Kumquat dying

maximus852(5 OH)November 7, 2005

My kumquat has lost all of its leaves, either because I over fertilized it or underwatered it. It is very, very small tree. If I flush the soil, and make sure it has alot of water, can it come back?

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You kinda need to know whats wtong before tinkering will help. How did the leaves look as they fell off? How strong was your fertlizer?

If youre sure its not over-watered, set it in the sink or shower and gently run water out for a while. I worry about plants getting root rot indoors, its less warm (I dont have a greenhouse) than the summer. I use a house fan a few hours every other day to give circulation and gentle drying.

This is my first year with citrus, and im taking baby steps. I have a fairly warm room/window, but im only feeding half strength, every other watering right now, so I dont get over-spindly plants.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2005 at 9:51AM
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suzannesks(z 7 WA.)

Maximus...I can only tell you that with my experience 's with Kumquats they can be more tempermental than Meyer Lemons! A few things That I have learned with mine is that ...it likes alott of light and it grows better when it's kept alittle more on the moist side.I can see in your page that you are a student and live in a dorm and have many houseplants.I'd check for bugs,water totally to flush out the salts and make sure theres plenty if light. You might want to buy a small grow lux just for your kumquat.***Suzanne

    Bookmark   November 7, 2005 at 10:02AM
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I would also supply some bottom heat not below 60F-16C no higher than 80F-27C
Fast draining soil mix,

    Bookmark   November 7, 2005 at 10:09AM
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Dale, if his tree is indoors why would he need bottom heat? (just curious)
Last May-June almost all my citrus lost leaves. I never did find out why. Millet told me to flush all of them w/water 5 times the pot size amount. They all came back. Hope you have WELL draining mix.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2005 at 1:41PM
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siliconmage(z5 NE)

If you over-fertilized then the edges of your leaves should be browning. If so, I'd flushed the root ball and repot into new soil with no fertilizer added.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2005 at 2:14PM
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Patty It has been stated a number of times that if the root temp. gets below 50F-10C the growth of the tree will slow.

So having a below 50F-10C root Temp. and a hot light source or sun light on the leaves, the root zone is at a slow down an the leaves are at a high imput.

The roots can not supply the demand that the leaves need.

Buy giving the tree a root zone heat between 60F-16C no higher than 80F-27C will help promote new growth

With a tree NOT having leaves over watering can be a problem, as it could be also if the root zone falls below 50F-10C

Being indoors does not guarantee a root Temp. of 60F It depends on the location within the indoors that the tree is place an the air Temp.

Millets postings are always informative an educational as is his emails. Myself, I'm very thankful to have gotten to know him

I condon in the root Temp. theory.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2005 at 3:43PM
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Maximus - Everyone here makes a good point, and you should consider all of them. You should also consider that kumquats are in the genus Fortunella, and can 'behave' somewhat differently than plants in the Citrus genus. Most notably, Kumquats have a tendency to go into dormancy for several weeks, during which time they can lose all leaves and basically look 'dead'. This is one likely reason for their exceptional cold hardiness, compared to most Citrus cultivars. Mid-November seems a little early for dormancy, even for the Kumquat (in Ohio). But it certainly wouldn't be impossible. Good luck to you. Feel free to keep us updated.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2005 at 4:39PM
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drichard, all that you say makes sense. Reading back, I guess I was ASSUMING Maximus' plant is in room temps but he never says so. Below 50* root temp is kinda low but again, Maximus never said what temp the room is. He does say he lives in a dorm so it can't be that cold in his room..don't you think? Maybe he will check it out & do whatever (?).
Lites are important too!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2005 at 12:16AM
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Patty, I don't see a need for additional heating mats when citrus grow indoors..
I mean, how many people live in a house that's 50F or less degrees? The average home temp is approximately 68F. This year, thermastats may be set lower, but even if placed at 60F degrees, what logical reason would there be keeping heating aids on soil?
When we set our citrus outside in summer, what percentage of people bring them in when temperatures are in the 60's? Heck, some ppl wait until 45, then come here to Gw and ask if they should bring their plants inside. Toni

    Bookmark   November 8, 2005 at 12:46AM
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Toni - You and Patty are correct. It's not likely that anyone is keeping their home at 50F, although I'd love it if my wife allowed me to do that. Anyway, soil temperature in a container will rarely match the air temperature, regardless of season. In the winter, it's always cooler, sometimes by as much as 15-20 degrees -- assuming you aren't using a soil warming mechanism.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2005 at 8:27AM
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chopstocky(z6 NY Sunset 37)

AAE that's a good point. I keep an air thermometer/hygrometer right next to my indoor citrus and it reads around 65F. When I touch the pot or soil it feels much cooler than that- it could be described as cold. I need to get a soil thermometer before I start to get similar problems as are described here.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2005 at 12:36PM
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AAE, you'd like temps at 50 degrees? I'd hibernate if the house was that cold. Are you half polar bear? LOL..

