Extreme leaf curl, Please help!

Mountain-ManApril 8, 2013

Hi everyone.

I bought a couple Gold Nugget Tangerines from a nursery and the leaves are flipping upside down and curling really bad. At the nursery I bought them from they said thatâÂÂs normal and âÂÂSatsumaâ I guess they are called have ugly leaves anyway and thatâÂÂs just the way they are. A really upscale nursery in my area took a leaf sample and said could be spinosad so I bought their neem spray and it seems to be getting worse. So far I just keep watering them once per week but I am getting worried I might lose them. All my other grapefruits, oranges, tangerines, and limes are fine and have big flat green leaves.

Anyone heard of this problem in the tangerine family or can someone educate me or help me understand what IâÂÂm doing with theses? The leaves are curling in two different directions. IâÂÂve never seen this before. IâÂÂm in Orange County Ca. Thanks in advance.

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I worry when someone seems dependent upon a calendar schedule for watering. Your plants need to be watered thoroughly when the potting medium feels fairly dry. When you do water, the whole volume of the container should be temperarily flooded so that dry, hydrophobic pockets never form. It might be more or less frequently than once per week.

I urge you to remove the stakes. Plants need to be able to move. I've seen woody plants strangled by ties that are too tight.

So what did this really upscale nursery do with the leaf sample? I'm confused by the spinosad comment.....do you mean that the pesticide is causing the leaf curl? And for what purpose are you using the neem?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 9:39AM
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Thanks for your kind response. The watering once per week reference was not by any clock but just and average guestimate. I water them at 7am in the morning and simply feel 4 to 5 inches down into the dirt to see if it is dry or moist. DonâÂÂt know about hydrophobic pockets but I could take them out of the pot to check the soil. The drip system is hooked up to a garden hose and has a lot of pressure so to get a spray in the pot. not drips, so I feel IâÂÂm getting full surface coverage.

I didnâÂÂt know I was suppose to remove the stakes the nursery installed so thank you for that tidbit. I will promptly pull those out at once.

Sorry about the spinosad confusion, I misspoke. The nursery looked at the leaf sample and said there might be tiny little microscopic bugs leeching on the leaf and that is why they gave me to Neem to spray onto the tops and bottoms of the leaves once in the morning then once again in the next 7 to 10 days. IâÂÂve done both treatments already.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 10:41AM
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Curling leaves

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 10:33PM
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Gold Nugget is a Mandarin and a very good one too. Chances are you have a Mite or a Thrip infestation. All the bad bugs go for my Gold Nugget too leaving everything else practically untouched. I guess the leaves are as sweet to them as the fruit is to us. Spinosad is considered to be the best treatment for Thrips and a number of other pests. If your local nursery does not carry it and they probably don't. None of the ones near me carry it either. Then follow the link. I just purchased this very item last week.

Here is a link that might be useful: Monterey LG6135 Garden Insect Spray Contains Spinosad, 32-Ounce

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 12:39AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

All recommendations Mountain Man. First off, 'Gold Nugget' is in the common mandarin category, and not a Satsuma mandarin. And, Satsuma leaves are not ugly at all. They are long and lovely, and the Satsuma mandarin has a lovely more weeping growth habit. Silly thing for the nursery man to say, I think. The insect that your nursery man was probably referring to were aphids, hence the recommendation of Neem. A good hard blast of water to remove the aphids is first in order. But first look closely under the leaves to see if you have aphids. You can then treat with Neem. If you have thrips, they're much harder to see, extremely tiny, and most likely in the flower buds or on new growth. Almost microscopic. You can indeed treat with Spinosad, just be sure to really, really soak the flower buds and get the Spinosad well into all the cracks and crevasses. I see your new growth looks fine. Is you tree staying in a container or going in the ground? If staying in a container, I would suggest re-potting out of the black plastic pot, especially if you're in an area where you have some intense sun, and the black pots can heat up, which can be a bit tough on roots.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 10:44AM
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