Orange Tree Leaf Drop, AZ

gilman10May 17, 2010


So I have what I think is a dwarf orange tree. Im not sure how old, but I can tell you it is 9 feet tall, with an 8 foot canopy, and bears fruit.

This May, I noticed that leaves had begun to drop off. It went through a normal bloom, and has some fruit on it now. I give it 7.5 gallons of water over the course of 1 hour every three days. I just upped that from every 4 days since it started getting hotter.

After reading around here, it seems like I am giving too much water, but I wanted to confirm it since too little and too much water could cause the leaf drop. But the most recent change I made that correlates with the problem is the watering. Please let me know your thoughts. If it is too much water, is it too late to help the tree out? What is the best course of action now?

Also, I never fertilize this tree, although I have been noticing less fruit on it in recent years, so I was planning on doing it this year.

Thanks much


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Hi Gil, you did not say if the tree is in the ground or in a pot. Orange trees tend to be heavy feeders so not being fertilized could be part of the problem. This is a large tree though and I suspect there is more to this. Right off the bat the tree sounds to big for a pot unless its been root pruned and re-potted several times and is in a very large pot. If its in the ground the amount of water its getting is way low for Arizona.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 1:15AM
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It is in the ground in the east side of the house. It has sun for most of the day. Im thinking to increase the water then, say double, not frequency so it will be a deeper wattering?

When is a good time for fertilizing?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 10:59AM
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I have a dwarf orange tree in the ground in full sun here in AZ and I water it fairly rarely actually, at most once a week, but when I do water it, I just let the hose sit there for a long time and it gets a heck of a lot more than 7 gallons. So far it seems to be doing good. (it's still a baby, very small).
The best time to fertilize it would have been about a month ago, but right now is still a good time, so yes I would water it really good, then fertilize it (not any closer than 2 ft from the trunk though) and give it another good soaking, Then I'd leave it alone for a week. Maybe repeat the deep watering after one week. Then you can cut back on water (meaning, still continue to water deeply, but you don't have to overdo it as much). That's just my 2c. And let us consider ourselves lucky that we can have these citrus in the ground. Oh, and some gypsum with sulphur in it would probably do it some good. (the brand I got last time had sulphur in it, which is nice to kill 2 birds with one stone.)

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 1:41PM
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Hi Gil as greendesert said deep watering is the way to go. My bet is that its more like 100-200 gallons every 7-10 days in most cases for the health of the tree and nice juicy fruit.

Here is a link to Greenfield Citrus Nursery's page on Watering and Fertilizing and they are in Arizona.

Here is a link that might be useful: Greenfield Citrus Nursery Water & Fertilizer

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 3:23PM
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OH MY GOD, your poor water bill!!!!!!

By the time summer is over, you could fill 10 olympic sized pools...

Good luck


    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 10:38AM
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haha. well Mike, the water bill does get to be a bit of a problem here, but to me it's worth it, and no, it's not quite that bad (maybe not 10 pools, but 2-3 for sure LOL).
Now this is why I've changed the plumbing in my house to reuse some of my gray water. It goes straight to my trees, and although it probably isn't enough for all of them, so I still have to water, it does decrease the water bill significantly.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 12:20PM
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