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Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

Posted by jen_g AZ (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 31, 14 at 11:15

Hello all,

I am new to this forum and would greatly appreciate the help of others. When I call my nursery I get a different answer every time and in the meantime I am watching my poor tree wither away.

Here's a little history. I have a Meyer lemon in a large clay/terra cotta pot that is painted a deep grey. I have had the tree over a year and it has been very healthy up until a month ago. Last fall I even got 12 really delicious lemons and this year have over 30 golf ball sized fruit on the tree. As many of you know it is VERY hot here in the summer, reaching 115 this month already. The place I had my tree in was receiving about 8hrs of sun and I started to see the fruit show signs of sun burn. I also saw a slight yellowing and cupping in the leaves. At that point I moved the tree slightly more onto the patio where it was last summer thinking the heat was too intense for the tree. Since I moved the tree it has dropped about 50% of its leaves, which are cupped, pointed down, yellowing and then falling off. The fruit is also soft. (Pic included) My nursery told me that it is being over watered and to remove 20% of the fruit which I did yesterday.
Typically I have been watering about 3x per week, not waiting for the soil to be bone dry, watering when it is still slightly damp. This is the same schedule it has been on since I received the tree.
Occasionally it would receive a product my nursery sells called "moon juice" a liquid fertilizer which they say contains "a proprietary blend of organic enzymes and amino acids, Iron, Manganese and Zinc because they are typically deficient in most warm weather soils. In addition, thiamine mononitrate (Vitamine B-1) is included for its beneficial effects on new plantings."

I have only given it the moon juice once since I moved it. They tell me to give it once a week as it "brings trees back to life" according to them.

I have also used a fertilizer in May (the tree was healthy and it was the kind you sprinkle on top and water).

It has been 4 full days since I've watered it and when I feel the tree's soil, about 3" down, it feels mostly dry with just a very small amount of dampness (by no means wet or soggy). The roots also look healthy from what I can tell but I also haven't seen them from the bottom. It may rain on Sunday so now I'm afraid to water.

Basically, how do I get this tree healthy again? If it is signs of being over watered, how do I correct it? Any advise would be so appreciated.

Thank you!!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

Here is another picture...I couldn't figure out how to post more than one.

- Jen


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

Okay, since you know the soil is not drying out, I suspect you've got root rot going on down at the bottom of the pot. It's not changing your watering habits that will fix this, but changing your potting mix. Coming straight out of the bag, the potting mix is just going to be too dense and water retentive, even in your area. Here's what I do for my area (not nearly as hot and dry as where you are, but still pretty hot and dry in the summer): I use 3 parts EB Stone Cactus Mix or MiracleGro Garden Soil for Fruits & Vegetables, 1 part small bark chips (either coarse orchid mix, or better yet, reptile bark), and 1 part perlite. Carefully un-pot your tree. Remove the mix from around the roots by soaking in a bucket of water or by using a gentle water stream. Prune away any rotten roots. Re-pot in this mix. Your pot size looks good for the size of the tree, maybe a little bit bigger. Then, I prefer to use a time release fertilizer (I use Osmocote Plus, as it has a very good NPK ratio for citrus, as close to 5-1-3 as possible, plus a full complement of micros), and then water about 1 or 2 times a month with DynaGro's Foliage Pro. That gives me gorgeous container citrus. I would keep the tree in bright shade until it shows signs of recovery. Don't worry if you lose more fruit - the tree is very clearly stressed. You can pull off more fruit if you have to, to get the tree to survive. Meyers are prolific and once recovered, you'll get plenty of fruit. Once you see signs of good recovery, start to provide more sunlight in the mornings until it is getting sun all day, except shade during your hot afternoon during your summer. Let us know how it goes.

Patty S.


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

Thank you so much for getting back to me Patty! When I originally potted it I used 50/50 cactus mix and potting soil (i didn't mention this before). Do you think it is still the root rot?

If so, will taking it out of its pot add additional stress and kill it?

You mentioned taking it out of the sun, it currently get sun from 7am-12p only. Should I pull it back so it gets no direct sun?
I was told the original move did this? Do you think that is the case?

Thank you!


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

It is for sure root rot, at least the bottom portion of your tree....It may not look like it looking at the main roots because you have no idea of how many fine hair roots wihithered away in that mix that provide the nutrients and water it needs to survive..

I am assuming it was potted into that mix a year ago? If so, it has long broken down and that combined with suffocation and salt deposits is a recipe for disaster..

