droopy calamondin

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by schmebbie, Mar 17, 2007.

  1. schmebbie

    schmebbie Member

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    Hey guys,

    I got a humidifier about a week ago and I've been turning it on all night (on low) for the past couple of days to help keep my apartment moist for my calamondin tree. Lately i've noticed that the leaves look somewhat droopier than normal, and I also found 2 slugs on it this morning! I stopped using the humidifier 2 days ago. Is it because I'm watering the plant too much, or maybe the humidifier is making the environment too humid? If you take a look at the pictures, the new branches/leaves are drooping down, while before they were completely upright.

    Thanks for the help :)
     

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  2. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    It's difficult to see the humidifer as the culprit unless it's a warm-mist model that had been pointed directly at the tree. What you're seeing is not the result of high humidity. It's likely to be water related - either too wet or too dry. My trees look the same when they're thirsty. Check the soil as previously suggested in the thread tangerine/clemetine/citrus tree- what is it? | UBC Botanical Garden Forums and water if dry. If wet, the tree may have been overwatered and is now suffering from root rot.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015
  3. schmebbie

    schmebbie Member

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    I haven't been changing my routine for watering...I took your advice and only watered when the top two inches of soil were dry, and that worked out to be roughly once every 3 days. However, I think maybe I did have the humidifier placed too close to the plant....it was about 2 feet away from it, so I think that may have been the problem?
    If root rot is the problem, is there any way I can save my plant?

    I'm unsure about what to do now...I have pretty much stopped touching it b/c I'm scared to make the situation worse...so I haven't been watering it (I was supposed to last night if following the 3 day routine), I haven't been spraying/misting it, and I haven't turned on the humidifier since. The only thing I've been doing is making sure it gets lots of light. I just don't know what to do :(
     
  4. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    You could ease the tree, soil and all, out of the pot to have a look. Do it in the usual manner of tapping on the sides of the container to first loosen the contact between the root ball and the pot. Once out of the pot you can see how much moisture is in the soil. You can also see what condition the roots are in: tan colored with white tips is healthy; brown and mushy is rot. Your next course of action depends on what you find.

    Based on what you've said so far, the tree is likely in need of a drink. Trees that are actively growing, as yours seems to be, require more moisture. My initial thought was of the tree being 'cooked' by heated moisture from the humidifier but that seems less likely.
     
  5. schmebbie

    schmebbie Member

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    This morning, after my post, I gave it about 200 mL of water, just to see if its condition would improve...and it hasn't changed. Should I still take the plant out of the pot, now that the soil's somewhat wet? Or should I wait until tomorrow, when the soil's a bit more dry? I dont know if the moisture would affect the colour of the roots or not...

    Also, I'd be taking the plant out of the pot outside, and since I live in canada, it's about 0 degrees celcius right now...would that be too stressful for the plant, if it were outside for ~ 20 minutes?


    Thanks again for your help, I'm afraid there are no plant enthusiasts in my family/group of friends.
     
  6. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    It should be all right to take it out now but I would do it inside because of the cold temperatures outside. Before I bought a large tray I used to lay sheets of newspaper on my linoleum floor to catch the dirt. Use four overlapping piles of broadsheet newspaper to create a large area. Top it off with a fifth pile in the center. Each pile is 2-3 sheets thick. In the end, if you're careful, you can simply fold up the newspaper and throw it away. By all means use a tarp if you have one. When you take the tree out of the pot, keep the disturbance to a minimum and the root ball intact so that you can slip it back in easily.

    What range of temperature is the tree exposed to? It sounds like it's inside, behind a sunny window. Citrus trees go dormant at temperatures below 13C/55F. The roots cannot supply the tree with moisture under these conditions and wilting could be the result. Just something else to consider.
     
  7. schmebbie

    schmebbie Member

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    It's inside right now, and about ~ 20-25 C, depending on how stingy I am with the heat. I usually place it next to the balcony window during the day to get more light, and there is a slight draft (nothing major) coming from the window, because the window's so large...

    I'll be checking the roots sometime today/tomorrow, depending on when my friend can make it over to my house (I need help with holding the plant while inspecting it b/c it's pretty large). So I guess I'll have the verdict sometime soon...

    I feel like a horrible mother haha.
     
  8. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I have to agree with Junglekeeper, in that the drooping condition cannot and is not caused by the humidifier. Lastly a properly watered containerized citrus tree is watered THRORUGHLY when it is watered, until approximately 10 percent of the water poured comes out the drain holes at the bottom of the container. Watering a tree with prediscribed amounts, such as 200 ml can cause a lot of problems from high soluble salts to water deprivation.

