Satsuma tree doesn't produce

dwcooleyJuly 15, 2011

Hello. New to the forum and I did a search to see if this had been asked and I didn't find anything so I was hoping maybe someone out there could pass on some knowledge that might help me out.

I have a Satsuma tree planted in my back yard. The tree is beautiful and to the top is almost 12' tall. It has nice color, long thorns and the tree is very healthy. The tree is about 4 or 5 years old and it has never produced. I had the tree planted at my old house but I dug it up and moved it when it was about 2 years old. Once I planted it at our new home it grew very quickly. I have made sure there are no suckers, but I have never pruned the tree back. I also apply the citrus fertilizer each year.

I also have a Meyer Lemon, Blood Orange, Naval Orange and another Satsuma tree planted. My other Satsuma tree is only about 4' tall and I've had it planted for 2 years and it already has 10 - 15 satsumas on it. Same with the Blood Orange.

Any tips or suggestions? Is it possible to just have a dud that doesn't grow anything?

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Karly30

I sounds like it has been putting all it's energy into growing foliage. What is your fertilizing regimen? My guess would be it will level out on the growth and start producing fruit, or maybe you need to adjust the fertilizer to help it do that.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 10:57PM
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houstontexas123(z9a)

has it flowered and not set fruit? or is it just not flowering?

try letting it get dry. stress it out a little. simulating a dry season. once the tree starts looking bad, water it a lot, simulating the start of the wet season (lots of rain).

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 3:32AM
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silica

Something is wrong here. A Satsuma with long thorns????

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 6:28PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

That is exactly what I was saying to myself Silica.

Hum

Mike

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 7:08PM
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houstontexas123(z9a)

could be a mandarin or tangerine, i'm not sure what the differences are. my aunt has a few of them, and one is very throny with 2" thorns.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 12:57AM
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silica

There are two possibilities concerning this "Satsuma" tree. If the tree is a grafted tree, perhaps the root stock has over taken the tree. If this is not the case, then most certainly this tree is not a satsuma. Look on the tree's trunk approximately 6 inches above the soil to see if there is a graft line. If not, then there is a third possibility. Two of the most prominent characteristics of a juvenile seedling tree are: 1. The vigorous production of large thorns, and the absence of fruit production for an extended period years, even though the tree is healthy.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 6:37PM
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dwcooley

Thank you for all the replies!
I have been out of pocket for a bit. I will take some pictures of the tree and measure the thorns to post that. As to the questions of if it is a Satsuma tree or not, I can only go by thats what I ordered and that is what the blue tag around the tree said when I got it and planted it. I have never had any other citrus trees except for the ones I have planted now, so I just don't have the experience to be able to look at it and tell if it is something other than a Satsuma. I will take some pictures of the leaves as well, maybe someone out there can tell by the leaves, thorns and anything else if it is in fact a satsuma. I checked for the root stock and there is nothing that I can see that would lead me to believe it was a root stock.
Thanks again

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 1:37AM
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dwcooley

Also in reply to houstontexas123, it has never even had a flower on it.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 1:39AM
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houstontexas123(z9a)

possibly a seedling then. my aunt's tangerines/mandarins w/e they're called in english (gut in cantonese) were grown from seeds, very thorny, long thorns and took a few years to bloom. now she gets buckets full of tangerines.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 6:32AM
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dwcooley

I took 6 pictures of the tree I'm asking about and I took a picture of my Brown Select Satsuma tree. Makes a lot of sense now why the questions of if it is even a Satsuma tree. My other Satsuma doesn't have thorns. The tree I am talking about has 2" thorns all over it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pictures of the tree I'm asking about

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 2:29PM
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silica

as I suggest in my post above the root stock has over taken your tree. All of the thorns that you are asking about, are on the branches that produce trifoliate leaves. These branches are from the root stock, not from the original tree. All of the branches that have monofoliate leaves (single blade leaves) belong to the original tree. Your tree could well be a Satsuma tree after all, but has been over taken by the root stock. You need to cut out all the branches with trifoliate leaves as soon as possible.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 5:08PM
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dwcooley

I went outside and went limb by limb. Every branch on the tree has trifoliate leaves. Every branch and even the trunk is covered in thorns. Should I just cut the tree down and start over? I really do appreciate all the answers and advice, very educational and informative.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 7:24PM
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cebury(9)

I was going to say the same: I could not see one non-trifoliate leaf on the tree in question. Due to the straightness of the trunk and b/c you seem to monitor/care for the tree well, I'd bet you got a bad tree from the nursery right from the start. It either was a 100% trifoliate they forgot to bud or mislabeled, or sometime during the nursery size-up or retail they let a strong sucker take hold which became the new trunk.

Citrus grafting is pretty easy and you know fairly quick if a graft took hold or not. I wouldn't rip the tree out, I'd take this as an excellent opportunity to use the healthy established root base to learn grafting. Whatever you do, don't mistakenly let yourself believe the learning curve is steep and takes too much time. You could take a couple branches from your other trees and your off and running.

That is, if your state isn't like Fl and still allows you to graft on your own tree.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 2:09PM
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silica

cebury is correct, if you live in Florida, it is illegal to do any propagation, of any type what so ever, even on your own trees.

Looking at the second picture, the one with the fruit, it looks to be a monofoliate leaved branch, at least from the picture.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 6:03PM
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dwcooley

I live in Louisiana, but not sure about the grafting I'll have to do some research on that.

The second picture is of my other Satsuma tree that I planted about 3 years ago. It looks really good and already has fruit on it.

I'll do some research and see about the grafting, but more than likely I will end up cutting the tree down and re-planting one. Disappointing because it is such a pretty tree, but I planted it to produce fruit. No free rides around here!

