Tangerine Tree Yellowing, dying?? HELP! [pics]

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by visoredge, Oct 26, 2005.

  1. visoredge

    visoredge Member

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    SF Bay Area, CA

    I live in the SF Bay Area in CA,
    and moved into a house last year.
    THe tangerine tree in our front yard has recently shown some signs of "bad stuff"

    Don't know if it's a lack of water, fertilizer, pests...

    I noticed some yellowing of leaves, "wilted" look to some branches (due to fruit weight?), and some inner parts of the tree branches becoming dead and leafless.

    Please see the pictures!

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Attached Files:

  2. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Your tree is not dying. It is rather common
    for Mandarins planted in the ground to show
    the beginnings of a nutrient deficiency during
    the Summer, early Autumn, while there is fruit
    on the tree. In a production orchard we tend
    use a foliar chelate spray of either iron and/or
    zinc to help bring color back to the leaves. In
    your case you can use some Epson salt about
    3 ounces (do it right now if you plan to use it,
    do not wait even as long as two weeks) and
    sprinkle it around the base of the tree and
    water it in well.

    The center of the tree appears to show the
    aftereffects of you having a scale insect
    at one time or another. I thought I saw a
    couple pretty well hidden Cottony Cushion
    scale on two limbs on two of the photos.
    A good shower of water to wash off the
    twigs and branches will help for this now
    as your infestation is not extreme enough
    yet to warrant a chemical spray but you
    will want to use a spray in the next year
    or two if this condition gets worse and
    you will easily see it if it gets bad but
    I'd wait until mid Spring now to use any

    It is also normal for the center of the
    trees to have some die out due to lack
    of light to penetrate into the center of
    the tree.

    It is not too late for you where you are
    to use a fertilizer instead of the Epson
    salts but not a heavy dose or a fertilizer
    with Nitrogen in it now. Go to a Home
    Depot, a Lowe's or even a retail nursery
    and get a bag or a 5 pound box of a
    granular bloom fertilizer (0-10-10)
    that has no Nitrogen in it but make
    sure it has Calcium in the nutrient
    content and sprinkle three ounces
    of it about one foot away from the
    trunk and water it in well and then
    next Spring, probably mid February
    for you there, then go ahead and
    use a Citrus food at a rate of three
    to four ounces that has some Nitrogen
    in it and let the late Spring rains
    water the granular fertilizer into the
    ground for you.

  3. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Denver,Colorado USA
    Jim, I answered this same question from the same person on an other forum. I believe your reply could certainly be correct. I also think the problem for this particular tree is compounded by the fact the tree is being grown in the front yard grass. He waters the grass two or three times a week and further the sprinkler strikes the tree. The grass growing under the drip line of the tree absorbs a lot of the nutrients, and the constant watering of the lawn leaches much of the remainer out of the root zone. Both nitrogen and potassium are very water soluble, and is easily leached. Also the fruit on the tree is using up much of the available potassium that is left. - Millet
  4. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Thanks Millet for the information. Since we
    have a forum crossover at work here, I'll stay
    out of this one now. I may write you later with
    some thoughts on the lawn, water and nutrient

  5. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    It's certainly okay to link to the other forum, so that others can see the replies there.
  6. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Daniel, I understand but in the last several months
    there has been a wealth of duplicate threads that
    are being posted in both forums. One of us has
    a problem to get over with concerning some of
    the people in that "other" forum.

    I should better look at things that I may end up
    helping someone else in time that looks around
    in this forum rather than the person that started the
    original thread in another online forum host and then
    pretty much posts the same question in here also.
    If they will answer my questions then perhaps I can
    be of more help to them but I have found that there
    are people on the "other side" that have not always
    been too helpful with their input regarding growing
    situations that may also affect others elsewhere.

    In this case the lawn aspect does not bother me.
    The water hitting the leaves can be a problem
    but overhead watering of this tree may actually
    help the tree.

