Orange tree leaf curl and wilt

wyzhaoJune 10, 2014


I planted a blood orange several month ago. Shortly after I planted it, it started to have some leaf problem - some leaves were eaten leaving only the veins. I thought it was some passing bugs, but didn't see any. Now the leaves also start to fall off. Please see the attached photos.
Can somebody help me please?

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

First off, where do you live? Makes a difference as to how we advise you. The leaf drop is probably due to transplant shock. You don't tell us how often and deep you're watering, if you're fertilizing, how much sun the tree receives, what kind of soil you have. As far as bugs eating the leaves, where you live will make a difference as to what pests you might expect, but in general, it could be grasshoppers, orangedogs, slugs/snails to name a few.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 8:47AM
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My location is San Ramon, CA.
It is in drought now and pretty hot in the past several days. I water it every day with hose.
When I planted it, I mixed the native soil with Miracle Go Tree and Shrub garden soil. So far I have not put in any fertilizer.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 10:46PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Okay. Probably too much water. You should not need to water every day. And, we don't recommend amending the hole you plant your tree in. Instead, plant your tree in your native soil. If you have clay soil, plant citrus in a raised mound manner, to aid in drainage. If you want to amend your soil if it's thin (such as mine is, which is mostly decomposed granite), you can top dress your trees, just like Mother Nature does. Provide your tree with a nice large water well, extended out to the edge or your canopy and just beyond, so that the water will accumulate around the tree, out at the drip line, where the feeder roots are. Fertilize with a good quality citrus fertilizer that contains micros as well as the NPK macros. Water the fertilizer in well. Fertilize 4 times a year during the growing season. The Miracle Gro soil will really not suffice. Water deeply once or twice a week, so the water soaks down 18 to 24" inches. That's where the feeder roots reside. Check to see if the tree really does need to be watered, before you water it. I use a cheap green plastic covered plant stake, and push it into the ground. For me, if I can push it in, and it comes back moist, then I know the tree doesn't need to be watered. You'll get to know when you need to water during your different seasons without having to test, after a year or so of testing.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 12:13AM
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Thank you.

The soil here is adobe clay and home depot suggested me to amend soil with the garden soil.

Should I dig it out and replant it in native soil?

What about the bug?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 3:42PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Ugh. Don't listen to someone at Home Depot. They have zero horticultural training. For those on clay, you should be planting on mounds to encourage good drainage. Your tree is indeed getting water logged, and the roots are struggling to breath. When you amend the hole with clay, you simply end up planting your tree in a bathtub. I suspect, due to the mulch, you've got slugs and/or snails. Treat with Sluggo, which is iron phosphate (and organic). You'll know by going out in the early morning or late evening to see snail/slug activity. I would re-plant on a good, raised mound. Move the mulch away from the trunk, don't let the branches touch the ground, and sprinkly Sluggo around the trunk. Look underneath all the leaves to find snails or slugs hiding.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 7:50PM
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