Thanks again for all the answers, help and information.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 11:06AM
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brucefl

My 15' tall Satsuma tree is covered with fruit for the first time in it's 6 yr life. During a couple of earlier years it was exposed to freezes and other years the blooms were subjected to high winds and rain. Following those conditions branches developed up to 2" thorns and some appeared to have died however left alone nearly all recovered. This year I am tickled orange! That being said I would like to ask what the possible cause of the markings on some of the fruit that appear as if I had taken a wire brush to them. I took some pics. Do I need to post them on a photo sharing site in order to show them here? Thanks for your input.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 6:12PM
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brucefl

I'm fighting this picture hook up. Seems one site never asks for what the other site offers. URLs etc confuse me.

Location of tree is Gulf Breeze, FL about 5 blocks from the Sound and a couple miles from the Gulf.

Here is a link that might be useful: Picture Trail

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 7:40PM
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wisner_gw wisner

brucefl, I can't see you pictures, but I think those scratch marks on your fruit are from blackbirds or grackles who like to scratch their beaks on the fruit and get the oils that they rub on their feathers.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 7:43PM
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justfigured(6)

Bruce, 2 inch thorns on a satsuma is concerning, makes me think that you may have rootstock issues consistent with the original poster for this thread.

Your link requires a log in, so you will have to figure out how to embed the URL. I am not the one to help with that, though. I have heard that if you copy/paste the URL right in the message and not in the "optional link URL", the picture will appear in your post. I cannot, however, independently verify.

Barb

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 12:48PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Most definitely I concur with all that have said your rootstock has just about taken over your Satsuma, Bruce. 2 inch thorns is the first clue, as are the trifoliate leaves (3 in 1). As recommended, trim away to the trunk all branches with these leaves and thorns. I did see some monofoliate leaves in your photo, so after you trim away, leaving the monofoliate branches, look to see if you have a main trunk. If so, then I would tip prune your monofoliate branches to force a new flush (still not too late for that), and see if you can encourage branches and leaves to emerge from the scion. Watch below the graft line on the trunk for any more rootstock branches trying to emerge.

Now, saying all that, often the reason you see rootstock starting to do this is due to the scion failing. So, you may just have to replace the entire tree. Up to you on how much time you want to spend trying to get the scion to recover. If the scion is healthy, it will. Citrus are amazing resilient trees.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 2:50PM
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justfigured(6)

Patty,

The original poster (DW from LA) and Bruce from FL are 2 different people with what appears to be nearly identical problems. We have yet to see Bruce's tree.

Barb

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 5:33PM
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    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 6:15PM
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brucefl

I added a few more pics: http://www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/slideshow/23860746

Looks like the shoots hugging the main trunk(s) have the longer thorns and don't appear to have fruit on them as best I can see. Those fruit bearing branches growing out more horizontaly have shorter (1" or less) thorns. Would it be safe to remove those heaven bound shoots at this stage?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 7:18PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Oh dear, thanks Barb. Bruce! It is better to start your own thread with your own question, than to tack onto someone else's thread. That way, you have the ability to check off the notification box so you're notified of responses to your question. Plus, for those of us with "senior attention issues", it makes it easier to know who we're talking to, lol!

As to you issue Bruce, the most definitive way to know if you've got root stock or scion growth is to look at the leaves. If they are trifoliate, it's root stock. And, for sure any branches that come out from below the graft line on the trunk. And, if Picture Trail has an .html code, you can copy and paste that right into your message, and your photo will appear in the message. Easier than having to open another web page, and toggle back and forth :-) You can use Photobucket instead, it is VERY easy to find the .html code. And, it's really hard to tell what the really tall branches are in the middle of the tree. They are acting like water sprouts, but that could be from either the root stock or the scion. But I would recommend continuing this discussion in your own message, so you don't take over the original poster's message thread :-)

Patty S.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 11:21PM
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brucefl

No problem. Thanks

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 12:30PM
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whitkellam

I've read through much of this forum and some of my questions regarding rootstock have been answered, but not all. We've had our satsuma tree for 5+ years and over the last few years, it has produced very little fruit, if any. This year, we have a tree full of fruit. Our concern is with the rootstock. The tree with thorns is considerably larger than the fruit bearing tree. Do we cut the rootstock down? And if so, how much of it do we cut and where? Also, do we cut after the tree has finished bearing fruit? I am enclosing photos for you to see. Please help!!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 12:30PM
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whitkellam

I've read through much of this forum and some of my questions regarding rootstock have been answered, but not all. We've had our satsuma tree for 5+ years and over the last few years, it has produced very little fruit, if any. This year, we have a tree full of fruit. Our concern is with the rootstock. The tree with thorns is considerably larger than the fruit bearing tree. Do we cut the rootstock down? And if so, how much of it do we cut and where? Also, do we cut after the tree has finished bearing fruit? I am enclosing photos for you to see. Please help!!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 12:32PM
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tnelder26

I have 6 Satsuma trees that are appx 4 years old. I planted a Satsuma that was given to my wife from someone in her garden club and it produced about 25 seedlings. I have yet to have a bloom. Mine does have long thorns and I fertilize it once a year with citrus tree spikes. I've never had one bloom. What's up?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 1:48PM
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tigerfan1961

mine did the same thing. a worker at the nursery said if i had thorns then it was growing from the root stock and would never grow fruit and needed to come out. replaced it and now have wonderful fruit. she said most times if cold kills the tree it will start regrowing but from the rootstock and you can tell because it will have thorns. hope this helps.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2015 at 8:34PM
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