Since your tree is not doing well at all, I mean almost dead, I would not disturb the roots at all...What is left of healthy root if there is any will come back quicker if you use the wicking method...Until your tree bounces back and can handle a repot at this time of the year...

I find it more successful using this method than to do a repot while your tree is in this state than what I use to suggest...Emergency repotting works most of the time, but wicking almost always works better..

Let me know if you want to do this?

By the way, if you decide to repot, Patty has really steered you in the right direction...Her plants thrive in her mix and mine in mine..We know the concepts of a well draining mix suited for our trees in our environments..

I would most definitely take it out of the full sun as Patty says...Early or very late day sun or none at all will give the roots a chance to repair themselves...

I saved two trees as big as yours just like this method within weeks...

MIke

This post was edited by meyermike_1micha on Thu, Jul 31, 14 at 15:55


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

Yes! I will definitely try wicking. I just have no idea what that is so detailed instructions would be great!

And yes, it was potted last spring so almost a year and a half ago and it is the same soil.

Ugh...is there hope or am I on a wing and prayer??

So the suggestion is wicking over repotting? When wicking, I think I understand you put a string (or something) up through the drain hole but my pot is VERY heavy and sits on concrete. I could tip it to insert the wick but does it need to hang? Or can it be flat against the concrete under the heavy pot?

Thank you again :)

This post was edited by jen_g on Thu, Jul 31, 14 at 18:12


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

I thought I wquld give you the best info you will ever learn to help your tree...

At this time, if you wick your plant, it will be very beneficial as soon as posible..I use mop rope or clothes line cotton rope..
Pay particular attention of paragraphs 8,9,and 10...You will learn quite a bit..Let me know what you think, ok?

Mike

Here is a link that might be useful: Dealing with water in soils...Wicking


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

I just added this, I'm not sure if you saw it...

When wicking, I think I understand you put a string (or something) up through the drain hole but my pot is VERY heavy and sits on concrete. I could tip it to insert the wick but does it need to hang? Or can it be flat against the concrete under the heavy pot?

Thank you so much!!!


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

There are three way you could wick, the string method being the best..

You need to push the wicks up into the root zone and let the string dangle so the water is tricked out of your mix..Maybe you could set your pot on anything that would rais it to leave the wick hanging?
Like bricks, milk crate, a table that allows the wicks to dangle to the side, anything..

You could do the pot in pot method...Place that pot into a much bigger pot filled with mulch, a soil mix or some other stuff that will absorb the water away from the pot..

You could just place that pot right onto a bark mulched area or the ground and it would act like a raised garden..The water will be tricked out of the pot..

Wicking will be best with the pot in pot or string method because you won't be able to leave that pot on the ground come winter...

You would be surprised at how much moisture is drawn away from the pot with wicking.
If using the rope method, wait until the dangling rope is dry to the touch before watering again)

Mike


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

Thanks Mike! I found a movers dolly and muscled the pot up onto it. I took two mop strings and pushed them up through the hole. I'm not sure if they are touching the root ball though. I had an inch or so of river rock covering the whole so the string may only be a few inches into soil I can't be sure. It was a14" string and 4-5" are hanging out of the bottom. Will this be sufficient?

I also wheeled it further into the patio so it will only get 30-min to an hour of early morning sun, otherwise it will be shaded.

Now - do I need to feed, fertilize etc in the meantime or will this only be necessary once the tree heals?

Finally - what signs should I look for if it worsens or gets better? Will it get worse before it gets better?

Again, I can't thank you enough. I love this tree and just had no idea how to help it.

- Jen


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

Jen no problem..

Don't fetilize it..Wait until it's dry which it should be much faster now that you wick it..Once it is give it a good flush of fresh water..I'll explain once it dries..Come back and let us know when you think it's time to water, ok?

Also tell us how long it took for the wicks to feel dry on the bottom...
As long as those wicks are up into the soil mass under the roots, it should be fine..

Once the tree strengthens, the roots will hydrate again..Then you can put it in sun again)


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

Thanks Mike! I'll post an update as soon as the wicks are dry again for further instruction :)


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

My question is how do we determine that the absolute cause of the problem is over watering? Over watering in the heat of the Arizona desert in July seems almost impossible to me. Added to that a picture cannot distinguish between over watering or under watering; the symptoms are the same. There was mention of sunburn damage; and based on that, my first guess would be lack of water in that hot sun. Just a guess; but I think more information is needed before we jump to the conclusion that the problem is too much water or root rot. This is the Arizona desert in July; it is not a potted plant in the cold North.


