HELP! Lime Tree new growth curling?

cali41May 4, 2011

Hi all -

I recently planted a lime tree into the ground here in the Phoenix area. The tree is about 3 years old and looks very healthy. After planting into the ground, it immediately started growing leaves and blooms. Alot of the blooms have turned into small limes which makes me think the tree has to be doing okay. I have watered it deeply about once a week to try and promote strong root growth and acclimation to the ground before the hot Phoenix summer arrives. With temps in the mid 90s now, I'm watering twice a week.

My concern is with the new leaf growth. They are green, but often are curled up. The shape is regular, and I have noticed less of a curl after watering, but the leaves still have a descent curl to them. All the original leaves looks great (those that were there when purchased earlier this year).

What could be the cause of this leaf curl? I have not fertilized the tree as I was told not to fertilize its first year after planting.

Please assess what you think could be causing this curling? I could be overreacting to nothing, but I'm new to citrus so I'm trying to learn the ins and outs.

Thanks in advance!

Here are some example pictures I took -

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you said its getting pretty hot, and im sure the sun is brutal, i have read that that is a natural defense of citrus whe its too sunny to prevent the sun from hitting the leaves. i had a similiar problem, and when the sun was overhead i put my tree which is potted though in a shadier spot and it went back to normal. just a thought

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 11:33AM
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one of my navel trees is doing that with its leaves.

it was fine last summer. this winter we had a few hard freezes. all the old leaves died off. all of these new leaves are like taco shells lol

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 5:16AM
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Cali..where was the lime when you first bought it? Inside a green house? Outdoors? If outside, was it in shade or full sun?

Did you plant in the ground right after bringing it home?

It's best acclimating a citrus before placing in a hot, sunny spot.

Leaves curl when dry or too hot.

If you're certain the ground is moist enough, perhaps you should erect some type of shelter..It doesn't have to be fancy..If you're handy, you can build a mobile sun blocker. Some type of screen so prevent full sun from aiming at your lime. Remove it a little each day until your citrus acclimates to full-sun.

Aside from running a fan all day, lol, I don't know if you can do anything about the heat.
In early morning and as soon as the sun sets, hose the leaves, 'not soil' might help.

The other reason leaves would curl is insects, like Leaf Miners. Do Ca citrus get LM'ers, or do they only attack citrus in FL? Toni

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 2:37PM
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I bought this lime tree at Home Depot. It was tagged from 2008. The tree grew up in Southern California, im assuming, most likely in a greenhouse environment. When I purchased it it was alerady out in the sun, and I kept it out in the sun for a good several weeks up to a month before it made its way into the ground.

The leaves that were existing on the plant when I purchased it are fine, a great green color, very healthy looking. Its just the new growth that is showing the curling issues. I believe I will have to water it frequently through the summer to keep it going, and with any luck, it'll do fine and then have the entire Phoenix winter to stabilize and be more prepared for the heat next year. What do you think?

I was thinking about some insect also, but I have not seen any evidence of insects, but I might not know what to specifically look for. I do have a mature lemon and mature orange trees in my yard, and their new leave growth also is a little concerning. I have pictures I was planning on posting for those trees in this forum through a separate post. Those trees might be related, or different not sure, we have several cold freezes (into the 20s) this winter, so those trees did endure some stress from the winter, but this little lime tree was not around then.

Any thoughts would be appreciated. A shelter might not be a bad idea, i'm glad the lime tree takes shade in the late afternoon from the lemon tree, so the hottest part of the day it is in the shade.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 12:59PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

That's not CLM, hopeful. The damage from CLM is very distinctive, with little squirrely tracts mined in the leaves. And yes, we're loaded with CLM, worse than Florida actually :-( It looks more to me like too much sun and not enough water. I would make sure you're watering deeply twice a week, and try dropping a shade net over this little tree until it can get aclimated to full sun in AZ. Insects to watch for as well that can cause leaf curling are spider mites. You can use Bayer Advanced Shrub & Tree 12 month (Spinosid timed release) and that will take care of just about any sucking insect. You're not going to be harvesting anything from this tree for quite a while, and spinosid is a very safe, organic pesticide. Spider mite damage is also pretty distinctive, the leaves start to look sort of faintly speckled. UC IPM'w web site is extremely helpful in identifying pests. I'm sure Arizona State University (which I think is your land grant college) should also have a web site that can provide you with photos, but I've provided the link to UC IPM's Spider Mites on Citrus for you, below.

Patty S.

Here is a link that might be useful: UC IPM: Spider Mites on Citrus

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 1:47PM
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