I have a question..my plant rooms are kept cool in winter. Yet, plants flower, fruit and many produce growth..For those who think it's important to heat soil of citrus in winter, do you feel the same way about other tropicals?
Many tropicals go dormant but I thought this was due to shorter days.
I also notice the plants that go through a dormancy period start growing around Jan/Feb. Jan and Feb are very cold months here in IL. So, if it's a matter of cool temps, why then do my plants grow without additional heat? Toni

    Bookmark   November 8, 2005 at 3:09PM
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maximus852(5 OH)

Wow, thanks for the response, everyone. I'm so busy this semester I didn't get around to checking this page until now.

If this tree has gone dormant, would the wood have changed too? When the leaves were falling off, the wood dried out too. Its such a small tree that the wood of the whole thing was green, but now its brown. It may have gone into dormancy though, since when it lost the majority of its leaves was when I left for the weekend and my friend that watched my ferret and plants left the window open, so I'm sure at night it got pretty cold. I wonder also if I was watering it so little that it went into dormancy, because I have been very busy with school the past few weeks and I don't even remember how well I've been watering things lately.

I do have fast draining soil, but I haven't repotted it since it lost all the leaves. If I want to try and bring it back, should I put a heat pad under it? It is in my room, which is NOT 50 degrees (LOL), but it is near the window. My dorm is 75 years old, so the windows don't keep the heat out very well.

Thanks for the advice.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2005 at 1:35AM
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maximus852(5 OH)

OOO some more stuff . . .

I didn't see any mites on this tree recently, but I do have a Black Eyed Susan vine that is very susceptable to spider mites, and has spread them to other plants before.

I don't really remember if the leaves turned brown at the edge when they fell off. Maybe just a little bit. They sort of got brown spots on some of them as they fell off. They pretty much just turned brown all over as they dried out and then fell off. If you want to see a picture of a few of the leaves, go to the gallery houseplant forum and I'm sure you'll find my thread. I know we're not supposed to post multiple places, but this forum doesn't have pictures, and it was useless to post there anyways because I only got one response.

Just ignore those white spots, they just came from my cheap camara. Also, is there a way to look at the roots and know if its dead?

    Bookmark   November 10, 2005 at 1:51AM
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Max, even though citrus doesn't have its own gallery, you can post a pic on a thread..How it's done I don't know, but people do it all the time.

Isolate the Black Eyed Susan. Annuals/tender perrenials invite mites.

The wood shouldn't have changed colors..If you snip a piece of brance, check to see if the inside is still green. This is one way of testing to see if it's alive..Though even if the branch is dead, it doesn't mean the whole plant is. A little scraping on the main trunk, (I don't like doing this) to check if it's green will reveal the life or death of a plant. Toni

    Bookmark   November 10, 2005 at 2:44PM
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BabyBlue11371(z6 KS)

Those are some sad looking leaves. I linked the pic here for you if anyone else wants to look at the leaves. Have you checked the roots?
any other pics you could share would be helpful..
good luck..
Gina *BabyBlue*

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   November 10, 2005 at 6:27PM
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The leaves in the pic look just like the ones of my nagami kumquat when it suffered "something". There were even twigs dying and I thought, that it could be perhaps a fungal disease or something. But it seems that...watering solved the problem. Suzanne wrote here that kumquats like to be kept a little on the moist side, so check if underwatering is not the case.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2005 at 11:02AM
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maximus852(5 OH)

I think this tree is dead. I guess its a learning experience. Regardless of my parents having always kept plants, I just started earlier this year and I'm still discovering things. Hopefully my next tree will fair better.

Here's some pictures I took. Let me know what you think.