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

So now that it is wicked for almost an hour and the wicks are still dry. Hmmm? I guess I expected them to wet by now. Not inserted properly maybe?

What additional information can I provide that will help diagnose the problem? I'm open to suggestions.


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

You can over water a tree in a pot even in Arizona....

The facts remain that over heated roots do not take up water and rot in a sea of plenty..Soils break down and become compacted just as much as in Arizona or Canada..Hot or cold.

It's possible the soil could dry out and cause this, but based on your description and the soil you used, we suspect you have root rot from a poor soil not drying out properly no matter how hot it is..

Just ask Josh, Jojo and many others living in very hot climates and having to turn to porous mixes to prevent root rot..

MIke


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

Jen, are you sure your description is correct? You have been leading us to believe that your mix is not drying out properly..

Have you lifted the plant out of the pot and check the bottom roots? Are they wet? Is the soil remaining behind wet or dry? Is the root ball wet? Are there bottom roots? Are they healthy? Is the root ball small for that tree of filled in the pot?
John is right..More description might help..

So far from your description you have lead us to think the mix is staying wet too long..Please double check..If it's dry at the bottom and then dry again in a day or two, then we are dealing with something entirely different..

MIke


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

Jen, the only way to know is to carefully un-pot your tree. Check your roots at the bottom. You'll know if they're rotting. They will be dark brown, mushy and possibly smell icky. Yes - your potting mix is much too dense, even for our hot dry areas. It is a matter of suffocation from not enough air movement. The 511 mix on our list is too porous for us, so I developed a modified version that is working very well for me. I have been able to pot trees in very large 1/2 whisky barrels with this mix and have had zero issues with drainage. Trees are flourishing. I would un-pot and figure out what is going on with the roots. It either will be one of two extremes - root rot, or your potting mix has become hydrophobic (hard dry ball and water just runs past everything). Either way, both due to the density of the potting mix.

Patty S.


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

JenG: there is some very good input here for you from the experienced growers! My input is minimal in comparison. Patty is right: the only for sure way to know is to carefully un-pot your tree.
I do want to add that a skewer / dowel test (insert into soil and remove - is it wet or dry?) may be helpful if you cannot or are unable to lift that tree out of the pot to determine its hydration. (then again if it is dry, it will be light).

Fruiting citrus trees are heavy drinkers! - I also echo John's comments and can tell you that i have citrus in a variety of soil (dirt, regular potting mix, the worst stuff), and always had to water water water in the hot summer months. BUT each soil type required varied frequency and amount.


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

Hi all, thanks so much for all the suggestions. Let's see if I can expand on my watering. I personally was never sure it was being over watered that's why the "I think?" In my title. The guys at my nursery are the ones that suggested it because of the leaves being cupped, drooping down and turning yellow and falling off. In addition to the leaves they suggested it because of the soft fruit. To be honest my knowledge is so little as far as symptom management goes I honestly couldn't be certain.
Since I've had the tree I've always used my finger to test the soil, when it was dry about an inch down I would water. That correlated to 3 times per week or so. I never let it get bone dry but definitely dry to the touch. As my above history states, it started to show signs of sun burn on all the fruit that was at the top of the tree (yellow/brown spots that only occurred on the fruit facing towards the sky. When I noticed this I decided to move it to a place on my patio that only receives morning sun, until 12:00 or so vs it getting sun through 4pm. The leaves were also curled a bit which I thought was from the heat. After the move is when the leaf drop started happening. It took about three weeks and about 50% are gone.

I didn't change my watering habits until last week when the nursery guys told me it was being watered too much. We had a heavy rain Sunday and I've been waiting to see how long before it drys out. Before my post this morning, I put a wooden kitchen spoon all the way down and when I pulled it out it seemed like to soil was dry so I watered this morning. Then I second guessed myself, found this forum and posted my question.

I placed the wick in at 4:30p it is now 9:30p and the wick isn't even wet. Water does run out the pot almost immediately so I let that happen and water it a bit more until I feel it's deep enough. The top soil is wet to the touch still from this morning.

I will definitely try to dig up the tree tomorrow morning to check out the roots. It is a big heavy tree so I will try to do so without causing too much trauma.

Thank you all soooo much!


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

You wrote:
"Water does run out the pot almost immediately so I let that happen and water it a bit more until I feel it's deep enough. "

More than likely, the potting mix is dry and has pulled away from the sides of the pot.