    Millet
     
  9. schmebbie

    schmebbie Member

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    I just noticed something! I'm surprised I didnt' see it before, but it seems as if the roots are coming up to the surface! Could this be the cause of the problems? Should I uproot the entire plant anyway, or just place some new soil at the surface and see what happens?
     

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  10. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Surface roots are normal for citrus. You could cover them with a thin layer of soil if you so choose.
     
  11. schmebbie

    schmebbie Member

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    I have been advised by a friend of a friend, who knows a lot about plants (but not much about citrus plants) to place the pot of my plant in a large rubbermaid bin, that's filled with 3 inches of water, and let it soak for roughly 20 minutes.
    He's convinced it's not getting enough water.

    He also thinks its a good idea to repot, since the roots are showing. But if that's normal, then is there no need? I'm afraid repotting will be too much for the sick plant to take.
     
  12. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    You'll have to make a decision based on what's been suggested by everyone so far. If the tree is still in its original pot and has not been recently repotted then easing it out should be fairly simple. An inspection will take the guesswork out of what needs to be done, including whether to repot. (The presence of surface roots do not indicate a need to repot.) There's a good chance all it needs is more water. The surface roots look healthy enough. If you're really reluctant to pull the tree out, use other methods (previously mentioned) to estimate the amount of moisture in the soil. Add to that list a wooden chopstick or skewer that can be stuck deep into the soil. Pull it out after some time and check how wet it is. If you decide to repot, choose a pot one size larger than the current one. It is a mistake to overpot citrus trees.
     
  13. schmebbie

    schmebbie Member

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    Based on what I've heard, I think I will put it in the rubbermaid tub tonight for 20 minutes, and then check the roots tomorrow afternoon for root rot. My friend told me that placing plants into water, and letting the water soak upwards (as opposed to downwards when you're watering from the surface of the soil) is the best way to water a plant. Is that true for citrus plants as well?

    Is it common for the new baby leaves to appear damp/limp if there isn't enough water? Will putting the plant into the water tub make the situation significantly worse, ie. no point of return?
     
  14. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    If your tree has root rot, soaking it more will just make things worse.
    Not sure but I think Millet's suggestion upthread on this matter is a good one.
     
  15. schmebbie

    schmebbie Member

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    Hello again,

    I decided to water it the normal way last night, after noticing that a few of the older, more mature leaves were curling. This morning, the younger leaves were not as droopy/limp, which I took as good news. However, now a lot of the older leaves are falling off. Was the tree just thirsty, seeing as the new leaves are doing better? Or should I still check for root rot?
     
  16. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    It does appear so. I'd still pop the tree out to have a look for all the aforementioned reasons. It's simple for me to do but you may feel differently.

    The older leaves on my tree curl slightly when it's in need of more moisture. I've never let it get much worse before watering. I'm not sure why yours are falling off. Could be from lack of water but it seems unlikely since they were just beginning to curl. I've experienced leaf drop in the past from low humidity (<40%). Could that be the case in your home? Is that why you were running a humidifer?
     
  17. schmebbie

    schmebbie Member

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    I'm reluctant to take the plant out of the pot b/c I can be pretty clumsy and I know how fragile the roots are. I'm afraid of causing more damage, especially since I've never done this sort of thing before.

    I've turned the humidifier on again, now that I know it wasn't causing the problems. I've also turned on the heat a bit higher than normal (not > 25 C), just in case the soil was getting too cold. I also misted the tree this morning with a spray bottle. I'm a bit confused because I had the same routine going for about 3 weeks and the plant was fine and bloomed so many beautiful fragrant flowers. Does it take 2-3 weeks for the plant to tell you it doesn't like a certain thing you're doing?

    Do you think I'm doing too much, and all these changes may be stressful for the plant? Or is everything I'm doing beneficial, as long as its not in excess? I only have the humidifier on low.

    I'm worried b/c a LOT of mature leaves are dropping...I was picking off the dead ones, and some normal, healthy looking leaves fell off when my hand simply grazed them. In total, I'd say ~ 40 leaves have fallen off.

    The newer branches/leaves are looking better than before, but some of the mature ones remain somewhat curled.
     
  18. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    You really need to act quickly to confirm the problem is a lack of moisture (one way or another) then move to remedy it. Adding small amounts of water to the top of the soil is not going to help much if it's dry deep down. The skewer stick method will give you the answer.

