commercial growers who can invest millions in screenhouses. And, it may not be worth the additional expense, sadly. So, do what you can to save your tree.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 10:37AM
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svanessa(9/SoCal)

Update on my Seville Orange tree...I don't know if it has produced any new roots yet (hope so) but it has bloomed and set fruit. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not. My t-bud grafts didn't take but it was my first time trying this technique so I'm not surprised. I am keeping a close eye out for signs of gophers in the area and just letting nature take its course.

This post was edited by svanessa on Fri, Aug 8, 14 at 23:23

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 3:53PM
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molewacker z9b Napa CA (No.SFBay)(9b Danville E(SF)Bay CA)

Are there new leaves or just blooms and fruit? Just blooms and fruit could indicate that it is still in survival mode.

How did you ultimately keep the gophers away?
I hear from the locals here that the only effective way to get rid of them is buried galvanized screening set up in quadrants.... and a big gun.
Thank fully no gophers in my yard yet.... but the moles are having a party. [I get them one by one the old fashioned way]

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 7:56PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Well, if your tree's canopy is full and alive, it sounds like the tree has managed to survive. Photos would be helpful for us to help you to evaluate the the health of your tree.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 10:51AM
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svanessa(9/SoCal)

Yea, I guess pictures would help, sorry. You can see a nice new limb growing straight up but not much leaf growth. I had to cut off 2/3's of the tree due to dead limbs. It was a lot bushier. That's why it's so short.

I will post a pic of the fruit next message.

This post was edited by svanessa on Fri, Aug 8, 14 at 23:24

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 11:20PM
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svanessa(9/SoCal)

Some of the new fruit.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 11:22PM
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svanessa(9/SoCal)

New growth...

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 11:26PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

I would pull all the fruit off. Having such a limited root system, your little tree is going to have a hard time trying to develop canopy and develop fruit. You need to sacrifice the fruit for more root growth and flush. You need a decent amount of canopy & roots to be able to support fruit, and, you don't have either, right now.

Patty S

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 11:31PM
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svanessa(9/SoCal)

Thanks Patty, that's what I was thinking too. I'll knock them off and let the tree put its energy into roots and growth.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 3:08AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Good idea :-) The leaf cupping you see if your little tree's attempt to get enough fluid/water up into the leaves with it's limited root system. I would try to provide a little shade for your tree - just set up a canopy with frost cloth and that should help. That way, you will reduce leaf drop due to leaves just not getting enough water. Good luck. I was able to rescue my little Valencia orange tree from a gopher attack a couple of years ago. I caught the little buggar, and was able to resurrect a tree I had previously resurrected from the previous home owner's lack of watering (set up drips up on several citrus trees planted at the top of my backyard slope). Poor tree, it's on its 3rd life, lol!

Patty S.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 9:56AM
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