When that occurs, one can reyhdrate the soil by submerging the pot in water to cover, then let it sit there for at least 2o0nutes.

But you said it's very heavy, so try this instead.set a barely trickling hose on the surface of the potting mix
Allow to drizzle until it comes out the bottom.
Then move the hose 1/3 distance around the pot, drizzle as before,
then move again, drizzle again.


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

So I went out this morning to check on tree and it looked marginally better. It also dropped about 10 degrees here( it's only 82 this morning) so that may have something to do with it.

I also noticed a little new growth, pic attached.

Still a dry wick so I think I put it in wrong. Shouldn't it be at least a little damp?

I just want to confirm that I should pull it out of the pot to check to roots? Also while it's out, should I replace the soil so it doesn't have to go through that twice? Or would that add additional stress?

I appreciate all the support here. I feel a little neurotic but I also know there needs to be a little urgency or my tree may die.

I'm going to post a few more pics of leaves so maybe that will help with a diagnosis.


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

This is the whole tree this morning. The top bunch of leaves don't look as cupped to me.


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

Look at leaves leaves. They look like they may be new because how thin they are but there are brown spots. And this tells us there is a nutrient deficiency - leading back to soil health right?


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

Jean, I would follow the instructions I gave you. You need to see what is going on at the bottom of your pot and in the soil. If it is an issue of too much water retention due to compacted potting medium, you are going to constantly have this issue. If it is a matter of the potting medium drying out to a hard ball and becoming hydrophobic, you are constantly going to have this issue. Either way, you are going to constantly have an issue :-) I would address your potting mix as I suggested. If you follow my instructions to re-pot with a better draining mix, and fertilize as I recommended, all your above issue will become moot.

Patty S.


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

GREAT news. un-cupping / unrolling after watering is a tell-tale sign that the tree was dehydrated.

Depending on the severity, it may or may not drop more leaves, and it may or may not go into a profuse bloom.

Resume a steady watering regimen to keep the soil moist but not soggy and everything should return to normal.

I keep reminding myself that citrus is a tropical plant. Young trees are drought tolerant - but not drought proof.

Good luck
- George


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

Patty - I have your recipe and will go to the store today. Do you think Home Depot/Lowes will carry everything I need or are they specialized things that need to be ordered online? Also do I need to wash off the roots as you suggested or just shake off the dirt?

Also I have river rocks about an inch high in the bottom of the pot, should those remain? Should I put the wick back in the bottom?

For the DynaGro and/or Osmocote when should I start using those? Immediately after repotting or are there enough nutrients in the soil?

I will post another picture of the root ball in a few hours when I dig it up just in case you all see something suspicious.


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

Ok so pulled up the tree and the rosts were bone dry, even after watering yesterday. The surrounding soil is all still wet. The soil just fell from the roots.


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

Pic 1


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

Pic 2


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

One more


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

great looking roots! OK, that is a huge data point. upgrade the soil to what has been suggested earlier and if it was me, i'd set the pot into a big saucer of water and let the water wick up into the root ball. You may have to refill the saucer 3-4 times depending on its capacity... water top down too.

Beacuse the root ball has been disturbed, nutrient uptake/absorbtion may be delayed for a week or two. I'd wait before feeding. (BTW: I'd use a mix of Foliage Pro and vinegar; 1 Tbsp each - - the vinegar because my irrigation water is severely alkaline. - - test your water with a pool test kit)

Arm yourself with a good stock of wooden skewers - you will need to check the hydration often until you get the regimen just right.

Citrus pot experts please chime in from here.... my expertise with citrus in pots is primarily with revitalizing in-ground trees; chronically underwatered, underfed, and frozen.

Best, - George


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

You are going to get varying opinions on this one, but to me it looks like you have many dead roots in among the live ones. If they were all healthy, your tree would be flourishing..
I was thinking that maybe when you repotted it way back, you might of just stuck the plant in the new mix and the old one on that root ball has become hydrophobic.
The water is running past your root ball and staying in the new mix,..That's why Jean say's to trickle water onto the top of the pot. This way the root ball eventually get a drink and absorbs the moisture.

The roots have not spread into the new mix..It looks like they stayed confined within the old one and that is why your new mix if left to stay wet for days around that root ball..The roots are not taking up moisture because they can't in the old one and they can't in the new one...

That root ball should look brighter and should have longer roots beyond the small ball...Roots covered in the new mix..

That's why when I repot, I try to take out as much of the old soil as possible and surround the roots with the newer different mix..If you were using the same mix over and over, then all you would have to do is pot up in a year or two.