Kumquat Tree Photos

    Bookmark   November 12, 2005 at 11:54PM
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Max, it won't work..Toni

    Bookmark   November 13, 2005 at 12:20AM
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BabyBlue11371(z6 KS)

Yeah from what I can tell from thses pics it does look in bad shape..
I added the "fixed" link here.. hope it works..
Gina *BabyBlue*

Here is a link that might be useful: maximus852 kumquat tree

    Bookmark   November 13, 2005 at 7:09PM
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Gina, thanks for posting the pics..

Max, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your kumquat is dead..I'm really sorry..
Is the kumquat the only citrus you have?
Continue being optimistic..if growing citrus is new to you, then perhaps you can change whatever you did w/the last tree.

Rootburn from overfertilizing will distroy a tree..as does over and underwatering.
This is one reason I stop feeding in winter. I give a mild dose of food in Oct, and resume when new growth appears. Be it Feb or Mar. Usually when the days lengthen.
Also, it's important to follow container dossages. Don't feed more than the bottle/box states.
Water your tree thoroughly, but let soil dry in-between. Use a humidifer in winter/and daily misting..if possible, shower or hose in sink..
Summer plant outdoors, gradually setting in direct sun..
Bring plant inside in late Sept, place in the sunniest window..I keep my citrus in cool rooms away from heaters. Use well-draining soils, such as all purpose, sand, perlite and peat. Divide equally.
Though I stop feeding in winter, I use Superthrive, a hormone/vitamin once a month.
Keep plant clean, by removing dead foliage, or leaves that drop on soil.
Check for pests from the day you bring it home, throughout the year.
Humiidty and circulating air keeps bugs at bay..Toni

    Bookmark   November 13, 2005 at 8:39PM
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maximus852(5 OH)

Thanks for the advice.

I may not be able to grow citrus until I have a better place. I am unable to put the plant outdoors in summer, and I don't think it could get enough sun even when I had it right next to my southern window. I never saw it grow at all the whole time I had it. I'm sure I didn't water it enough, though. I used to water it alot but got more and more lazy with this tree. When I first got it it bloomed three times in succession, but later wasn't as happy.

I really like kumqauts, and the reason I want the tree is because they are a little expensive and hard to find where I live. I may try a regular citrus next and if that goes well I'll get a fortunella. What is a good citrus houseplant?

By the way, can you tell me why the link I put in didn't work?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2005 at 11:38PM
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Don't throw that tree away! I had trees that I thought died & they came back. Most recent is one that had a bad graft. The grafted part died. I cut all dead parts doen till it was a stump just above graft & then gave up & left it. It just stayed outside & grew branches from the rootstock & then something else higher up starting growing....it was the grafted part - right at the graft! I have trees that I cut the dead parts off & thought they were goners but they grew back. Don't give up.. rinse roots off & replant & just leave it by a south window. It just may come back like mine did.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 2:18AM
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Max, Patty does have a point..Keep until next summer. You may be surprised and find new growth in spring.
But it will require a little work. It's not a good idea to deprive the plant of water, then drown it..(S)
Keep in the south window, in spring, take outside, if possible. Water as you would if the tree was in perfect health. Let soil dry between waterings, and mist branches..
Another thing I suggest is Superthive..It's a hormone/50Vitamin suppliment.
If your tree has life left, the ST will help. I use it monthly on all plants, including citrus. 2-4 drops per gallon of water..For stressed plants they suggest 10 drops per gallon of water. It's worth a try. Toni

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 4:42PM
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BabyBlue11371(z6 KS)

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/citrus/the link needed to be http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/max852/my_photos
Sorry I can't be of help with your poor tree..
Gina *BabyBlue*

    Bookmark   November 15, 2005 at 6:01PM
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maximus852(5 OH)

So based on what your suggesting, should I let it sit dry until spring time, or go ahead and repot and mist it and see it it comes back now? The problem I have here is that if I put it very close to the window, it will get very cold as the windows aren't very good. I suppose if I were to try this now, I should get a grow light for it too? Thanks for the help.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 1:26AM
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Max, you say it's a very very small tree..how small is it?
Repotting might shock the plant, and since you lost all its leaves it doesn't need more stress.
My front windows leak air, too...yesterday I placed clear plastic on the bottom and it really made a difference.
If your kumquat really needs repotting, where roots are sticking out of top and bottom drainage holes, then perhaps you should repot, otherwise I'd let it be until spring/summer. I'd stop feeding, too.
Remember additional fertilizer will actually harm a plant by burning the roots..It's better to under than over feed. Toni

    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 3:32PM
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BabyBlue11371(z6 KS)

maximus852 you might scratch the bark and see if there is any green left.. if not there is probably no hope for it..
If it is green under the bark it is still alive.. if it is brown it is probably dead..

