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lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

Posted by nguyenty Los Angeles (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 15, 10 at 11:31

My Brewster Lychee tree seems to be dying. The plants and leaves are really dry, browning up, and they are all droopy. I just got the plant on March 8 and it only been getting worst since. Do I need to fertilize it or something? The potting soil (Scott's SuperSoil) is new and should have the nutrients it needs... The problem that I can see is that I may have over potted it in an 18 gallon tub and I just moved it to a smaller container. The root seems fine but no roots were growing the place where the support stick was at, should I remove the stick or something ?

My Kohala Longan tree doesn't seem to be doing so good either but not as bad. It has new soil and no fertilizer just like my Lychee tree.

I gave both trees around 2 gallon of water on March 8 and a gallon of water 4 days later. No leaves has fallen off on both tree yet. I'm getting all of the materials for Al's gritty mix this week and will transplant them asap. I'm a beginner but I didn't want to start out with anything else because I only like tropical / fruit plants. Please help! The plants are quite expensive.

Lychee 3-09-10

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Lychee 3-15-10

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Longan 3-09-10

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Longan 3-15-10

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Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

My guess is that the roots are not getting the water you are adding. With such a small root ball and a large quantity of potting soil, the water is probably moving through the pot finding the path of least resistance...which isn't close to the roots. I would plant them in much smaller pots and really soak them to make sure the soil is very wet. When you are repotting, I would even put the roots in water entirely for a short time to allow them to get the moisture they need immediately. I guess it could also be too much fertilizer in the potting mix you are using....I am unfamilar with it. In either case, washing the roots off and putting the plants in a smaller container with a soil mix without too much fertiler built in should help. Good luck.

Harry


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

even though the previous poster is 100 times more knowledgable than me, i must disagree with him here. In my experience, lychee trees really need to be in a severe drought to get droopy like that. Your soil in the container does not seem in the least bit dry, so i dont think water shortage is the problem. i also dont think it is because of over-potting. i have my lychee trees in far larger containers.

i think there are possibilites that are more likely-

1. does the container have good drainage holes?
2. is that area getting at least 4 plus hours sun a day- it kinda looks like it may be shaded from the sun.
3. have you been experiencing alot of wind? is it protected from the wind (it looks like it is)
4- is it warm enough- are your nights at least 40f degrees?
5- you said you did not fertilize- otherwise i would have guessed fertilizer burn.

6- i definitly dont think you need to change the pot to a smaller one- frequent idsturbance of the roots is def not a good thing

its not looking good for the lychee- the leaves will almost certainly dry up and fall off. best case scenario is it will grow a new set of leaves-

assuming the soil is draining properly, and you didnt over fertilize, and the tree is getting sun and is not getting wind- i would do nothing and hope for the best.

lychee trees are extremely difficult to grow, even in the ground and they are trebly difficult to grow in pots. but the rewards r def worth it.


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

LOL......Lycheeluva has far more experience than I with container growing of lychees......but, with all due respect.....I have to stick by my intial advice. I don't see the moistness of the soil that Lycheeluva sees. It looks very dry to me. Sorry we couldn't give you a concerted plan of action. I know, after killing quite a few newly planted lychees that insuffcient water is the main cause of young tree decline...followed next by fertilizer burn. When I plant a new lychee, I actually leave the hose at the base of the new tree dripping constantly to make sure the rootball stays wet. This is especially important with newly removed airlayers. By the size of the rootball, that is what you have....a newly removed and not sufficiently rooted out airlayer.

Harry


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

Looking at the size of that rootball, I too would switch to a much smaller container. When you mixed up your soil, did you pre-wet the soil and mix it in a bucket real good? Many mixes using sphagnum peat as the main ingredient will repel water unless really mixed well before planting.

When you pulled the rootball out, was the dirt dry? If so, I suspect the above to be a suspect. Other than that, unless you fertilized heavily or sprayed something on the plant, I'm not sure. Lychees should be able to handle wet feet for a few days. Your longan looks like it is starting to show the same symptoms. I would guess your lychee at least is a goner.

You might contact the seller and see if they will replace the trees.