I am not that familiar with your hot weather down there or how fast a pot dries out that size, but Patty has it right for weather like yours...No matter where you live, you should always use a porous mix that works for your environment and your trees..

I have, many have made this same mistake in the past..This is what happens when you switch to a different soil mix or one much more porous..It happens all the time to tree planted in the ground..That is why one has to cut wedges if the roots are too tight, or tease the roots so they are loosened to help them reach into the their new surroundings..

So we are all right..Some saw your tree not getting hydrated due to a hydrophobic root ball and root rot , while the surround soil around the plant was staying too dense and wet...Glad we could all help you as a team.
Dry root die and rot as soon as water hots them,and healthy roots die just as well if they stay wet too long..

A wooden dowel will be your best cheap investment and getting rid of the rocks will lighten your load). They serve no purpose except to take up room in the pot, weigh it down, and pushed the perched water to a higher level in the container.

MIke

This post was edited by meyermike_1micha on Fri, Aug 1, 14 at 12:57


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

What Mike said. Re-pot. Use the mix I suggested. Try to straighten out the roots that are going around in a circle. When I mix up my potting recipe, and wet it well to encourage the roots to reach out to get the water. Carefully place the root ball back in the pot, so that the top of the root ball will be about 1 - 2 inches below the top of the pot. Backfill with moist potting mix you've made up, taking care not to cover the top of the original root ball. Water in REALLY well (water running out the bottom). Apply a modest amount of Osmocote Plus. Water in well (water running out the bottom of the pot). Leave in the bright shade (small amount of morning sun would be okay). You will probably have a little transplant shock - perfectly normal. Wait until the tree starts to perk up, then start providing more sun, but give it afternoon shade, as your sun and temps in the afternoon can be brutal. Once you start seeing some tiny flush, start additional fertilizing with Foliage Pro, about once or twice a month.

Patty S.


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

Ok so I just finished repotting it. Used the soil mix exactly as Patty recommended. Right below the base of the tree there was a clay like texture that was super tightly packed around the roots, it was very wet. I had to dig in there with my fingers to loosen it up to get some of it out. I left the wick in and watered it well.

Mike - I did transfer the old soil surrounding the root from the nursery when I originally potted it. I do try to break up the bottom a little on all my plants. I will keep this in mind next time I transplant something.

I didn't take off all the soil on the roots just now because I didn't want to disturb them too much. They did however lose 85% of the old soil because they were so dry and it just fell off. Will this be sufficient?

Will my tree get worse for a few weeks since I repotted it? Or should it bounce right back?

Finally, should the soil come up right to the base of the truck or should it be just below? And should I mulch the top so it holds moisture?

I hope I'm on the right path now??


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

Should the soil cover these main roots? See pic

I will say it again and again, everyone's willingness to help has been so amazing. Thank you from the bottom of my heart :)


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

Looks perfect, Jen. You can leave those top roots as they are. Citrus typically do this both in containers and in the ground. They kind of "like it that way". Not a very technical explanation, but this is a typical root pattern you'll see with more mature trees. Very good. Be sure to flood it with water about 2 or maybe 3 times a week, depending on how hot and dry it gets for you. We're having another round of monsoon weather, so if your humidity is high this next week, you may only need to water twice a week. Watch for the leaves cupping. A sure sign of dehydration (what you were seeing previously, so you'll know that "thirsty" look).

Patty S.


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

Thank you so much Patty! And everyone for the "hand holding" during this time of need.
I'll post an update in about a week. Unless of course it takes a drastic turn for the worse, then you'll be hearing from me sooner.


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

Jen,
There is a life lesson to learn here; it is included in my second book, "A Walkabout of Life"... Not all who wander are lost. I call it the Zebra lesson... when you hear hoofbeats, your mind tells you horses; but it could as well be Zebras, depending largely on where you are located.

When a lamp goes out, you assume it is the bulb; so you put in a new bulb... still no light, so you assume something is wrong with the lamp and start taking it apart; I have done this (before I learned the Zebra lesson), only to discover at the end that the "new" bulb wasn't any better than the first one.

I would have applied (actually I did) the Zebra principle to your situation, when you put in the wick and no water came out. You assumed you had put the wick in incorrectly; whereas my first thought was Arizona? July? No water from the wick? The first guess was NOT that you installed the wick incorrectly.

Life lessons... sometimes costly, but always worth the cost.


