***help*** lemon tree dying ***help***

mickmick85March 23, 2014

Hi All.

First time posting, I have had a lemon tree in my yard before moving into my house over 5 years ago, i am not sure what type of lemon tree it is but usually through every season it leaves and flowers up and grows upto 50+ lemons a year, i usually prune and fertilize twice a year and water now and then pending on the season, usually i keep grass and weed away from the trunk of the plant and used to spray the tree with an oil citrus spray to keep away spiders and insects and hand pick off stink bugs off the leaves, Its been over 1 year the trees life has been fading, Ive spoken to the Horticulturist in Bunnings and explained the symptons and she advised its Collar Rot and to use a spray, ive been spraying it for over a month and the tree has no improvements, branches are dying leaves are dropping and some reason its flowering on one side of the tree late season,

I have more pictures but is only allowing me to update one, Any help would be greatful it would be a shame for it to die without a fight.

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

Boy, just impossible from this one photo to know what's going on, but it looks rather dire. Please post more photos of the whole tree. Upload your photos to a photo sharing site like photobucket.com. Then, just copy and paste the html code string (ignore the other options) right into the body of your message, and the photos will be embedded into your message. We also need to know where you live. That makes a very big difference in what kinds of issues your tree might be facing. And, why and what are you pruning? Citrus don't really need much pruning, except dead growth inside an older tree. Citrus also benefit from fertilizing 3 to 4 times a year, but 2 is certainly better than none. Please show us the whole tree, the trunk, the ground under the tree, etc. Spiders are beneficial insects, so not sure why you'd spray for spiders? Not necessary. Maybe spider mites? A little more info, and more photos will help us to help you if we can.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 12:16AM
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We all love Patty so much here, because she has so much knowledge and is so patient with everyone. Do what she tells you

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 12:30AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

mickmick, if you don't want to use Photobucket or a similar photo-hosting site, you can always add a new post to this thread; that will enable you to add one more photo. Then just add as many new posts as you have photos.

(The site software sometimes gets paranoid and thinks you're repeating the same post, but if that happens, changing the title of the new post -- so it's not the same as the original thread title -- usually works.)

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 12:46AM
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Thanks all for the replies, Ive put links the following below, I am from Sydney Australia, And also the reason of pruning was to cut off all the dead branches, you will prob notice it in a few pictures, also the bottom of the tree has been bandaged as my dog has done a tiny flesh wound on the bottom of the tree, but this issue was before this minor incident, The oil spray was for the leaf miners and the spiders that roll leaves around didnt know they was beneficial

This post was edited by mickmick85 on Mon, Mar 24, 14 at 4:03

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 4:00AM
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If your dog gave the tree a "tiny flesh wound", why the need to bandage the tree? Has he ringbarked it? (removed a line of bark all the way around)

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 4:39AM
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He has just tore a little bark off, but i bandaged it so he can also keep away from it which has worked, is it bad to leave the bandaage on?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 4:46AM
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It looks like it lacking nutrients and scorched. I think you have been having a very hot summer right?

I would also let the wound heel in open air.. Painting it black, that is the trunk will scorch it even further. People always use white,

Patty will be around soon. She's pretty awesome at bringing any citrus tree back from the grips of death,

Wishing you all the best


    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 9:07AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Oh boy. Even this "citrus nurse" is going to struggle, here. Okay, first off, let's get rid of all that grass under the tree. This poor tree is struggling enough as it is for nutrients, but the grass is simply using up any Nitrogen that might be made available to this tree's feeder roots. So, clear a very large circle under the tree. For this tree, I would suggest twice the drip line (edge of the canopy).

Mike is right - paint the trunk white, never black. This may be the cause of the issue - you may have literally cooked the cambium layer with black paint. It is customary to use flat latex house paint cut in 1/2 with water to paint tree trunks. I would definitely try re-painting the trunk.

The dog's damage may have girdled the tree, in which case nothing we tell you to do will save the tree. This tree is too small to have this many dead branches requiring pruning, so that clearly should be a clue something is drastically wrong.