    I see no need to have a drip line if this tree is
    being watered by sprinklers. I agree with Millet
    that nutrients are being washed away somewhat
    by the current irrigation practice but my main
    concern other than scale which are present and
    have signs of being around previous are the two
    nutrient deficiencies I am seeing and how we go
    about either masking the effects of them or dealing
    with them head on. We do not know what all we
    need to know to offer a specific recommendation
    just yet on what to do to counter the current state
    of health for this tree.

  7. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Denver,Colorado USA
    Jim, you say, "In this case the lawn aspect does not bother me" and "I see no need to have a drip line." I wonder why? It is evident from reading your threads, that you have considerable experience and knowledge concerning the cultivation of citrus. I certainly respect anyone with your knowledge. I, however, have always believed for several reasons that citrus is best grown without any vegetation what so ever in or under the drip line. I would be greatful to hear your thinking. Thank you. - Millet
  8. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Likes Received:
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Millet, ideally you are quite correct Citrus will do
    better without any other vegetation. We can grow
    some Citrus here in a lawn. Mandarins and dwarf
    trees being some of them as they have been used
    sparingly in some landscapes as companion plants
    along with other plants.

    As far as the lawn taking nutrients away from the
    tree that is an issue for us but we can overcome
    it or at least deal with it by adding in more fertilizer
    if need be to compensate for the lawn taking up
    some of the nutrients. All of my 60+ Fruit Trees
    are planted in my lawn, 2 acres worth of lawn that
    is watered by sprinklers. I am not seeing what I
    feel is much fertilizer going into the lawn as a
    result of how and when I fertilize my trees. I am
    not worried about fertilizer wasteage or it going
    somewhere else here.

    For this Mandarin I feel I can compensate for it
    being in a lawn but others may not want to deal
    with it. I understand your concern but sometimes
    we have to deal with the hand that was dealt us
    and with that in mind I would try to compensate
    for the possibility of nutrient loss that may go
    into the lawn by either adding in more fertilizer
    per application and hose (deep) watering it in
    or I would time my smaller perhaps applications
    when the lawn itself is either dormant or not
    growing and does not have to be watered. If
    we can rely on rainfall to water in the fertilizer
    for us while the lawn is dormant and not growing
    like some Fescue lawns will do here then I feel
    I can deal with the lawn and the Citrus growing
    together. Our orchards have no vegetation at all
    but in a home landscape we can deal with a Citrus
    tree and have it in a lawn. I would not try to grow
    a standard tree in a lawn but we can as in time the
    dense shade from the canopy of the tree will cause
    the lawn to die out as it did for one of my next door
    neighbors. In between the trees is lawn but the lawn
    no longer exists under the trees. The same will
    happen in time with this Mandarin that the lawn will
    no longer be growing underneath the tree but will
    die out giving us in time a nice clean vegetation free
    area underneath the tree. All we need is 1 1/2-2
    feet away from the trunk of the tree to lay down
    some granular fertilizer and in time we will have
    that area naturally cleared out for us.

    For the immediate nutrient correction, yes indeed
    the lawn poses a problem in that we have a definite
    zinc deficiency to deal with that needs to be addressed
    as this tree will stress even more next year if something
    is not done about it. I know in production orchards
    we would use a zinc chelate spray, not so much as a
    corrective measure but as a preventative to ward off
    a possible or pending deficiency when the trees have
    fruit on them but in this case a chelate spray or even
    several sprays may not be enough to counter the severity
    of the current deficiency. A ground based fertilizer
    program will be warranted instead based on what I am
    seeing so in this case the lawn becomes a small hindrance
    for us and I can take care of that by clearing out a 2 foot
    circle of lawn around the tree so I can lay my fertilizer
    down on the ground, not on the lawn and risk the
    nutrients moving away from where I want them to go.
    Removal of the lawn is not mandatory for a normal
    fertilization but we have a deficiency at work that is
    not going to get better anytime soon, so I'd go ahead
    and remove the lawn just to be more certain that my
    application will do for me what I want it to do. If
    the tree was mine I would not remove the lawn but
    if I am doing it for someone else then the 2' of lawn
    around the base of the tree is gone.

