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How to stop orange tree new growth dying off?

Willis
Getting Established

How to stop orange tree new growth dying off?

Hello,

my orange citrus new growth is dying off and there is leaf damage and curl. About 6 months ago I got a huge die off of the leaves but it recovered. Now the new

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flush growth is doing this

JacobZ
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: Orange tree new growth dying off and unhealthy leaves

Hi @Willis,

 

Many thanks for your post and welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community, it is great to have you join us.

 

Did anything change 6 months ago when you had the die-off? Maybe you altered your watering schedule, or tried out a new fertilizer? 

 

Has anything changed recently that may have put added stress on the plant? Maybe heavy rainfall, or abnormally cold weather?

 

Do you see any pests or insects? Is the soil draining well, or does the tree sit sodden for a long time?

 

You might like to have a look through How to diagnose a sick plant for some guidance on what else to look for as potential causes of the problem.

 

It's hard to say exactly what the issue might be, but I'd suggest a simple place to start is by pruning the dead growth to ensure the nutrients are reaching the parts of the tree where they are best put to use. 

 

Once pruned, you should inspect the plant to see if there are any noticeable pests. If there are, you might like to take some photos so our helpful members can direct you towards a suitable solution to remove them.

 

You should then inspect the soil. If you find that it is sodden and you haven't watered it recently, drainage might be the issue. This can be helped by adding Richgro 15kg Natural Gypsum Clay Breaker to break up clay and compost such as Osmocote 25L Scotts Compost Premium Soil Improver to promote microbial growth and earthworms.

 

You might also find some benefit in reading through How to Grow, Prune And Care For An Orange Tree.

 

Allow me to tag some of our helpful community members who might be able to assist, @Noelle, @Dave-1, @mich1972.

 

Let me know if you have any further questions.

 

Jacob

 

Dave-1
Home Improvement Guru

Re: Orange tree new growth dying off and unhealthy leaves

Evening @Willis 

Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop Community pages :smile: There are a fair few members that have a bunch of knowledge on fruit trees and orange trees in here so hopefully they will be able to help you narrow down what has caused the issue.

 

Depending on where you are could the amount of water we have had fall on The East Coast of Aus be causing the roots to become waterlogged and drown the orange tree? The only thing that I can add to @JacobZ's suggestion is "Have your neighbours planted/dug up/put in place anything new in the past six months?

 

Dave

Willis
Getting Established

Re: Orange tree new growth dying off and unhealthy leaves

Thanks for the response @Dave-1

my soil is generally heavy clay so it is very possible. I am usually careful with watering. Would just the new growth die off with overwatering or the whole tree? The old growth is quite healthy at the moment but I will keep and eye on it.

Dave-1
Home Improvement Guru

Re: Orange tree new growth dying off and unhealthy leaves

Morning @Willis 

I have a bad habbit of overwatering my plants. The new growth could die off as it isnt as hardy as yet and also may not like it if you have had chilled nights/winds? I would keep an eye on it bfor sure. I have had a coffee tree loose most of its leaves until I put in a windbreak and its taken a couple of years befor ethe elaves look happy again.

 

Dave

Jason
Community Manager
Community Manager

Re: Orange tree new growth dying off and unhealthy leaves

Hi @Willis,

 

The heavy clay sounds like a bit of a concern. Can you please tell us how you went about planting this tree? I wonder whether you might have inadvertently created a clay sump and the tree is struggling because it has constantly "wet feet".

 

Have a look at the advice from @Noelle here - How to get rid of water in clay soil. "You could also consider planting on mounds rather than creating a whole raised bed. Trees like citrus that hate wet feet will often do well when a planting mound is built on top of the existing soil and the tree planted into the mound. This works when you want to keep your grassed area but still have trees - you don't need to convert the entire area into raised garden beds. A valuable lesson has been learned - don't dig into heavy clay soils to make planting holes because you are effectively creating a drainage sump or pit."

 

Jason

  

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Willis
Getting Established

Re: Orange tree new growth dying off and unhealthy leaves

I dug a hole over twice the size of the pot and about 1 1/2 the depth of the pot. Filled with water and watched it drain.. about 1/2 hour. I then filled the whole with potting soil and plant and watered again. Die off 6 months ago could perhaps be attributed to transplant shock but the it regrew healthy. I have had an issue with an adjacent lemon tree with scale and treated it accordingly with peat oil.. gave this orange tree a dose for good measure because it was close. All done in mild weather. Since I have been periodically spraying leaves with Neem oil and everything that looks like it needs it gets a dose of Yates trace elements every few weeks or so. Because of my clay soil I keep and eye on my watering.

MitchellMc
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: How to stop orange tree new growth dying off?

Hi @Willis,

 

It could be a pest or animal cropping all that new growth rather than an issue with the plant. It's all very uniform, with just the growing tips and top leaves being removed. If this were an issue with the plant, I would expect to see those lower leaves starting to look unhealthy too. I'd be keen to hear @Noelle's thoughts, as this isn't something I've come across before.

 

You might want to ease off on those trace elements and switch to just fertilising with a slow-release fertiliser. Trace elements aren't typically applied spontaneously, as it's hard to determine whether a plant actually needs them and whether you're applying too much.

 

Mitchell

 

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Re: How to stop orange tree new growth dying off?

Hi @Willis 

The withering and dieback of the growth tips could be pest or animal damage, as Mitchell suggests, or exposure to cold. Soft new growth on citrus is especially susceptible to cold temperatures and frosts, which is why pruning or planting should be postponed until the weather warms in mid spring.

If your tree produced a lot of this soft growth in autumn after pruning off previous damage, it would not have had a chance to harden off before winter set in, so chances are it is temperature-related. Avoid pruning again until around October.

I agree with Mitchell re trace elements - your tree will do better if you apply a slow or controlled release citrus food once every six months - in early spring and again in late summer. It should do just fine. If the mature leaves show signs of yellowing, then maybe a 'dose' of Epsom Salts (magnesium sulphate) will fix it - yellowing is often a symptom of a magnesium deficiency.

Willis
Getting Established

Re: How to stop orange tree new growth dying off?

Very solid advice which makes sense.. thank you. Suspect it is a pest as I can see leaf track damage. I will wait and see regarding new growth and cut back on any strong treatment or supplement. I will add a decent citrus fertiliser and continue to monitor my watering. Maybe some neem oil which is not an aggressive pest control in my mind. Let me know :smile:

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