    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 4:37PM
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BabyBlue11371(z6 KS)

oops.. I looked at the pics again and see you did scrape the bark.. how close to the roots did you scrape? looks like it might have been close to the roots.. if it has "died back" that far. probably no hope.. I'd hate to see you water a pot with a dead twig all winter. maybe some of the more knowledgeable ppl here could look and give you better advise than me..

    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 5:35PM
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maximus852(5 OH)

Well, I'm thinking that its dead. I scratched it where the trunk goes into the dirt. The tree was so small to begin with that I am not that worried about it. It's not a huge loss. Something I am wondering, is that if a tree is exetremly small, is it hard for it to grow? I bought this online, and it was the smallest one I could find. After I got it, it flowered a few times, but I never saw any signs of growth. It just mainained its size. It never grew more leaves or anything. Is it better to buy a bigger, and therefore more established tree?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2005 at 1:54AM
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Max, in most cases, I enjoy buying small plants, but when it comes to Citrus and a few other tropicals, I prefer mid to large trees. And even more important is buying a grafted citrus instead of a seedling.
You don't have to spend a fortune on 3'+ citrus..Briteleaf and Harris sell nice trees at great prices..15.00 isn't bad for a 3' tree. Ya know? Toni

    Bookmark   November 18, 2005 at 10:28PM
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maximus852(5 OH)

Wow, I didn't know that I could get a tree that size for that price. I didn't get a seedling of this kumquat, but I don't think it was grafted either, now that I've dug it up and looked at it closely, I realize that it was a rooted cutting. I'll be more careful the next time I buy a citrus.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2005 at 5:00PM
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Max, I've been ordering from Briteleaf over 3 yrs now. Believe me, you won't be disappointed. Did you check out their site?
I've already got 4 citrus on order for next spring. Austrailian Round Lime, Bouquet de Fleurs, Chinnotto and Thornless Key Lime. They're between 15-20 dollars each, and shipping is 10.00 for one tree or 15.00 for two..I always order in twos. Good luck, and when you have time, check out the site.. www.briteleaf.com Toni

    Bookmark   November 19, 2005 at 5:06PM
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I have a 9' Kumquat which I've owned for about 4 years. It's in a pot (and I overwinter it outdoors - in Canada). Every year just before it flowers, it sheds about 60% of its leaves. After flowering is complete - the leaves all grow back. Seems to be a natural process.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2005 at 1:43PM
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Mark, your way is novel..LOL..Never heard of anyone growing citrus quite like you..(S)
Is there a reason you set your citrus outdoors in winter? Doesn't it freeze? Toni

    Bookmark   November 22, 2005 at 2:32PM
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Bet I can answer those questions.
He is in zone 8 & the tree is 9 ft high

    Bookmark   November 22, 2005 at 5:10PM
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I often wonder if Canada's zones are the same as ours. Zone 8 is pretty warm..

Lux, how long are your winters and what's the coldest temps you get? Toni

    Bookmark   November 22, 2005 at 6:03PM
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The kumquat tree is outdoors all year as I just don't have a place inside for it. Kumquat are hardy to temperatures as low as -9C (16F) and it doesn't usually get much below freezing here, and when it does it's only for a few days. I also have banana, NZ flax, oleander & fuschia outdoors all winter in pots.

Hopefulauth: coldest temp overnight in winter I've seen here is -7C (19F) for a couple nights once. That was unusually cold. Normal overnight temps in winter (Nov-Feb) is about +4 or +5C (41F).

    Bookmark   November 22, 2005 at 10:39PM
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OK, now what if my meiwa kumquat (about 18" tall) was planted in the desert SW (Tucson, Az.) We planted her in March and was beautiful until last week (end of may) when she really started to dry out. We have been giving her a deep watering every other day plus added some compost and vitamins when we planted her that we got from the nursery. She gets full sun from 6am to about 4pm most days, but now its getting to be really hot (100 deg plus) around here. Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 4:48PM
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