Author Topic: Gardeners: Please help me save my orange tree!  (Read 3804 times)

Groovin Old Hippie

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Gardeners: Please help me save my orange tree!
« on: June 10, 2015, 02:02:53 PM »
We transplanted a semi-dwarf orange tree over the weekend and I don't think it's going to make it.  We gave it extra water but my friend said yellow leaves mean too much water.  This tree is more like a bush but we did get oranges from it last year and we would hate to lose it.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.

jeromedawg

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Re: Gardeners: Please help me save my orange tree!
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2015, 02:19:29 PM »
Assuming you're watering regularly, did you add any citrus food or fertilizer when transplanting it? Or did you pretty much just dig a hole and transplant it right in? I think you may need to condition the soil a bit before transplanting. I'm assuming this spot gets quite a bit of sunlight? You could try putting it back into the container it was originally in and see if that helps. I had similar troubles with my citrus dwarfs dying as soon as I transplanted. I think the soil wasn't very good and I should have spent more time conditioning it beforehand. Try also posting on Gardenweb.

FrogStash

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Re: Gardeners: Please help me save my orange tree!
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2015, 02:31:54 PM »
It could just be shock from being transplanted.  Many trees and shrubs will look stressed from the...well, stress...of transplanting.  I know this isn't the easiest advice to act on but you should probably just wait and see. 

RetiredAt63

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Re: Gardeners: Please help me save my orange tree!
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2015, 06:19:54 PM »
I know nothing about orange trees, but general transplanting advice: if you had to trim roots to move it, you need to reduce stems to match (=> prune).  Otherwise the leaves make too many demands on the reduced roots.  Also, some shade helps, since this reduces water loss from the leaves, especially in the hottest time of the day.  Don't over-fertilize, the tree is growing new feeder roots and can't take much up yet.  What fertilizer you do use should be a transplant fertilizer to assist root growth.

Good luck with it.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Gardeners: Please help me save my orange tree!
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2015, 06:42:44 PM »
I had some luck with Wilt Stop (an anti-transpirant spray) last year when I had a tree that was suffering from transplant shock/heat stress. Although my husband said he went out and talked to the tree every day and that's what saved it. Give it a little root-stimulating fertilizer if you haven't already.

Yellow leaves can mean too much water or not enough water or too much heat or... just stress. Stick your finger in the soil and see if it's wet. If it is - don't water more.

I wouldn't try to dig it up and re-transplant it back to its original location/pot though - I don't think there are take-backs with stressed out trees. ;)

Remember that transplant shock causes root die-off, so even if you didn't trim the roots, chances are the tree is in the process of cutting off support to those areas. I always remove yellowed/browned leaves. The leaves aren't going to recover - so get rid of them so the tree can focus it's energy on healthy parts. I only usually trim branches from distressed trees if the branch is 90%+ defoliated.

There's this ongoing debate in tree-land about whether you should prune heavily when transplanting or not - but in my Master Gardener training, they claimed that science supported only trimming unhealthy branches - because pruning can cause additional stress.

If it has any developing fruit on it right now, then remove it. Stressed out trees can't be wasting precious energy on fruit.

I got four trees on a Summer sale last year from Earl May - two ornamental prunes and two apples. They all suffered from shock. But I got them all to pull through with a little TLC. I was convinced that one of the prunes was done for - it was probably 80% defoliated at one point. But it pulled through and looks great this year. The apples both fruited this year - although the one that was worse off has only two apples.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2015, 06:45:58 PM by Cpa Cat »

deborah

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Re: Gardeners: Please help me save my orange tree!
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2015, 07:07:09 PM »
It looks to me as if it really needs a lot of water (definitely has not had too much), and that it lost some or all major roots when it was transplanted. It really doesn't look like it will survive. Add some seaweed concentrate (at very low dosages - too much fertilizer will kill it as it is so delicate) to the water. See if you can rig a shade canopy to reduce the sun getting to it for the next week while it adapts, as it may be getting too much sun and drying out very quickly - you really need to water it every few hours during the day. It looks from the picture that one branch has just about completely died, and that the central plant is a bit better (but I'm not sure) - if this is the case, you may want to prune off that branch. You should have pruned it when you transplanted it, and I'm not sure what pruning will do at this stage.

Groovin Old Hippie

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Re: Gardeners: Please help me save my orange tree!
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2015, 09:50:49 PM »
Thank you for all of your replies! We are just learning about gardening as we start planting more plants...mostly succulents since we have a drought in SoCal.  I think we did everything wrong with this transplant.  My husband just dug a hole and plopped it in! We'll do a thorough inspection on Saturday and take everyone's advice to see if we can keep this baby alive!!