Can my Kumquats be saved?

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by CitrusNewbie, Jan 15, 2022.

  1. CitrusNewbie

    CitrusNewbie New Member

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    I got these two kumquat plants last spring and have been taking care of them like they're my children. I follow most of the advice I found online : Water them when 2-4 inches of the top soil is dry, use a citrus fertilizer once every 2 weeks, I have them in a south facing window with grow lights and spray them with a water bottle once a day.

    Recently I was away for a week and before I left I made sure I watered them well until it poured out the bottom. Since I was away I couldn't turn on the grow lights but I figured this wouldn't be such a big deal since I'd only be gone for 7 days.

    When I came back the Meiwa had lost most of it's leaves and the Nagami had lost a good portion of them. I noticed the soil was drier than usual which is strange because I usually water them once a week. We noticed most of our other plants also had brown leaves which again is strange because they hadn't gone without water more then they usually do. Our hygrometer was reading 30% so I suspect that the air might have gotten really dry since no one was living there for a week? Also since I wasn't there to turn them on and off they didn't have the grow lights on for the whole time.

    Anyway I've been taking extra care of the kumquats since I've been back but the leaves that were still green are still turning brown and falling. At this point the Meiwa is practically bare but the Nagami seems to be doing better although it has been dropping fruit.

    I suspect most people will tell me to cut the fruit off to give it a fighting chance but I'd like to avoid that if possible seeing as I've been waiting almost a year to finally harvest them. What am I doing wrong ? Is it still getting over the shock of not getting the grow lights and being underwatered? Is there anything I can do to help them recover other than cutting the fruit off?
     

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  2. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Welcome to the Forums.

    I suggest you remove most if not all of the fruit. It would be difficult to bring them to maturity anyway with a much reduced complement of leaves. The ones that remain don't look too healthy to start with; there appears to be a nutrient deficiency of some sort. This is somewhat unexpected as you feed the trees regularly. Check the label on the fertilizer to make sure it contains micronutrients. If they are present then perhaps a high soil pH is inhibiting the uptake of nutrients.

    Since your other plants are similarly affected I would suspect the problem to be environmental. Perhaps temperatures had been either too high or too low while you were away. Citrus are known to drop its leaves when exposed to light while the soil temperature is too low. I would expect the soil to dry more quickly in a low humidity environment. That may explain the soil drying more quickly than normal. Was the soil excessively dry when you got back?

    HS-797/CH142: A Guide to Citrus Nutritional Deficiency and Toxicity Identification
     
  3. CitrusNewbie

    CitrusNewbie New Member

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    Hi! Thank you so much for your answer.

    I will remove the fruit as you suggested. The fertilizer I use is Job's organic citrus spikes which I dissolve a small piece of in water and use to water the plants.

    The temperature might have been too low as it's been exceptionally cold here on certain nights (-25 celsius) and they are sitting on the window sill. I now make sure I move them at night to a warmer spot.

    The soil was indeed excessively dry when we got back and this was the case for all of our plants. What I find strange is that I've been back for over a week now and have watered them thoroughly but they still seems to be worsening. Leaves that still looked healthy when i got back started getting brown patches that spread until the leaf eventually fell off.

    Is there anything else I can do to help them recover after I've removed the fruit?

    Thanks again for your help.
     
  4. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I could not determine the exact fertilizer that you're using so have a closer look at the label. If it contains only the macronutrients N, P, and K then I suggest you switch to a fertilizer that does include micronutrients. Otherwise your tree will continue to suffer from deficiencies.

    The cold then seems to be the most likely culprit. You can provide some warmth to your containers by placing them on top of seedling mats, if you have any. Alternatively, small incandescent lights could be wrapped around the containers. The warmth will help in promoting root growth. Have a look at the following thread for information regarding citrus and cold temperatures: Kaffir lime and normal lime tree help.

    The excessive dryness may have exacerbated the problem. Have a look at the following thread that deals with a calamondin that suffered from a lack of moisture; it may provide you with some insight in its recovery: Calamondin help needed.
     
  5. CitrusNewbie

    CitrusNewbie New Member

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    Thanks again for your reply.

    The fertilizer is Jobe's organic I misspelled it the first time. I will be supplementing this with a bit of miracle grow since it doesn't seem to have micronutrients.

    I took pictures of what seems like new leave buds but I am really new at growing stuff in general so I don't know if that's what I'm looking at or not.
     

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  6. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    If it is Miracle-Gro 24-8-16 that you have, I suggest you go with that alone as its NPK ratio is in line with the nutrient requirement for citrus.

    It looks like there's some vegetative growth developing - a good sign.
     
  7. CitrusNewbie

    CitrusNewbie New Member

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    Hi me again,

    Thank you for the help so far. I've been taking extra care of both of them spraying them with water several times a day and even moving them from one side of the house to the other to make sure they get the maximum amount of sun. I've also been moving them at night so they don't get cold by the window sill.

    Despite this the Nagami is still losing leaves as pictured and the Meiwa is seeing some twig dieback that I've been pruning. Is there any other cause for this or am I doing something wrong? I just want to make sure I'm doing everything I can to make them recover.


    Thank you
     

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  8. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I wouldn't bother with the spritzing as the effect is too brief to have much effect. The trees are probably continuing to adjust to the damage caused by the cold. It shouldn't be a problem to lose the old leaves as long as new ones are being produced that remain healthy - the old ones are severely nutrient deficient anyway. Feed the trees at half the recommended strength during this time. I suggest you use a water-soluble fertilizer. Providing bottom heat to the containers would help in the trees' recovery. Also, it would be best to remove any remaining fruit.
     
  9. Sulev

    Sulev Contributor

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    To me that seems like another citrus suffering from high peat content in the potting mix. Sure, it is possible to grow citruses in the peat, but WHY?
    Citruses aren't bog plants! You have to be very careful when using soilless mixes and have to keep proper moisture and nutrient level. Mineral soil would be much more forgiving. I haven't fertilized my citruses since October. I have watered them only twice during this winter. Not a single brown leaf!
     

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