Kumquat Failing?

plutomedia(6)November 5, 2012

In the three photos you'll see my Fukushu Kumquat. The far left photo was taken late this summer. The center and right were taken today.

As you can tell, more than half the tree has passed away. Over the past 2 months the branches began losing leaves and actually turning black. The fruits on those branches--which were about the size of blueberries--had ripened (turned orange).

Oddly, the remaining branch has 4 healthy--still green and roughly walnut sized--kumquats on it. Given that it was overdue for repotting, I went ahead and moved it into a larger (12") pot with new soil and fertilized it.

What's left of the tree looks really healthy. Here are my questions:

1) What the heck happened?

2) What kind of future can I expect?

3) Will any new branches bud?

4) Will that trunk support a mature tree, or is too butchered?

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Well, pretty hard to tell past-tense, plutomedia. We would just be guessing, since we don't have any photos of the tree's leaves that were declining. It could any number of things - pot-bound, not enough water too much water, not enough sun, etc. I see you pruned back the branches, why did you prune them down to stubs? Were they completely dead? A live branch, even if leaves drop, can push out new leaf flush, but only if you don't prune them away :-)

Patty S.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2012 at 5:59PM
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plutomedia(6)

Thanks, Patty.

I guess I'm hoping for pot-bound (since I just re-potted). But I was surprised that the branches we trimmed had actually turned solid black and were very brittle. I couldn't imagine they'd have ever sprouted leaves again.

Have you ever seen a tree with such a pronounced 'joint' in its trunk continue to thrive?

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 7:03PM
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houstontexas123(z9a)

there are many trees in nature and many in the form of man manipulated bonsai trees that thrive in weird and misshaped forms.

your tree's shape is really not a concern, except for aesthetics.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 9:24PM
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plutomedia(6)

That's good the hear houstontexas123. But as a Bonsai, my kumquat is an epic fail!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 11:33PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Okay, so the branch really did need to be pruned back. And yes, citrus are amazing resilient plants. Let me give a little hope. Here is a rather rare citrus, an Ortanique tangor that I had to dig up from the ground in order to save it. I suspected it was slowly being killed by Phytophthora. I really thought it was done for. It was severely chlorotic, slowly dying. I had to rinse off the poor roots, and then re-pot and do a lot of praying (and hovering, root stimulus with low nitrogen fertilizers, proper water, special medium, I pulled out all the stops):

Here is the same little tree, about 14 months later:

So, be patient, take good care of your little tree, and it will look completely different in a year!

Patty S.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 11:48PM
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olympia_gardener(5)

plutomedia, you are in zone maybe 7? judging by the leaves on the ground outside. One of my container Kumquat died due to root rot this past spring ... branches turn dark one after another. luckily, your tree still has healthy branches which means some roots are still healthy. Just keep it on the dry side during the winter time... When next spring comes, move it outside and give it some pruning and fertilizer, it will put out new branches in no time. But, it goes into winter now, be patient, it might not grow much till spring... Good luck with your tree.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 10:41AM
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