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

lycheeluva,

1. It has 4 drilled holes on the bottom and I just transplanted my lychee tree into the black container you see there. I digged through the bottom of the blue tub and it seems moist and well drained.
2. This could also be a possible reason. I left it shaded until yesterday when I moved it near the gate.
3. Not much wind at all
4. Its usually above 50F+ here in Los Angeles at night.
5. No fertilizer but the soil comes with some (Scott's SuperSoil)

ohiojay,
The dirt wasn't dry. It was very moist. I didn't pre-wet the soil, I just broke up the big dirt clumps. I transplanted it from the blue tub to the black container you see there, still too big ?

I have a feeling it must be the soil being pre-fertilized and both plant not getting enough full sun.


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

nguyentry,where did you get your trees from?.....also how long where they in transit for before you got them.I am in the South Bay area of Los Angeles also.lychee ususally do not take shipping well it took mine 2-3 weeks to recover after shippping.Just make sure they get enough sun especially we are in the 80's now.I used palm and cactus mix as my soil and add perlite.I'll try to post pics of my lychee..


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

I got both from nipahutgardens from ebay. Took 7 days to ship from FL to CA. The thing is mine got worst since march 8th when I received it. I just relocated both trees to where it would receive the most sunlight today. I hope it makes it. What brand palm and cactus mix are you using ?

Thanks for all your help


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

Nguyenty,That is were I got most of my tropical plants from nipahutgarden all all of them are doing great.the 7 days in transport might be a reason they use USPS last year and I usually received my plants from them withn 2-3days.I think this year they change carrier to UPS that takes longer.Give them a little tender loving care for the 1st month.I used palm and cactus by supersoil and add perlite.


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

OMG, I came home and found BOTH trees doing worst than they did. The leaves are super curled up now and they crackle when I squeeze one. Doesn't look good at all ...... Seriously think its the fertilizer problem as I just relocated them in the morning and they had good full sun for a few hours.


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help!

Guys, should I transplant both of my trees outside in the garden soil ? It is 13 inch wide and very long. Its a long strip of area on our walkway.


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

I think you best shot would be to get them in the ground if possible. Can't hurt, and you don't have to worry about water issues with your potting mix.

I think your problem is that your mix holds way too much water. You CAN pot your trees in very large pot if your mix holds no perched water, but your mix does hold perched water so a container that large will not work. With your mix the only way I can see you having success is by putting the plant in a 3gal container at most. That way the roots have a chance to soak up the water before rot starts. If you want to keep them potted you should go with Al's gritty mix. I think that is your only shot at saving them unless you put them in the ground.


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

Nguyenty, I think the lychee was in the wet soil for too long and too cold. The tree should be in a small pot about the size of the root ball just a couple inches bigger. I think at this stage you should not pre-water the soil. Just plant the tree in with some new potting soil. Since the rootball soil is wet, it will wet the new soil. Set it at a warm sunny place. When you see the soil is dry then water it.

Looking at the pictures, I think your trees are in pots that are too big for the small size trees. If they are healthy then don't disturb them now. Usually for us who have to plant these tropicals in pots then we should just plant them in a pot just a couple inches larger than the rootballs. Only change to a larger size pot when the tree is healthy and adapted to your area.

If you plan to plant it outside, then make sure the temperature is warm. I think at least over 65 since the tree is at stress due to over watered and cold. My first time planting (2006) a lychee did not make it since it was wet and cold in the house. The soil stayed wet for more than a week even it was drained well. Same with my soursop and jackfruit. They were in too big of a pot and almost die from it. Lucky I change it to a much smaller pot with new soil and left them at the sunny window. Now they are growing slowly but still alive.:)

I have friends who live in LA and they told me there is this vietnamese nursery around. See if you can find a nursery near your area and order from there instead.

Good luck.


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

It is the typical tranplant shock.
With 7 days in dark, the tree should be kept away
from direct sunlight for at least a couple of weeks.
The roots cannot support so many leaves after transplant.


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

Ok just found out my dad put 2-3 inch of compost on top of the soil when we first planted it. He thought compost was just regular soil. Compost is fertilizer right ? I really believe its over fertilizing. Along with 7 days being in the box and shipping shock I can see how this plant is fading away so quickly.


