Orange Tree leaves curling upwards

vttropicalguyOctober 30, 2006

Hello again. I have a 3 year old Satsuma orange tree that as of the last 3-5 days or so has leaves that are curving upwards. I did a search in this forum and read a post that suggested overwatering could be the problem. I checked the soil, and it seemed dry enough -- not bone dry, but not wet. I did the 3" finger test, and it came out fairly clean. I waited three days until the soil was even more dry, then watered as I normally do. I don't think its a drainage problem or root rot(though, how would I know for sure without removing the tree from its pot?)

Are there other reasons that the leaves would curl? Temperature change perhaps? The tree is in a Southern facing bay window, in a room that is heated by a woodstove. The temperature does vary during the days, but I've recently purchased a humidifier and I mist the tree once or twice a day, especially when the stove is cranking.

The tree was in the same location last winter and i don't recall the curling leaves then.

Any suggestions? I had been feeding it with Miracle Gro, but after reading this forum, I realize that there are better options. The only difficulty is that many have their favorites, and I"m still not sure what to use. Any suggestions on citrus food would also be appreciated....

Thanks again in advance for your advice and expertise...


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Hi Michael,
If your tree was in the same location last yr, and temps were the same, that shouldn't be the problem..
I know this may sound drastic, but perhaps you should check for pests. Do you know what to look for?
There are many reasons leaves can curl..
Since you're in z3, I'd stop fertilizing for the time being..
Actually, if you can bring your citrus to the sink or shower I'd leach the soil. Just run water through it. You might have salt buildup from excess fertilizer.
Good luck, Michael..Toni

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 10:14PM
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Hello Toni,

Thanks for you response. Any pests in particular? I've been fighting an endless war with mealy bugs on all of my plants -- yes, I've learned to isolate new ones upon arrival, unfortunately too late. The orange tree in particular hasn't been hit too badly. It's currently free from the buggers, and has been for awhile prior to the curling leaves. I don't see any other pests, but perhaps I'm missing something?
I'd say at least half of the leaves look normal. Maybe a quarter have a pronounced curl, another quarter a subtle one. A handful of leaves are 'crispy' at the egdes and show a little yellow and brown. The rest of the leaves all are full green.

The temperatures were close to being the same last year, though this year I've only used the wood stove... meaning that the temperature has fluctuated from the 80's when it's really cranking, to the 60's during the early morning hours, before I get up and get it going again. Could the temperature change have that effect? My other plants don't seem to mind...

Okay, here comes the newbie confession. I've been feeding it with regular Miracle Gro roughly once a month. But, now that I'm looking to take this hobby a bit more seriously, I've been looking for a more appropriate care regimen. The tree for the most part has been doing really well. It gave me 4 full-sized oranges last year, and it's currently working on another 4. Any suggestions on improving its care would be welcomed.

When you suggest leaching the soil, how long should I do that for? It would probably be easier to do that outside than in my shower, as the tree is fairly large. It certainly wouldn't fit in my sink.

Thanks again for your help. I greatly appreciate it.


    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 12:59AM
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Hey Michael,

Ah, those darn mealy..they're the worst. Examine your citrus thoroughly, Michael. Mealy hide between stems, under leaves and of course on top of leaves.
Other pests are scale (armored bumps that can be scraped off) Spider mites, which are really tiny, but they, like the common spider, weave fine webbs. And more obvious pests are whitefly..when you touch the foliage a spray full of these white bugs fly around the plant then return to leaves.

But since you've been having problems w/mealy, I'd keep an eye out for them. They're great at hiding..Do leaves feel sticky? Are you finding white cottony white patches?

Wood burning stove..Ah, now that's a source of heat that will dry out a room in no time..Good thing you got the humidifer. How about air circulation? Wet soil, dry air, and stuffiness invites pests. Do you have a ceiling fan in the room? If so, keep on low during winter months. Or if it's not too cold outside, crack a window a bit a few hours per day, that is unless it's freezing.

What type of Miracle GRo are you using, Michael? I believe MG sells a type for citrus..It was either MG or Miracid for citrus and avacados. Of course you can buy citrus fertilizer, too or even Azalea fertilizer which I think works comes in granualar and needs applications every three months..but it's best reading instructions. All brands are different.

When I leach soil, (either by using hose or sink) I water moving in a circular motion until water seeps from the drainage holes. Depening on your water pressure, I'd say 1-2 mins. Or more..

I'm also a firm believer in misting plants..Some people do and some deem it a waste of time..This is up to you of course. I notice a difference when I get lazy and stop.

How tall is your tree? What size is its pot? What type of soil are you using?
Proper watering is very important..You don't want soggy soil, especially in winter when days are short. Good drainage is also important. And pots w/drainage holes.

What state do you reside? Toni

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 8:16PM
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suzannesks(z 7 WA.)

Michael, generally (3) reasons for leaf curling upwards, and they are pests,overwatering,humidity and I would bet...that it's your wood stove.I also have been a woodstove burner for many a year,and they are murder on plants expecially in the same room or close by. Take Toni's advise and buy a humidifier, I also have mine going from time to time expecially for this reason. And also when you water, water deeply and take your tree to the sink or shower and let it run throughly out of the bottom plus giving the tree a shower,and your also washing the build up of salts away.Good luck with this,you will see a difference with humidity :)***Suzanne

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 10:23AM
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If you are using a wood stove, why buy a humidifier. Buy a large foot tub, fill it with water and sit it on top. The water will evaporate and humidify the area.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 12:17AM
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Hello all, i have a satsuma question, i have 15 satsuma trees and many of them seem to have problems, on some of them the leaves and fruit have many bumps which is very ugly ..some of my neighbors trees are the same with bumpy fruit and leaves,, can someone tell me why this is happening? thanks

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 8:35PM
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I have a small orange tree planted two years ago. It's very green this year but the leaves are curling up and there are discolored leathery places on some of the leaves. I have fertilized it with citrus fertilizer and watered it. There is much foliage but it's all damaged. Isn't there a spray I can use? Thank you

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 2:13PM
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Dear sir,
WE planted a orange tree about three years ago, the first year we got about 8 to 10 oranges and they were sweet, the second year we got alot of buds ,but they all fell off.this year we got some buds but they all fell off, and the leaves are starting to curl I water about every two to three days .Could you help me with this.
Thank You Very Much
Sue from Cape Coral Fl

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 11:59AM
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