droopy calamondin

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

  1. schmebbie

    schmebbie Member

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    Millet,
    I'm not entirely sure what else I can do for the tree anymore...it's lost almost all of its leaves. I'm pretty sure I was giving it the correct amount of water each time I watered it b/c I'd receive about 10% drainage. If I was underwatering it, and I think I was, my schedule may have been wrong. I was checking the soil each time, but I think my judgement of "dry" was off. I stuck my chopstick again this morning for an hour (I watered it last night) and the stick came out wet with some soil attached.

    I'm also starting to think my tree doesnt get enough direct sunlight. My apartment has large windows, but the only time the sun comes in directly is around 4-6 PM, when it's setting. I have the plant placed in the best possible location, but it's probably still not getting enough sun.

    I don't think I have any insect problems...I see the occasional fruit fly and I found 2 slugs on it. After I found the slugs I placed a tiny dish of beer on the soil, but no slugs took the bait and I haven't seen any since.

    On the bright side, the baby leaves look like theyre doing great...so I'm hoping the tree will recover after the crazy leaf loss.
     
  2. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Was thinking of posting this yesterday but I could not
    bring myself to "pull the trigger" to do so. The post
    seems more appropriate today as my suspicion of lack
    of light was finally substantiated..

    The droop of the tips of the branches is more so due to
    insufficient light at this time. Even healthy trees can
    drop a leaf or two every now and then, even a series of
    old leaves that have good color to them can fall off the
    tree indoors in a home due to inadequate lighting, high
    humidity and low moisture in the root zone. It is when
    young leaves start to wither, curl up and fall off the tree
    is when we are being told by the tree that not everything
    is growing according to plan.

    I think a photo or two of how this Calamondin looks
    like now after the leaf loss becomes important for a
    few people to know, so they will have a better idea
    as to what is going on now with your plant as opposed
    what was shown in the original photos of it.

    Jim
     
  3. schmebbie

    schmebbie Member

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    I've attached a few current pictures of the plant. If you'd like me to take a specific picture of the plant, let me know. As you can see, it's lost most of its mature leaves. All of the little oranges still remain though- Should I pick them off, so the plant is less stressed?

    A few flower buds also remain, but I think they're beginning to fall off as well b/c I found 2 on the floor last night. I might water hte plant again tonight, depending on how moist the chopstick is when I take it out.

    If it's dying b/c of the lack of sunlight, is there anything else I can do? I can't put it outside yet b/c it's still too cold.
     

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  4. schmebbie

    schmebbie Member

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    I just got back from Sheridan nurseries. After talking to the citrus expert there, he told me the soil may be too heavy at the bottom, and may need to be aerated. He said it should be okay if I gave it a bit of fertilizer (30-10-10), even though it's sick.
    They had a calamondin about the same size as mine, and his watering schedule for that tree was similar to my own. He also thought that the tree wasn't getting enough sunlight.

    So, my friend and I just took the plant out of the pot, and the roots looked fine. We added some new soil to the bottom of the pot, as well as to the top. My friend brushed off some soil from the bottom of the root ball (which was massive!). I know you're not supposed to disturb the root ball, but he assured me it would be all right if he only did it a little bit. He said he was trying to aerate the soil. I'm afraid he may have harmed the roots...would the effects of that show up in a day or two?

    If its condition worsens, I may bring the plant to sheridan on saturday, if its warm enough.

    Thanks everyone for being so helpful...I really appreciate your feedback!
     
  5. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Some more information would be helpful to get an idea of how much light the tree is actually receiving. Which direction are the windows facing where the plant normally is? Is the light filtered by shades/blinds?
     
  6. schmebbie

    schmebbie Member

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    My apartment window faces sout-west, so I only get the sun coming in through the window directly when it's setting (~ 4-6 pm). I open the blinds in the morning, so there is nothing obstructing the plant from light. I placed the plant where the biggest sun spot is, about 1 foot away from the window.
     