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help!

tagtail, yes the guy who sent me the plants sent directions to keep them away from direct sunlight and I did for a week until yesterday i moved them for better partial sunlight. Today I moved them for almost full sunlight and I can't beleive my eyes when I came home to see the Longan doing as bad as the Lychee tree.

I moved it to sunlight because apparently it wasn't doing so good in the shade either.


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

  • Posted by eggo z10soCal LBC (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 16, 10 at 1:48

Nguyenty, it looks like it could be a combination of transport(were these barerooted) and soil(possibly). For any new plantings I would avoid soil with fertilizer. Take your lychee and repot it. Water it heavily once and bag it up with a clear plastic bag, try to create some humidity for it. The longan looks like it will drop all it's leaves but should survive. In terms of stressed out plants, yellow leaves that drop are usually a better sign than dried crispy leaves. Good luck.


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

Both are rootballs. I should have the gritty mix ready by tomorrow. Just missing granite grit. I think I will put the lychee in first and see how it goes.


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

I second Eggo's advice. I doubt that the compost did any harm and most commercial potting soils have so little fertilizer added, I can't see it causing issues either. Getting the plant as much humidity as you can may benefit them the most. I would also prune them back a bit and remove the crispy leaves. Set the plants in light shade, no direct sun if you cover them in plastic. When you cut back the branches some, if there is still green beneath the bark, you have a chance. My concern was the same as Eggo's...yellow leaves better sign than crispy ones. If your overnight temps are in the 50's, I would bring the plant inside to keep it as warm as possible.

Another option as far as nurseries go is Ong's in San Diego. He carries nice selections of many types of trees.


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

The guy who sold the plants to me said to put up stakes around the plant and wrap them in saran wrap. Ill do this right after I put both trees in a new soil mix.


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

You said your Dad put 2-3 inches of compost on top of the soil. From what I've read you're not suppose to bury the rootball...you're suppose to plant the tree at the same depth as it was planted in the plastic container and no deeper. Adding 3" of compost on top of the soil might have kept the soil too wet and prevented air circulation? Its also possible that the compost your dad added has cow manure which might have burned some of the tender roots? Not saying this is the cause, but it could have added to the problem. Just some possibilities? Good luck and hope it recovers.


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

WOW the rootball grew ALOT. I applied some mycorrhizal fungi when I received them.

Rootball 3-18-10

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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help!!!

I removed all of the dead leaves with a pruning scissor on the Longan tree. The lychee tree is covered with a plastic bag and sealed. It seems to be recovering or at least not doing any worst. I will put the Longan tree into the gritty mix as soon as I am done making the batch.

3-16-10
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3-18-10
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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

I think you overpotted all your trees. They seem to be dying of root rot from overly wet,acidic, potting soil. In my experience-unless you can get them into perfect conditions-the right size pot,the right temperatures...Otherwise when tropical potted trees look that bad so soon,in California,they usually dont recover.IF the stems stay plump and only leaf loss-your still in the game...shriveled branches or worse,trunk, is a very bad sign...


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

I also notice that these sun and warmth lovers are in shade(for photos only?). In California they need all the sun they can get.
Those trees do grow and bear fruit in soucal...so dont give up.


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

I had to take off all the leaves on the lychee tree too. Both trees has small branches that broke off extremely easily with a little pressure so I pruned all the little branches off. I hope that was the correct thing to do. Now I'll just have to wait and see.


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

  • Posted by dghays Z10A FL Brevard (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 27, 10 at 1:07

I hope it comes back for you, it looks really bad. Lychees are a bit of a pain, especially in pots. You at least have a bunch of people here that grow in pots. I no longer do anything special for my potted plants, just well aged soil from near my compost bin mixed with pine bark chips, that's it. Good luck, will give it a horticultural prayer.

Gary


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

My $0.02: Don't give up too soon on a leafless lychee. I have a Brewster which I pulled out of the ground nearly lifeless. 2 years in a pot and back into a different area of the greenhouse and it is now healthy with fruit.