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

Week 1 update-
My poor tree looks sad. When I repotted it last Friday, following the above instruction, I thought it helped immediately but now, almost a full week later, it isn't perking up. It still remains under my patio where it only gets an hour of early morning sun. I haven't watered it again since last Friday because the wick is still wet. Our weather has been a bit mild, only 100-105 and some humidity, but shouldn't it be dry by now?
The lemons are still soft and a few started to turn yellow (not ripe, just not green). When I barely pulled on them they fell off so I removed another 5 lemons this morning.
It has only lost two more leaves since Friday and they don't appear to be getting any yellower, however they are still cupped.

Any ideas on how to get it through what I am assuming is transplant shock? Should I increase its sun exposure yet, or still wait until it shows signs of recovery?

Thank you everyone for your continued support!
Jen


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

Stick your finger in the pot to check for moisture. Then, use a dowel or a stick stuck down to the bottom to check for moisture. The wick may be wet after the soil has started to dry out. The lemons at this point probably should all be picked off, as the tree is trying to survive at this point, so really, all its energies should be put to that effort, not in producing fruit. Take another photo and let's see how it looks. I would say leave it in bright shade until it starts to perk up a bit. And yes, combination of transplant shock and being rootbound and hydrophobic.

Patty S.


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

I put my finger in, then a dowel. It is not bone dry but definitely not wet. The wick is still wet but I am watering it now.

Really, take off all the lemons...that makes me sad. But if it means saving the tree I will. :(


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

I urge patience and proper hydration. The skewer/dowel test will guide you.
The dehydration cycle takes a while to get over. If the leaves uncup a bit after watering, then you are not giving it adequate water. Some leaves may never un-cup. follow the evidence.

And again, my experience is mainly with in-ground citrus, so the potted citrus experts here on this forum will lead you.

I have several in-ground citrus that got dehydrated (leaves looking much like yours) this past May due to temps hitting the 100's and irrigation issues. They are in varied states of coming back. My Pink Lemon is stable and blooming. My Mary Ellen Sweet Lime lost ~ 1/2 of its leaves and most leaves never fully un-cupped; but it is greening up and pushing new blooms. My Melogold is slowly un-cupping and greening slightly. And my Flame grapefruit is stable but not declining.

My point is that the roots take time to re-grow and so the plant takes time to get back on track.
- George


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

I agree with George..Very comforting...

It will come back with proper hydrating...I am not sure if you are aware of this, but that dowel you are using should be ALMOST dry when checking the roots, not bone dry...

Plants grow much healthier in mixes that stay evenly moist. They not dry out completely ecept for cacti and other succulents.....If your tree comes to the point of wilt, then the mix is too dry..
It may even loose most if not all the leaves if left to wilt just once,,,but it doesn't mean certain death..Just a slow recovery if properly cared for after that..
If it is left to dehydrate more than once to the point of wilt, then it will die..

Something doesn't make sense with the wick..Don't trut it..It was suppose to be for a mix holding too much water throughout and it seems it was imporperly used..
Trust wooden dowel method best...

The root ball is too small for that pot in the mix you used..So be careful..Just because the bottom is still wet, it does not mean the root ball is..

MIke)


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

jen,

Don't stress too much about removing the fruit; the first objective is to save the tree; besides, it's not like you are losing the fruit... at that stage a Meyer lemon is already better than any other lemon in the world.


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

That's the exact reason why I hate to take them off the tree...I was able to taste them last year and they were absolutely delicious! Oh well- here's to many more years of perfect lemons!

They've been removed...boo :(

Thank you everyone. I will be extra careful to establish a watering pattern that allows my tree to flourish. I will post another update once my tree shows signs of improvement.


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RE: Treating an Overwatered Citrus (I think?) - HELP!

Mike, thank you - i really liked your wording: "It may even lose most if not all the leaves if left to wilt just once,,,but it doesn't mean certain death..Just a slow recovery if properly cared for after that.. If it is left to dehydrate more than once to the point of wilt, then it will die."

So as timing would have it, I just this morning visited a friends small orchard (that i helped plant this past spring) in Walnut Creek. Evidently he treated the new plantings like mature ones and now he has a mix of citrus looking from what you have Jen; to far far worse. They are all in the ground and in well drained clay. Absolutely parched. He is out there dribbling water now.

He wants evidence that they are still alive through immediate / improved leaves..., but it just isn't so with citrus! I had to repeat over and over that this is now a long road back to health.

Thankfully, my suggestion of the Meyer planting location has helped it as it is in the best looking condition of all... So his Meyer will rule the dozen!
-George


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