Carambola and yellow leaves

tapiocabug(9)May 30, 2012


I have a Kari carambola tree that is worrying me. It's my first time taking care of a tree, so I'm not really sure what I'm doing... I might be over-watering - I have trouble knowing when it needs water.

It keeps having lots of yellow leaves, and every other day or so it drops fruit. It is still putting out a ton of flowers (which the bees love) and has new leaf growth, but the yellow leaves worry me. Today it looked ok but the leaves looked a little wilty (as did the marigold and buckwheat growing in the same pot), so I watered a little bit and 8 hours later when I came home there were a bunch of yellow leaves!

It's in a large pot (not sure how many gallons - it's a 24 inch resin pot from Home Depot), which rests on a paver stone. It gets full sun for about 6-9 hours a day, and it's blocked from wind on one side by a wooden fence and a wall of trees and vines. It was fertilized about a week ago with 10-10-10.

Any advice on how to know when it needs water? What is more likely to make yellow leaves - over or under-watering? How much is "enough" water for an approx. 6 foot tall carambola in a 24 inch pot?



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Carambola show water stress when they are real thirsty. If you look at them the leaves fold to conserve moisture. Generally they should NOT get that bad.

Yellow leaves are normal drop off for even a healthy happy carambola. For watering guidance, most recommend wiggling a finger into the soil, if it's dry 1+" down, water the plant.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 9:57PM
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Mine always turn yellow when overwatered. Even here in Phx Im watering container starfruit about every 4 days, and its 110. These seem to like to dry out about between waterings. They get a little wilty when needing more.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 9:23PM
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Hi Sarah,

I hope you find this post--I was reading 3 pages into this forum when I saw your question. I had the same thing with my Bell cultivar starfruit. Leaves were turning yellow on a nearly daily basis, and I also had leaves that became yellow or white in between the leaf veins. The tree was growing very well, putting out new leaves and branches, but it was fighting to produce more leaves than were dying.

It took me awhile to discover that the pH of my soil (sandy, south FL) was to high. Carambola like moderately acidic pH soil of 5.5 - 6.5, and my soil was 8.1! The strange white leaves were caused by the tree not able to get nutrients from the soil, the pH was so high. When I added some soil acidifier from Home Depot (as in the instructions, enough to lower the pH 2 points), the yellowing of the leaves stopped after 1 - 2 weeks and no new leaves became white.

By the way, you will have to add the soil acidifier regularly, as there are microbes in the soil that will gradually raise the pH again. I just add more acidifier when I see some leaves turn yellow again.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 9:11PM
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i got a potted kari also, but only have yellow leaves about 10% of the entire tree. As for fruit drops, i'd say it's between 1/3 to 1/2 ratio, but i still have about 8, 9 fruits now that are about 4 inches long dangling on the tree. And i water it about every 2, 3 days here in zone 9.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 5:47PM
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I finally figured out, sort of, what the problem was. It was something with the soil - I think that the soil didn't drain well enough and the roots were sitting in too much water. I took the tree out and put a better soil mixture in the pot and repotted, and now it seems fine. When I inspected the old soil, it was muddy and spelled bad. Happily the tree is now growing like crazy and has had very few yellow leaves and no fruit drop since I changed the soil.
Thanks for the responses!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 11:39PM
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