    The drip line is not necessary if the tree is already being
    watered by sprinklers. Where this tree is located there
    is no need to have both a drip line and sprinklers as the
    tree will get ample water from the sprinklers alone.
    The evapotranspiration at this location is not a real
    concern anyway compared to here. I reserve the right
    to change my mind about the sprinklers and the drip
    line if I could see the layout and know how much water
    is being applied, for how long and how often but Citrus
    in this location do a lot better if they do not get over
    watered as the soil seldom gets warm enough to kill
    off certain root rotting fungi and that is a prevalent
    issue for much of the San Francisco Bay area.

  9. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Denver,Colorado USA
    Thank you. After reading your response, I agree that this citrus tree could be grown in the yard, IF the property owner gave the extra care required for a tree in a landscape situation. However, in this particular case, the property owner has recently aquired the property, and I believe has little or no knowledge concerning the care of citrus. All of my landscape trees have the grass removed from around them and are landscaped using a steel edging ring. However, thankyou for a well thought out reply. - Millet
  10. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Likes Received:
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    One of the problems we have is that we are not told
    everything we need to know about the tree. A new
    homeowner probably is not going to know what
    the history of the tree is, such as how long it has
    been planted in that spot, how much and how often
    it has been fertilized, what insects have invaded in
    the past, so the homeowner sees a tree that may
    not look lush and green and have some concerns
    that the tree is faltering and may die on them.

    All we can do is give some insight into what needs
    to be done now for the tree, so no matter whether
    you and I agree on specifics we are both correct
    in our assessments of this tree today in this landscape.
    How we deal with the current problems is where we
    may differ a little but we are not that far apart either.

    It is a novel idea to use Citrus in landscape plantings
    but out here it has been done, even planted in lawns.
    I've not encountered a wealth of nutrients that I have
    applied to a Fruit & Nut tree or even Citrus that is
    being overly wasted and used up by the lawn. The
    lawn probably will use up some of the nutrients but
    not enough from my experience to overly worry about
    it too much but we do take it into consideration. When
    I apply the granular Citrus food I want to water it in so
    well that most but not all of the fertilizer dissolves.
    It is my way of having the nutrients become watered
    into the soil and then they will work down to where
    they need to go for the plant to later utilize. Cooler
    areas are different than how things can be here for
    nutrient absorption. Here we have the benefit of
    warmer temperatures and warmer soil temperatures
    that can facilitate the breakdown of the nutrients faster
    into the forms that can be readily utilized by the plant.
    In cooler areas the removal of the vegetation near and
    around the base of a landscape tree becomes more
    important than it generally is here. That is not to say
    that we are not better off to also remove the vegetation
    but here we do not have to. I've seen Meyer Lemons
    planted in the front yards of homes in Palo Alto, not
    far from Stanford University that have been in the
    ground for 30 years or longer and the trees look
    pretty good to me. It all comes down how we care
    for the trees as to how well they will do for us and
    how long they will live for us. I felt years ago that
    we could use several Citrus in a landscape but doing
    that requires a little added thought on what we want
    from the tree.

    Now it is up to the homeowner to tell us what he or
    she wants from this tree and then we can work out a
    plan to deal with the trees current situation and for
    that we are going to want your input. I don't have
    all of the answers. I am going to want to know your
    opinion and can use some of your help also.

    Best regards,

  11. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Denver,Colorado USA
    Further, Jim when you said "drip lne" in your third thread, I it took it to mean the surface area from the trunk to the outer edges of the branches. I now see from your latest thread you ment an actual irrigation line that emits water. Additionally, to your diagnosis, I think the tree has been way over watered, especially being October/November in cool San Francisco (BTW my home town,) Take care. - Millet

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