  7. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    First, Jim it IS REALLY GREAT seeing you post on this forum. This citrus form is MUCH BETTER with you as an active member, many times we are in you debt. Jim, about the amount of light, schmebbie's tree is receiving, ... The manufacture of photosynthates by the leaves of citrus is, of course, what produces the energy for the tree. Citrus's ability to generate energy by the biochemical process of photosynthesis is maximized at 650 PAR which is only about 1/3 full sun light. I have an inground greenhouse Cara Cara growing in the direct shade of a huge papaya. The Cara Cara receives direct sunlight only in the morning from dawn to about 9:30 AM the balance of the day it is in shade. Due to the low light energy required by citrus to carry on the maximum amount of photosynthesis the tree is doing great and presently has a lot of fruit. Therefore, I am not so sure if sunlight is schmebbie's problem? His tree receives indirect light all day from being near the window. The problem can be from various reasons, I still lean towards water, or poor soil aeration. Jim comments?
    Millet
     
  8. schmebbie

    schmebbie Member

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    I forgot to mention one other thing. In my town, the water is extremely hard (apparently we have the highest rate of kidney stones in Canada). So the guy at sheridan nurseries suggested I start using bottled water as opposed to tap water. That wouldn't be detrimental at all to the plant, would it?

    Also, after putting new soil into the pot, I decided to water it and give it fertilizer. I gave the plant about twice as much as I normally give it, and no water drained out. So, I gave it some more water until I received ~ 10% drainage. In total, the plant received about 3x more than I usually give it at once. Is it normal for new soil to take up so much water? The type of soil I used was called "green earth, all purpose soil mix" and was recommended by the guy working at sheridan.

    Thanks again!
     
  9. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    There is a difference when growing a Citrus indoors
    as opposed to growing a Citrus with more controlled
    atmospherics in a greenhouse. Even with early morning,
    ambient light your tree has gets more total footcandles
    of light than this Calamondin will get as morning light
    intensity in a greenhouse is brighter than late afternoon
    light will be coming through a window for a shorter
    period of time. Your Cara Cara may seem shaded by
    the Papaya but really it isn't when we factor in when
    your tree gets light and how much actual shade your
    tree gets that I bet the tree in the apartment gets less
    total light in a day and is subject to more actual
    darkness than your tree does. Another factor is that
    your tree is in ground, thus the roots will work more
    efficiently in a controlled environment as the roots
    on your tree do not have to endure fluctuations in the
    soil temperature like the Calamondin can, nor will the
    roots on your tree ever really be allowed to desiccate
    no matter how dry the soil may seem, unlike the
    Calamondin roots which can either be overwatered
    or underwatered combined with the lack of intensity
    of light can cause older growth to be sloughed off at
    almost any time until the amount of light, preferably
    morning light for this tree has increased. That may
    change once it is outdoors. Another thing to consider
    is that every time you water your tree you do not force
    as much oxygen out of the soil, much of it will be
    retained, whereas every time the indoor tree in an
    apartment is watered oxygen is forced out of the
    container and is not replenished as quickly as a free
    rooted in ground plant will be compared to a restricted
    rooted plant grown in a container.

    Jim
     
  10. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Jim,
    If insufficient light is the problem, would the leaves be shed minus the petiole? The latest images show there are numerous petioles still attached to the stems of the tree.
     
  11. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Actually insufficient light is just part of the problem
    but there is another factor involved here. Inadequate
    or infrequent deep watering that may have lead to
    some desiccation going on in the roots in between
    waterings. Yes, these factors can cause the older
    leaves to fall off the tree and leave the petioles.
    I am more used to what cold damage can do and
    for us here whether in ground or in a container
    outdoors when both the leaves and the petioles
    will fall. The misses had a defoliated Lime or
    two to remind me of such..

    We have a indoor variegated Ficus in a pot that
    will drop its leaves and the petioles stay on the
    tree when the indoor humidity is high, roots cool
    from non warm air drafts and when we have been
    bad about watering it when the leaves only start
    to droop. Happens only in the Winter. With lack
    of indirect lighting as well we can see a twig droop
    also in the younger shoots. In the Summer both
    the leaves and the petioles will fall but that is more
    due to a drying out, the plant telling us we caught
    it too late to water it at its preference.