    Normal room temperatures will be fine - you don't need to change that. I suggest you don't expose the tree to strong sunlight/high heat until it has stabilized. Humidity shouldn't be a problem since you're running the humidifer. You know the basic requirements for these trees. Don't stray too far from them and you should be okay. It can be frustrating at times when things aren't quite right, as is the case now, but it's part of the learning experience.

    Withholding water in order to stress the tree is a method used to force blooming in citrus.
     
  19. schmebbie

    schmebbie Member

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    Hello again,

    I stuck the wooden chopstick in, and when I took it out 5 minutes later, there wasn't much of a change in colour between the 2 parts of the chopstick (I stuck the chopstick all the way to the bottom of the pot). So I decided to give it some more water...I'm still noticing some leaf drop.

    Also, I noticed that a lot of the roots were edging towards the side of the pot (where I placed the chopstick into), and it was difficult for me to find a good location to stick the chopstick in without disturbing the roots too much. Do you think it's time to repot? The tree is ~30 inches tall, and the pot is ~ 10 inches.
     
  20. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Five minutes is probably too short to get an accurate reading. I think an hour would be better. I use wooden skewers with one of my pots. They're left in the soil permanently and pulled for inspection and reinserted afterwards. Anyway, I guess it's good that the chopstick wasn't wet. Look for other clues. If the soil around the drainage holes is dry then lack of moisture is very likely. If you finally decide this is the problem, follow Millet's suggestion regarding watering. Your friend's suggestion to soak may be called for if the root ball is 'bone dry'. Also, get a feel for the weight of the pot before and after you water so you'll know for next time. You can also compare these weights with that of similar sized trees back at the store.

    I'll reserve judgement. You won't know for sure unless you pop the tree out for a look.

    P.S. I reviewed the pictures in your previous thread and in this one and the soil does appear to be dry.
     
  21. schmebbie

    schmebbie Member

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    Okay...I'll stick a chopstick in sometime tomorrow, to let some of the water I put in tonight get through. I should be looking for a definite change in colour of the chopstick right?

    Since I've had the plant, every time I watered it, roughly ~10% of the water drained through, so I think I am watering it with the correct amount. It might be my "dryness" judgement of the top 2 inches of the soil that is off...so I'm guessing I need to water it a bit more often than I was before. It's lost about 1/4- 1/2 its leaves...I'll be going to a plant store thursday to buy a moisture meter, some soil to repot, and some fertilizer. Hopefully it won't be too late :(
     
  22. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Could be. It's just a rule of thumb. It depends on what medium is in use and how porous it is (and therefore how much moisture is left in the soil deeper down).

    I would hold off on the fertilizer until the condition of the tree has stabilized. I'm not sure about repotting at this time because root disturbance would put additional stress on the tree. Perhaps others could jump in with their thoughts.
     
  23. schmebbie

    schmebbie Member

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    I spoke to someone from a plant nursery over the phone this morning and they told me a few things I found interesting. Are calamondin baby leaves normally a different colour (lighter green) and thinner than the older leaves? And by baby leaves I mean the tiny ones, as well as the leaves that are a bit smaller than the older mature leaves. Is it possible my plant had a hard time acclimatizing, and is losing all its leaves because of that?

    About 3/4 of the leaves have dropped now, and many of them are dropping without withering, curling, or colouring (they're healthy looking). Someone suggested I overwatered in the past 3 days.

    Also, is it possible my tree was flowering so much b/c spring is coming? Or does it only flower excessively when its not receiving enough water?
     
  24. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Young leaves are light green and thin. Mature leaves, large and small, are dark green and relatively thicker.

    Perhaps but if that were the case I would have expected to see signs of stress sooner.

    Flowering could also have been triggered by the warm temperatures in the house. This is consistent with the presence of new growth on the tree.
     
  25. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Schmebbie, at this point I believe for the sake of your tree you need to follow the good advice by Junglekeeper, and stop experimenting/worring on this and on that in hopes of finding something that is the miracle cure. Only five possible conditions can cause drooping leaves in citrus. 1). Disease (HIGHLY improbable because you are in Canada). 2). Under watering (most likely your tree's problem) 3. Over watering 4). High soluble salts in the root zone (most commonly caused by under watering). 5). Insects. If your tree received good light, if you kept the potting medium at 18C or higher during the winter months, and *IF* you properly watered the container your tree should never have had a problem. 95 percent of all containerized citrus problems has to do with watering and "soil" aeration.
     

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