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Beginner Gardener Key Lime Leaves Falling Help PLz

Posted by MileHighGardener 5b Colorado (My Page) on
Sat, Aug 9, 14 at 23:07

Hello Guys, I'm new to gardening and decided to buy a Dwarf Key Lime anyways I'm in Colorado i bought this tree off of home depot online anyways temperatures are usually in the high 80's to low 90's right now but the problem is my key limes leaves are turning yellow brownish and falling off its almost as if someone where grabbing a lighter and burning them can anyone diagnose something here I'm running out of options? i don't even know anymore if it needs more water, less water, fertilizer all i know is Citrus trees like moist soil and i always keep the soil moist. I would appreciate any feedback and tips on watering and care for the tree


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Beginner Gardener Key Lime Leaves Falling Help PLz

heres a overview of the whole tree including pot


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RE: Beginner Gardener Key Lime Leaves Falling Help PLz

Close up of the leaves that are falling


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RE: Beginner Gardener Key Lime Leaves Falling Help PLz

Well, citrus actually do NOT like constantly moist soil. Moist on top usually means soggy wet at the bottom of your pot. They cannot tolerate constantly wet feet, and will develop root rot. Search this forum for "511" mix to create a better draining potting mix. Re-pot. Fertilize with every watering with a high quality liquid fertilizer formulated for citrus. Most container citrus folks on this list prefer to use Dyna Gro's Foliage Pro. You can cut it back to 1/2 strength during the winter, when growth naturally slows down.

Patty S.


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RE: Beginner Gardener Key Lime Leaves Falling Help PLz

I should have been more clear sorry well the top of the soil is mostly always dry unless I water it here's how I water the tree I place a fingered down about two inches if its moist I leave it if its moist but getting dry I water it I water about once a week. Thanks


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RE: Beginner Gardener Key Lime Leaves Falling Help PLz

Oh yeah I also forgot to mention before I was placing the tree indoors every night to prevent any critters getting inside then I would take it outside every morning I have stopped doing this since yesterday.


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RE: Beginner Gardener Key Lime Leaves Falling Help PLz

Two inches down will not tell you what is going on at the bottom of the pot. If you used bagged soil, it could be a big murky swamp at the bottom of the pot. I would NOT move the tree around, either. Citrus can be rather sensitive to light changes, but this is not what's killing your tree. It appears to be too much water, and possibly fertilizer burn. Have you applied some sort of fertilizer to the tree? Better to leave the tree outside, place it up high if you're worried about critters (what sort of critters?) And provide as much sun as possible.

Patty S.


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RE: Beginner Gardener Key Lime Leaves Falling Help PLz

Patty, so the fertilizer I have been using is called Scotts Flower And Vegetable its a 10-10-10 and I apply it once every month.

I had some questions for you

1. When could I possibly tell when's it the right time to water again?

2. I just watered it last night and lifted the pot and well you can see all the excess water drained does this tell you anything?

3. I believe there are some deficiency's on these tree because new foliage is a light green with slight darker veins I believe it could be magnesium or manganese deficiency

Thanks


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RE: Beginner Gardener Key Lime Leaves Falling Help PLz

Anyone think this could also be sunscorch


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RE: Beginner Gardener Key Lime Leaves Falling Help PLz

No, it is not sun scorch. It appears to be fertilizer burn in combination with most likely wet roots. Your fertilizer may not be designed for container use - too much N build up, which is what is causing the burned leaves.

Again, if you've used bagged potting mix, it is just too heavy for citrus, especially young citrus. Even I, in hot, dry S. California, do not plant my container citrus in straight bagged mix. I make a modified version of this list's "511" potting mix, and add a few more fines, as I need more water retention, since we don't get any summer rain, and our relative humidity is (usually) much lower than our east coast container citrus growers. Even in your very dry Colorado air, you still need to provide a less dense potting mix for your citrus.

