Orange tree leaves are completely gone!

David0322May 8, 2014

I live in Florida and have a Valencia orange tree that is 3 or 4 years old. I have been taking care of this tree the best I can and it's been doing ok. Fertilized it about 3 times per year, the last time about 3 weeks ago. I did find an orange dog on it, so I have applied BT to it a couple times. Anyway, I noticed the other day it was losing its leaves really bad. I went outside and gave the tree a very light shake and all the leaves fell off. My tree is literally just sticks now. I also noticed the tree doesn't seem to be growing. It's the same size it was last fall. How tall should a 3-4 year old Valencia be? I'm so discouraged, can anyone help? I have no idea if it can be saved and what went wrong to cause it. See picture below.

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That is odd. Usually when eaten by caterpillars you ca n see leftover pieces but your bareness is quite uniform. As long as stems continue to be nice and green , your plant should recover. Just keep an eye on those cats

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 5:59PM
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May I ask, is that sandy soil?

Have you ever had the pH checked out?

How much water to you give it..

I am not an in grown citrus grower, but to be it looks under nourished and probably not betting enough water...

I'd have the soil tested, make sure the soil get moist enough and stays that way to prevent leaf loss due to root loss, and fetilize more regularly...
Your pH will help the tree take up nutriuents..


    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 7:23PM
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I have never had the soil tested, but it's not overly sandy... just regular dirt. Where does one get soil tested? I make sure it gets a good watering 3 times a week or so. Usually we get good rain that takes care of it but if I go 3-4 days with no rain, I'll get the hose out. We had not gotten any rain for several days, then on Saturday, we got a bunch of it... one of those all day soakings, none stop from sun-up to sun-down. Sunday and Monday were fine and then I noticed the leaves falling off on Tuesday.

Other than one orangedog I found on it last year, I've never seen any bugs on it other than ants. I would check it a lot because the leaves have not looked good for a while. Some of them have holes in them, some have dark brown stuff on the underside, and some of them are (were) curled. That's why I sprayed it 2 or 3 times with Thuricide.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 11:52PM
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Just an update. The limbs are now turning brown and are brittle. I'm guessing that means it's dying and probably won't come back. The frustrating part is that I still don't know what happened so I am hesitant to purchase another tree. Under-watered, over-watered, soil issue, caterpillars, other bugs... etc. Thanks for the help, I'm going to go talk to someone at a nursery as my last-ditch attempt.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 8:05PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Citrus need at minimum, a half day of sun. It looks like it has been planted in the shade of an oak. Is your poor little tree in shade a majority of the time? If so, that will cause it to struggle mightily. I'm so sorry.

Carol in Jacksonville

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 8:15PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

David, it's really hard to know at this late date, what caused your tree's demise. It could be many things, but not the orangedog. I would check the root system, first. Dig down and see how wet or dry the roots are. Also, seems like the tree is in the shade? It would help if the tree was in full or near full sun. Citrus will grow in the shade, they are pretty good about that, but the more sun, the better. Being in the shade also would not cause the tree's demise. I suspect this is ether a watering issue, or possibly, since you're in Florida, the result of Citrus Greening disease. But, the latter is just a guess, because it is too late to see any mottling chlorisis on the leaves, which is a diagnostic tool to use. Based on the dead brown leaves under the tree, I'm suspecting under watering, but don't know for sure because you haven't checked your soil to see if it is sandy, loamy, or clay. All make a huge difference with regard to water retention. Your watering and rain may be insufficient if in sand, or too much water if in clay. Your roots will tell you. If they are mushy, rotten, black or smelly, it's too much water. If brown and dried out, not enough water. If they look pretty normal (beige/white/lt. brown), then I would start looking at other causes, such as Citrus Greening.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 10:17AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I can't it in a container or in the ground?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 10:40AM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

I think its inground?

Might be best to replace it...have you tried checking the bark to see if its still alive? Sorry this happened, its terrible when we lose a plant especially ones we've had for 3 or 4 years...been there :o(

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 3:45PM
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