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

Its been 6 weeks since I removed all of the leaves & weak small branches on both trees and there is no new signs of growth yet. It is still green underneath the bark, however. Being such expensive trees, I won't give up until I'm 100% its dead lol


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

My local high end nursery (and proponent of natural organics for plants) recommended that I spray and feed my almost dead cherry tree with Liquid Kelp spray. It worked for me. So, you might want to give that a try. It is sad to see your trees like this - I lost a lychee tree in the frost a few years back and it took me several years to get back to growing tropical trees again. Best wished to your trees.


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

nguyenty
What was the follow-upon your lychee and longan tree. This site read like a suspense mystery novel. Everyone was hoping the best. I live in the Riverside area. I ordered a lychee tree from Plant o gram last year, and it is doing fairly well. The greatest damage is the wind. I just planted it into the yard and I have a burst of new growth and fruit. Mickey give you a free tree with each order.

I always placed my fruit and vegetable scraping in the yard under dirt. You can do that also in your small space. I use Stark bro fertilizer and fish emulsion.

Next time I would buy tropical trees from Mimosa Nursery, in east Los Angeles. They have a large selection of healthy tropical trees.


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

Can anyone help. I live in the UK so I'm trying to grow a lychee tree indoors. The tree is growing fine but the leaves are going brown at the end. I'm guessing soil isn't giving enough nutrients so I'm trying to feed it once a week. Has anyone ever had anything similar? The picture attached is why it looks like and it important I keep it goon as I planted it when my son was born plus I want some juicy lychees out of it. Any help appreciated. Kai


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My Lychee tree is turning brown

Anyone help or advise?


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

All Lychee trees have leaves with brown dried tip, and it's not unusual. It's could be it's ready for a new set of leaves, but I really don't know why it's this way -- maybe too cold or cool.

Sapote


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

From what I know about Lychee trees...they love water but the potting mix must drain well...they don't like to dry out and they don't like a LOT of fertilizer..."weak" fertilizers are best. Fish emulsion at one third strength should be fine for a tree that small, fertilizer burn especially on potted lychee trees are very common.

Sapote is right...all lychee trees are prone to those brown tips on the leaves... but high PH, and the reasons I mentioned above seems to be some of the most common cause/s...Best of luck!

This post was edited by puglvr1 on Tue, Sep 17, 13 at 11:35


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

Really appreciate the comments. Trying to grow a lychee in England, especially when winter is coming is tough. Will try the water thing. Do you think it needs repotting with new soil. Should I use soil from the garden or continue with the fertiliser? I'm amazed I've grown it from seed in the first place

Kai


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

  • Posted by soaht Central CA 9B (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 17, 13 at 16:59

kaicrayford,
your little lychee, looks like it's not happy with the water you're using. If your using sink/tap water, maybe it is too hard for the lychee. Switch to filter water or distilled water. Those two are gonna cost you in the long run, when the lychee gets bigger. The best kind of water is to catch the run off rain water from your roof or how ever you can catch the rain water into a large container. Rain water doesn't have any chemical likes city water does+ it's free. Or if you want to use city water, you should reserve some of the tap water into a 5 gallon water and let it sit for a few days, for the chlorine and other chemicals to evaporate. Or for faster use of the tap water, use a fish pump, to create bubble in the water, to help aerate the chemicals out.

I have also heard people adding a small amount of vinegar or pickle juice to the water, to make it more acidic. I don't see how the vinegar can hurt the lychee plant. Since they like acidic soil anyways, the acidic water will just help keep the soil acidic enough, to keep the plant happy.


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

He's a sad chappy right now but he is still growing new leaves! Ok ill change the water to filtered as we have very limescalely water plus I live I'm London so it generally ruff. But is there anything I can do to improve the soil. Vinegar sounds odd to me

Kai


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

  • Posted by soaht Central CA 9B (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 18, 13 at 15:38

You're in London, doesn't it rain a lot over there? Catch all those rain water into a large 55 gallon drum or similar and save those for your plants water. Will be cheaper than the filter water in the long run. As for soil, they like organic soil, that is well draining. Get one that has a lot of pine barks/wood chips, or make your own. There is a recipe for making a well draining soil mix called Al's Gritty mix or his other one is called 5-1-1 mix. You can find many post about it on the forum. But, I just used kellogs' orgainc brand soil mix, and that works fine. Not, sure if you have that brand over there, but, it is a major brand, so you can probably find it or similar.
Vinegar mix with water is to help, keep the soil in an acidic condition. But, if the soil, you're using is already acidic enough, I don't see the reason for the vinegar. I can't remember all the details from the article, I read a while back, but it's also says, it's for breaking down the limestone and other minerals, found in the hard city water.