Here is my recipe, it may work for you, but you'll have to watch your citrus carefully during the winter, when you bring it inside. 3 parts cactus mix, or Miracle Gro Garden Soil for Fruits & Vegetables (that specific one, not any other), 1 part small bark chips (NOT wood chips - I use either coarse orchid bark, or better yet, reptile bark bought at PetsMart or other large pet store), and 1 part perlite. I use Osmocote Plus, which has a better NPK ratio, plus (importantly) all the micro nutrients for my time release product. I apply every 6 to 12 months, depending on how the citrus performs. I also use Dyna Gro's Foliage Pro liquid fertilizer. For me, all I need is a monthly application. For you, having to bring it inside, you will need to use it more frequently. Most container citrus folks use full strength during the warmer months (spring through fall), and 1/2 strength during winter. Applied every watering.

I wouldn't bother testing your soil right now. I would re-pot with better mix. Once you've done that, you can then use a wooden dowel to test the bottom of the pot for water retention. Sticking your finger into the pot only tells you what's going on in the top 2", and not at the bottom. But, with my mix, or the true 511 mix, you won't have any water retention issues, as long as your pot has a hole in the bottom, and has the ability to drain, of course.

Patty S.


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RE: Beginner Gardener Key Lime Leaves Falling Help PLz

If you chosse to take Patty's good advice, then your tree will for sure come around....

If you decide to leave it in that mix, let us know, please..

Mike


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RE: Beginner Gardener Key Lime Leaves Falling Help PLz

Hey Patty! I extremely appreciate your advice I had no idea regular potting soil was just to heavy for Citrus

1. Anyways, Could I just use Cactus mix by itself? Or Cactus mix with perlite?

2. You told me its possible the tree is probably suffering from fertilizer burn I also put Miracle Gro Plant spikes in the soil should I remove them? Its a 6-12-6 down from the 10-10-10 I was previously also will this fertilizer do it for the citrus or no?

@Mike sure will i 'll keep you guys updated with what I do tomorrow Thanks


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RE: Beginner Gardener Key Lime Leaves Falling Help PLz

HI Mile,

I wouldn't use the Cactus mix alone..It's very heavy, stays wet too long...At least that's what it is here..
IU would use perlite 50/50 or more mixed with it although it's not going to be as porous as the 5.1.1 mix.

2. I would take the plant spikes out right away...I would not fertilize it again until you have flushed that pot out with fresh water if you plan on leaving it in that mix. If you change the mix, then there is no need to worry about fertilizer burn since you will be replacing the mix with a better fresh clean one.

Yes, if you do a repot or decide to leave it in that mix, let us know...Things need to be done either way on what ever you choose)

Mike


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RE: Beginner Gardener Key Lime Leaves Falling Help PLz

Just a little update today I noticed one of the tips of the branches is turning black anyone know what that is? It looks like its health is going down anyways umma get going tomorrow and buy some miracle gro cactus mix and mix in some perlite and switch out the soil mediums hopefully that will do it I'll keep you guys updated tommorow!


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RE: Beginner Gardener Key Lime Leaves Falling Help PLz

UPDATE: I took the tree out of the heavy soil man did it smell down there! The soil was compacted and just wet repotted with cactus mix and some perlite! Man does the pot feel 4x lighter and drains way better! I'll upload some pictures of the tree as soon as improvement starts Thanks guys @Mike @Patty


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RE: Beginner Gardener Key Lime Leaves Falling Help PLz

Mile HIgh, EXACTLY what Mike said. I could not have said it better. You will need more than perlite and cactus mix. You're going to end up with the same issues. You MUST add some small bark chips. Make a trip down to PetsMart and add in 1 part bark chips, 1 part perlite, and 3 parts cactus mix. You will be glad you did. Stop using the fertilizers you're using. Switch to Dyna Gro Foliage Pro, which is a very high quality liquid fertilizer that when used properly, will not cause any burn or salt build up. Container citrus has some very special requirements. If you follow them, you will have great success. If not, well, you'll get the results you're seeing.

Patty S.


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RE: Beginner Gardener Key Lime Leaves Falling Help PLz

Patty I had some questions but anyways I'll be buying some dynagro! Off of amazon

1. Can you tell me when and how to apply Dyna gro? As well as how much water to mix with it?

2. How much water is enough for citrus like when do I know when to stop?

3. And on the bark chips do I just mix them right in the soil?

Thanks again!