    Jim
     
  12. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Jim, what you say certainly lends truth on your side, especially concerning oxygen. I have long held that the three most important requirements for containerized citrus are -- 1. Soil oxygen, 2 soil oxygen and 3 soil oxygen. About the light, I agree with you that my inground greenhouse Cara Cara probably does receive more overall light than schmebbie's apartment tree. Yet in France some citrus are winter stored in unheated basements that allow for very minimal light, and the trees seem to come through "successfully." I've always thought the reason was the atmospheric balance between the root zone and the foliage. I fully agree with your reasoning, as points that are affecting Schmebbie's tree, I think that the major problem is in the tree's growth medium.

    Millet
    Anton von Leeuwenhoek
    Founder of Polyembryony in oranges 1719
     
  13. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Location:
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    I finally looked at some of the latest photos. As
    we can see the droop is absent when the shoots
    are receiving light as seen in the first photo.

    I see no major problems with this plant. What we
    are seeing is a normal transition these plants can
    go through during the Winter months. I've seen
    several Citrus coming into retail outlets that are
    dropping older leaves, so at this time of year that
    is not a big worry to me. I'd be more concerned
    if the leaves were dropping at the same rate two
    months from now. This Calamondin has good
    color to the leaves, better than many that are now
    being seen in the nurseries. The worst part of the
    year will soon be over for this plant and it seems
    to have endured this transition stage well. Now,
    the plant will better adapt to growing inside the
    home until it can be placed outdoors later. Take
    heed of the very good advice people have offered
    you and enjoy having this tree. Many of them will
    still be around to help out later and you will have
    a question or two later in how to deal with multiple
    crops on this tree. There has been some good advice
    presented on that subject in this forum from people
    that have been through it, so you may want to spend
    some time reading up on all of the well thought out
    and pertinent, related posts that are in this Citrus
    forum already.

    Jim
     
  14. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Jim, I totally agree with you 100 percent. Looking at the very first pictures published, and comparing them to the latest pictures, I believe the problem all along was nothing more than under watering the tree. Many people have apprehension when it comes to watering a containerized citrus tree, because they have heard the horror stories of the issues over watering can cause. When in fact the real cause of harm, is not from the over watering itself, but from the privation of oxygen. It is rather difficult to over water a growth medium that has excellent drainage and aeration. Another, important lesson learned here, one that I have a problem with, is looking for answers to problems, when in reality there is no problem to solve. Possibly this occurs from over relying on an abundance of book knowledge and not utilizing enough of ones practical knowledge. Thanks for the lesson. Take care, and welcome back, I hope to see you around here for a long time to come.

    Millet
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2007
  15. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    schmebbie,
    As an aside, you mentioned speaking to a "citrus expert" at the nursery. Does Sheridan sell other varieties of citrus?
     
  16. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    BTW Jim, I rewrote my last posting when I again reread what you last wrote, and after thinking about it for a while. - Millet
     
  17. schmebbie

    schmebbie Member

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    Thanks for all the advice/recommendations...you guys are all a great help.

    Sheridan's has a few citrus trees, including a calamondin. I went there again this morning with the tree and John (the citrus expert) took a look at it. He said it looks as if it should recover, although the new leaves looked strange to him, a lot wider and reverted (curling slightly in the opposite direction).

    THere was one thing I didn't mention before, that John thinks may have had an impact on the tree. A week after I bought it, I brought it to my apartment from my parent's house, which is about an hour and a half away. It was cold (~ -2 C), and I didn't cover it with a bag.

    I just stuck a chopstick in, and it seems as if a lot of the moisture is accumulating at the bottom. Only the bottom of the chopstick had little bits of soil stuck to it, while the rest of the chopstick just looks damp.
     
  18. schmebbie

    schmebbie Member

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    Mr. Shep,

    I thought the weather transition may have had something to do with the leaf-loss but I got worried b/c I didn't know so many leaves could be lost in such a short period of time. With the new soil and more sun, I'm hoping the tree will have a fast recovery...

    Thanks again!
     
  19. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    If John is concerned about new leaves being wider, or even larger (than some of the older leaves) one would question how expert he is, at least on citrus.

    Millet
     

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