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Ponderosa lemon (limon × medica) defoliation

Posted by kkwat 5 / 6 (Czech Repub.) (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 24, 12 at 6:56


I'm a begginer citrus grower. I grow a Kumquat (Fortunella Margarita grafted on a Citrus macrophylla rootstock) and a Ponderosa Lemon propagated from a cutting. Recently both of the trees suffered by soft scale insects and so I was searching the web for an advice. What I have found and done wasn't probably the greatest idea of all. My effort resulted in spraying both trees with an vinegar-water (1:1 ratio) solution. Two days after yellow stains started to appear on Ponderosas leaves (see attached photo) while leaves of Kumquat remained visibly unchanged. At first the stains were not so visible and their boundaries also but it had changed few days after. Since that fatal day (15.10.2012) both of the trees began to defoliate. Kumquat drops around eight leaves a day and Ponderosa one or two. I'm starting to worry about their destinies. Is the vinegar solution the cause of the defoliation or is it occuring because of upcoming winter. Sun amount has changed dramatically within last week here in Czech Republic (Zone map: and I keep them both in flat in permanent 22°C beacause I have no other options. I still fertilize them with a citrus fertilizer and I was about to continue with fertilization to mid of November. I mist them once a day and water them when top of the soil starts to change its color. Kumquat also started to drop fruits simultaneously with leaves.
One last think the fallen leaves are all fresh and green except very few of Kumquat leaves that are dry and twisted.

Do you think they will survive, especially Ponderosa?
Is the vinegar cause of defoliation and fruit drops or the sun changes and sun-temperature ratio?
If all of the leaves would fall during winter, will there still be a chance they will survive to spring?
Has anyone any idea what to do to help them and stop defoliation?

PS: Got rid of soft scale insects but what price will it take :/.

Thank you.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Ponderosa lemon (limon × medica) defoliation

the vinegar solution was too strong. i would put them in the kitchen sink or use a clean spray bottle and gently rinse them off. looks ok otherwise. in their weakened state, i would dilute the fertilizer for a few months till they're healthy again.

which direction is your window facing? you may want to use artificial lighting. citrus have a fairly high light requirement.

temperature of 22'C is around 70'F, so it will be just fine for the winter.

RE: Ponderosa lemon (limon × medica) defoliation

Ever hear of acid rain?? You have definitely burned your leaves with the vinegar (acetic acid). What I like most about this forum.... common wisdom says experience is the best teacher; but it is often painful and costly. The best teacher is OTHER PEOPLE'S experience... no pain and its free. At least you can be happy you have helped others not to make that mistake. Thanks.

RE: Ponderosa lemon (limon × medica) defoliation

If it got in your soil your may have shifted the ph there as well. Your damage does look like it occurred where you wiped it down.
Usually a soil born problem would either have uniform damage to the leaves or burned tips.

RE: Ponderosa lemon (limon × medica) defoliation

Thankfully, vinegar isn't very stable, as far as acidifying the actual potting mix.


RE: Ponderosa lemon (limon × medica) defoliation

Good point Josh !

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