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RE: Beginner Gardener Key Lime Leaves Falling Help PLz

Follow the label instructions for dilution. Full strength with every feeding, just be sure to always water first, then apply the fertilizer. Never apply any fertilizer to any plant without wetting the roots, first. Sure way to burn the roots. Plant Care 101. You need to mix up all 3 ingredients, and use that as a potting medium. You should not have planted in just perlite and potting mix - still much too dense and heavy. Pull your poor little tree out, mix up your potting recipe (all 3 ingredients), then re-pot. Water until the water runs out of the bottom. Don't set in a saucer. Just leave your pot outside and let the water drain out. One the water has drained out for the most part, fertilize. Water & fertilize again when the potting medium is getting dried out, water thoroughly so the water runs out of the bottom. Let drain a bit, then fertilize. Switch to 1/2 strength fertilizer when you move your plant inside for the winter. Once you're inside, you can leave a saucer under the tree to catch the last few drips of water, but it should be elevated. So, use a big saucer, fill with some medium sized stones. You never ever want citrus to sit in a puddle of water. Sure way to encourage root rot. Watch for bugs during the winter (usually spider mites or scale and the two biggest problems with indoor container citrus), and tree accordingly, immediately, and repetitively (if needed, and you usually need to repeat treatments several times, as both bugs are rather hard to get rid of).

Patty S.


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RE: Beginner Gardener Key Lime Leaves Falling Help PLz

Should Dynagro pro be applied every watering or just once month?

Cheers


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re: update on keylime beginner gardener key lime leaves falling h

Hey there, its been quite some time as promises i showed up with an update since then the Key lime has been doing well it started shooting up some new growth once i switched its soil medium an addition to dyna-gro.

My question is I'm starting to see some twig dieback anyone know why? the twigs start turning black and the new foliage is light green with dark green veins but how? i started applying dyna-gro.
Thanks


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RE: Beginner Gardener Key Lime Leaves Falling Help PLz

image 2


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RE: Beginner Gardener Key Lime Leaves Falling Help PLz

image 3


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RE: Beginner Gardener Key Lime Leaves Falling Help PLz

anyone?


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RE: Beginner Gardener Key Lime Leaves Falling Help PLz

Again, check the soil way down at the bottom, Mile High. You made up your own mixture, and believe it or not, it may still be retaining too much water at the bottom of your pot. Cactus mix and perlite will still retain too much water. Especially when you bring your tree inside for the winter. Which is why Mike shared with you using the 511 mix. O don't even use cactus mix and perlite in S. California, where it is almost as dry as Colorado, and I can keep my trees outside all year. My customized 511 mix is 3 parts bagged mix (usually MiracleGro Vegetable Soil), 1 part perlite and 1 part small bark chips (usually reptile mix or coarse orchid mix).

I think the issue you're having is from past and possibly continued root damage, some of it a delayed response, and possibly some of it a response to continued root damage. I think the roots are damaged enough that the plant cannot sustain growth at the apical ends of the branches, and they are just dying back (called Die Back, interestingly enough). So, I would make absolutely sure you're not continuing with more root rot. I think the chlorosis you're seeing being caused by inadequate root growth, not inadequate fertilizer. If the roots are so damaged that they cannot take up nutrients, you'll see chlorosis, despite fertilizing.

Your best bet? Re-pot now, with 511 mix. Trim off any dead, rotten roots. You may even have to flush the pot with a weak bleach solution to stop the root rot (I think Mike has had to do this in the past, so search the forum for the bleach to water ratio, you don't want it to be too strong, or you'll kill your plant). Then, once re-planted with a properly porous mix, start fertilizing with 1/2 strength Foliage Pro until you start to see some recovery. Once you do, you can move up to full strength Foliage Pro, and add some Osmocote Plus time release fertilizer (please do not use anything else, many of the time release fertilizers have too much urea--based nitrogen, which will burn the roots, and also do not contain micronutrients, as Osmocote Plus does).

Patty S.


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RE: Beginner Gardener Key Lime Leaves Falling Help PLz

And if you prune back the black tips, you must prune back to the first live (green) bud; if you leave any black, it will continue to die back.


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RE: Beginner Gardener Key Lime Leaves Falling Help PLz

Thanks once again Patty will Miracle Gro's Orchid Potting mix work? i see some bark in the picture


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