Fruit Buds falling off

cody94549April 16, 2014

I have several Citrus - Meyers Lemon, Dwarf Grapefruit, and a small lime bush. Each planted about 1 year ago. They each get TONS of flowers/buds ... Then they start forming fruit - all of a sudden I start noting that a lot are just dropping off. What causes this? I've scanned each of them closely for bugs/aphids/etc and there is nothing obvious. Very frustrating.

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Cody, are your trees in containers or in the ground? It can be just from having young, juvenile trees, or it could be due to growing conditions. Please let us know where you are, are trees in the ground or in containers, and post photos. We need a bit more info to be able to tell you what might be going on for sure.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 1:41PM
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cody94549

I'll try to get a pic in a bit ... They are all in the ground. The Meyers is an old bush/tree. Thanks for the fast reply. Great site !!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 1:48PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Okay, so where are you in the country? Where are the trees planted (exposure, in a lawn, etc.), how frequently are you fertilizing and with what, how often are you watering and how?

Patty S.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 3:00PM
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cody94549

OK, finally got that pic .. Although honestly, it only shows how GREAT it looks; not the few buds that have fallen off already (and presumably a lot more to fall over the next couple of weeks.) It is a Dwarf Grapefruit, planted in amended soil end of last summer. We live in the SF Bay Area - in the east bay over the hills. It gets VERY hot here in the summer, never freezes (OK, seldom gets below 32). This location that it is planted gets morning to mid-day sun. By 2 PM it is filtered sun. The soil gets dry by the heat pretty fast, so I tend to water this about every 2-3 days -- of if the top soil feels 'crusty dry'. I use a 6-4-6 Citrus fertilizer (Home Depot). Thanks again.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:02AM
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angela1234(6 SW PA)

The leaves look a little yellow to me - maybe nutrient deficient. A lot of people on this forum recommend Foliage Pro 9-3-6 fertilizer or something that is nitrogen rich. Foliage Pro is nice because it has all of the other nutrients needed as well.

Patty usually has really good advice :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Foliage Pro

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:40AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Ah. Not so great. The reason your tree is aborting flowers and small fruits is because is is severely undernourished. Over, very overwatered and suffering from Phytophthora, causing root rot and lack of nutrient uptake. Check how moist the soil is 18 to 24 inches down, not the "crusty" surface. If it is still wet, don't water. Assess your soil moisture first. If it could stand to be watered, water some, then apply a high quality citrus fertilizer with an NPK ratio as close to 5:1:3 as you can find, along with the full compliment of micronutrients (Magnesium, Iron, Calcium, Zinc, Manganese.) Then, fertilize again in 2 months. You should be fertilizing 4 times a year during the growing season.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 4:36PM
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cody94549

ugh ... OK, thanks ... (I checked the soil - dug around the perimeter, it really is NOT soaking wet .. a little damp yes, not dry.

I have a bag of Nitrogen (21-0-0) ... since I already applied 6-3-6 to it, would a small amount of amendment of Nitrogen (1/4 cup?) help ... otherwise I'll have to go by the nursery & try to find a 5-3-1 of some sort. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 10:12AM
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