One last thing, try to avoid soil mixes with lots of peat moss. That is acidic, but retains to much water and can caused root rot. I just stick to just organic soil mix, that work well for me.


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

Do you want to grow Lychee for the tree look, or for fruit? Lychee is a relatively slow grower, especially from seed. It's much easy to "air layer" graft a 1" or smaller branch and plant it -- take about 3 months. This clone is a guarantee true to the fruit, not seedling.

Sapote


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

I'm looking to grow fruit from it not just a little tree... I have ambitions of being the first lychee farmer in the uk!


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

  • Posted by soaht Central CA 9B (My Page) on
    Thu, Sep 19, 13 at 18:10

Kai,
Sorry to rain on your parade, but lychee grown form seeds take a long while(10+ years, but if you're lucky, maybe 5+ years instead) to fruit. If, you want fruits faster(2-3 years from air layer/grafted plant), go the air layer route and get it from a nursery. There are a few European tropical fruit nurseries, you can order online from, with grafted and air layer plants. Look at this forum http://tropicalfruitforum.com/index.php?topic=5585.0
at another site talking about the different European online tropical fruit nursery.

You might not be the first person in the UK, to fruit lychee, but, you might be the first to fruit it from seeds though. In the more southern part of portugal, Spain and the whole Canary Island, are more warmer and even tropical in parts.

Good luck, if you plan to be the first to fruit lychee in the UK, from seeds. Remember, it's going to take a while.


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

I think the vinegar track is killing the plant. The leaves are looking even more sorry for themselves. I will try the rain water and see if that makes a difference


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

  • Posted by soaht Central CA 9B (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 28, 13 at 3:38

Kai,
Oh, I'm soo sorry! I should've warn you to use it on only larger trees. Your little lychee is way too small. When, I use vinegar mix into the water it's 1TBSP per 1 gallon of water, about 4 liters. But, my tree is larger, it's an air layer 5 gallon plant. So, that ratio of vinegar is not too strong for my plant. Also try carefully re potting your plant with a different organic soil mix, that is well draining. Any mix with lots of pine bark is good, since pine bark is acidic. You might want to feed your lychee with micros. You can buy store bought concentrate of micros and dilute it your self or make worm tea with worm castings. It's a good organic fertilizer with beneficial micros in it. Or you can just buy ready made worm tea concentrate/tea online on eBay or somewhere in the UK, where you live.

Did you looked at that link I posted of the other forum, with the online European nursery, that ships? Might, be a good idea to order an air layer or grafted lychee from one of the European nursery.

For now, rain water sounds like a good idea.


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

The end of a lychee, third time lucky I hope! Better luck next time. Thanks for the tips, but I think the vinegar really got it


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RE: lychee tree drying out, droopy, dying. please help !

  • Posted by soaht Central CA 9B (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 10, 13 at 16:49

I'm so sorry, but, it doesn't look completely dead yet. Your potting mix looks very wet or is it just very black? Young lychee plant don't need the extreme moistness of larger trees does. Carefully pulled out the tree and look at the root ball/system. If they are still whitish and not dark brown. Then the lychee still has a fighting chance. All those leaves will eventually drop or you can pull them off now. It will be a slower process to regrow new leaves, but, if the root system is dark brown, then it is most likely dead. But, whitish roots, still have hope for recovering. Will be slower, but will recovered. I have some young plants like that too, all the leaves died and turned brown. But their root system is still alive, just took longer to recover, after such a stressful period of leaf drops. Hang on to the little guy, it will recover, eventually. Just don't give it water unless you notice the soil is getting on the dry side.


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