The leaves appear to be burnt. If you're applying any kind of oil to the leaves, you must make sure your outdoor temps do not exceed 35 degrees F (29 degrees Celsius), or you'll risk burning the leaves. Again, spiders are the "good guys". If you're referring to spider mites, that's an entirely different insect, and is often a sign of a stressed tree. Find out what insect you think is a spider, and get it ID'ed so you know whether or not you're dealing with a pest or a beneficial. CLM can be treated with Spinosad, with or without a hort oil added in (depending upon your air temps). You should be able to find it where you live. Be sure to use Spinosad in the later evening, when the bees have gone back to the hive, as Spinosad can kill bees. Spray every 3 weeks, 3 applications during your CLM season. You can use a hort oil to help the product stick better, but only if your air temps are low enough.

Lastly, back to the watering issue. It looks awfully wet in the soil. We need to know what kind of soil you have. Is it clay, loam, sand, DG? You say you "water occasionally". Is this tree getting hit by lawn sprinklers? If so, that is certain death for citrus. They don't like their trunks constantly hit with water. It will damage the bark and leave the tree open for all kinds of fungal infections. If you're watering by hand, you want the roots to receive a good, deep (to about 18 - 24", or 7 to 10 cm) watering once to three times a week, depending on your ambient temps, humidity and type of soil. Check to make sure the tree actually needs to be watered, before you water it, so you can gauge your soil's water retention. I just use a cheap green plastic-covered plant stake, and push it into the ground. For me being on DG, if I can't push it in at all, my soil is dry (turns into cement when dry). If I can push it in, and the stake comes out moist, I'm good.

You're heading into Fall now, but I think you can still get away with another application of fertilizer. Use a good quality citrus fertilizer with the proper NPK ratio (citrus require a lot of nitrogen, so you'll see the N will be higher than the PK, the best ratio is 5:1:3 in general for citrus), with the full complement of micronutrients as well (Ca, Zn, Mg, Mn, Fe).

Stay in touch with your local gardening center, someone who knows citrus. Let us know how your little tree fares. I'm a little concerned about all the damage. I'm not sure if it is just how the tree is being managed, or if we're looking at something more serious, like a virus or infection of some sort. The good news - citrus are very resilient. Let's see if some better management allows the tree to spring back. It may take until next spring until you see some serious recovery, so be patient. And, remove all the fruit for now. Your tree cannot possibly support fruit production, it needs to use all its energies into recovery.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 10:55AM
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Hi Patty,

Thank you for the long reply i really apprecaite the help, Just with the bandage its just a cotton/wool wrap that goes around the trunk of the tree, i have not applied any paint to the wounds, Our summer hasnt been hot compared to the others and the tree was doing much well, i will defenitly remove the grass X double the drip line, i usually build a crate of soil around so when i water it sinks into the ground, the soil i have deep in our ground is clay but most if is broken down from soil that is placed ontop regularly, I havent applied oil in over 6-12 months but that was just a application i mentioned i have sprayed on the tree, the only application i have sprayed on tree was Yates Colar Rot as per the advised i received from bunnings, should i stop applying that ? When i started spraying the spray i noticed the tree started flowering new leaves and lemons but since then i think half the tree started dieing more, The pictures that was taken was early morning which is rained over night and the grass and soil was very moist,

So the list i should do is,

Remove grass Double the Drip Line
Citrus Fertilizer
Cut off any lemons the tree currently has and growing
And water Regularly 1-3 Times a week pending on the trees needs

With all the dead branches should i leave them ?

This post was edited by mickmick85 on Mon, Mar 24, 14 at 21:29

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 7:57PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

If you're applying any kind of oil to the leaves, you must make sure your outdoor temps do not exceed 35 degrees F (29 degrees Celsius), or you'll risk burning the leaves.

I believe 35* F is 2* C.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 10:07PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Sorry, that should have been 85 degrees F. 35 degrees F would be just above freezing :-) And yes, Mick, you have it right, and do prune out any dead wood.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 11:21AM
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Thanks Everyone and Nurse Patty for the help, i will do all the above this weekend and hopefully all goes well

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 9:01PM
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Just a update, have taken off the bandage from the bottom of the branch and have put a wire fence around the tree to protect it from future animal damage, have pulled back the soil past the drip line, have used a fertilizer to nurse pattys ratio =) and also have rmoved all lemons and alot of dead branches.

Ill let you know how it goes

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 8:55PM
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Also will be continue using the anti rot spray by Yates

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 8:58PM
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