My Orange tree lost all of its leaves - can it still be saved?

wendyggNovember 16, 2011

I planted this orange tree about a year ago. About 1 month ago, I found some thorny off branches on my orange tree. I thought they were just new branches and didn't pay much attention to it. Last week, I found all of the leaves on the tree is dried up (except those on the thorny branches). After I did some research, I realize those branches are under the graft line and removed them immediately. Now a week has passed, my orange tree still doesn't have any leaves.... Can it be saved?

Thank you !!!

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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

Yep sounds like the rootstock took hold. Scrape a small part of the part above the graft with your fingernail. if the cambium under the bark is green you may get lucky.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 4:38PM
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+1 on what mike said

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 3:40AM
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Thank you so much, Mike. I did what you said. it is still green above the graft. I will try to make it alive. Should I water it every day now? Or still 3 times a week like I used to do?

Thank you thank you thank you !

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 7:00PM
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I will 3rd what Mike said. Great job Mike!

Wendy, anything is possible where you live! I would be very happy about this good news as I can tell you already are:-0)

As for watering, it all depends how often your soil dries out.


    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 8:46AM
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yep, water accordingly, too much water will kill citrus trees.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 9:54PM
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jbclem(z9b Topanga, Ca)

Wendy, I'd guess that watering your in-ground tree three times a week could be the cause of the leaf drop. You don't say what part of S. Calif. you live in, but even if it was still 100F(in the shade)in November, and you had planted it on top of a six foot high sand pile... only then might watering that often be normal.

Myself, I'm still trying to figure out in-ground citrus tree watering...the advice I've seen ranges from water once a week (except when it rains) to "citrus tree roots like to dry out in between watering". The weather and the type of soil make a big difference in water need. So does the fact that a tree with lots of leaves uses a lot more water than a tree with no leaves.

I'd guess that continuing to water three times a week will continue the process of killing the tree. You need to have a way to check the soil for it's moisture content. You can buy inexpensive moisture meters for $10-15. And I've been trying out sticking wooden bamboo skewers into the ground(2-4 inches...the skewers are about 12" long and very cheap at 99cent stores, or supermarkets). Leave one in a few days then pull out and check. You can see how wet the tip is. Check it in a few more days, or a week...and watch how the tip dries as the soil dries. That might keep you from watering too much, if that's what the problem is.

And about leaves growing back, remember that citrus trees have growth flushes 3-4 times a year. You might not see anything happening until the next flush. But as long as there's green under the bark, there's hope.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 10:23PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I agree with jb, probably too much water. Especially now with no leaves the tree shouldn't be watered at all without checking the soil at least 6 inches deep to see that it is dry.

Going forward with this tree or another watering any more than once a week is probably too much. Then only during hot weather. In winter no more than once a month unless the soil is dry at depth.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 11:09PM
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