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help with orange tree

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
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by CajunMama on September 03, 2006 03:01 PM
My poor orange tree has struggled for the past 3 years or so. I have yet to get an edible orange off of it, and I'm about ready to chop it down. Every year it produces oranges, but then it seems like something eats at them. I also started to notice that the leaves don't look right. They look as if something is wilting them. I took some pics to see if anyone can help me figure out how to treat my orange tree problem so I can actually eat my oranges.

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the culprit's trail?
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evidence of the culprit?
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curled leaves
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The orange tree is a Satsuma if that helps. Every year this has happened, and the oranges simply rot and fall off the tree before ever reaching ripeness.

Thanx in advance for any help.

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CajunMama
"Sing praises to the Lord..." Psalm 9:11
by Deborah L. on September 03, 2006 04:17 PM
Wow ! I hope you get some responses, because both my lemon and orange tree look just like this.

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by papito on September 05, 2006 08:24 AM
Pictures #3/#4/#5... looks like trails left by citrus leaf miner [clm]. Please check the links below for identification, symptoms and control:

http://www.procicaribe.org/oldproci/citrus_leaf_miner.htm
http://www.saalfelds.freeserve.co.uk/CulturalAdvice/citrusleafminer.htm

Pictures #1/#2...not sure, but maybe citrus canker?
see info at
http://www2.dpi.qld.gov.au/health/3965.html

I suggest you wait for Longy's opinion.

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Amor est vitae essentia.
Love is the essence of life.
by CajunMama on September 06, 2006 10:18 AM
papito,

Thank you for the advice. I do believe I have the citrus leaf miner. But I'm not too sure the fruit has the citrus canker. But, like you, I'm not too sure either.

Do you know what I can use to get rid of it? I saw on the website that you posted the other person used a commercial insecticide called Dynamek (?). Can I get that at a local feed store or nursery? If not, where can I get commercial grade insecticide? Thanks for the help.

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CajunMama
"Sing praises to the Lord..." Psalm 9:11
by SNOWWOLF on September 07, 2006 01:57 AM
Wish I could help,I was born and raised in Florida and have been around citrus trees most of my life. Citrus often have multiple problems though so dont discount the suggestion that you have leaf miners and fruit canker.
by CajunMama on September 07, 2006 07:03 AM
thanx snowwolf,

I do believe it is the citrus leaf miners, and I'm more and more convinced that it might be citrus canker on the fruits. yuck. I just want to eat my poor oranges... [tears]

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CajunMama
"Sing praises to the Lord..." Psalm 9:11
by 'Sparagus on September 07, 2006 07:26 AM
Hi! I have a citrus tree I started from a seed about 14 years ago....my pride and joy! It doesnt produce fruit, but it did have the problem with the curling leaves. I used a Miracle Grow fertilizer for Rhododendrons (I may have gotten that tip here!) and have never had the problem since. It's in a pot...(obviously, Im in PA!) and I only gave it the fertilizer once, almost a year ago, before I brought it in for the winter. Worked great!
by Longy on September 07, 2006 05:02 PM
Definitely leaf miner. However, the damage they do is really only to make the leaves look a bit weird. It doesn't actually cause harm to the tree. It can be prevented by spraying with a pestoil when new growth emerges. Don't do this on hot days or the leaves will burn.

I reckon the problem with the markings on the fruit is just a symptom and can be helped by a basic need which i'll bet you aren't providing....

So, citrus will drop their fruit mainly because of a change in moisture availability. If it's very dry and you get rain, the fruit will drop. If it's been nice and wet then the summer gets super hot and no rain. The fruit will drop. The trees stress with these sudden variations.

I think the answer is actually in your fotos.
I see there is grass underneath the canopy. If this is the case, then therein lies your problem.
Grass and citrus need the same things. They both require the near surface nutrient. They both have shallow root systems and so they are in direct copmpetition with each other.

My suggestion is to mulch your trees out to the dripline. At least. A little further is great. You need to get rid of that grass under the canopy. It's stealing all the nutrient and also the soil temps are way too variable because they have no protection. This can be done by simply mowing the grass short, spreading chicken manure pellets, blood and bone meal, citrus fert, whatever your fert of choice. Covering it with newspaper or cardboard and burying the lot under 8" or so of well aged mulch. Then water it really well. Fertilise regularly thru the growing season and maintain a constant soil moisture and the next crop will be yours.

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The secret is the soil.
by CajunMama on September 14, 2006 06:30 AM
Oh, thank you sooooooooooooo much Longy! I've never had citrus trees before, and my hubby bought the tree as a Mother's Day gift years ago. But we've never been able to eat the fruit. I'm going to take the grass out and fert and mulch the area and see if that is all that I need to do. I didn't know citrus trees got stressed...that's good to know.

Again, thanx so very much!

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CajunMama
"Sing praises to the Lord..." Psalm 9:11
by Longy on September 14, 2006 11:00 AM
"I'm going to take the grass out and fert and mulch the area and see if that is all that I need to do"
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If you are going to actually remove the grass, be very careful of the tree roots. They are near the surface. Consider using the method i outlined above. Just burying the grass under fert and mulch. Far less work and it will leave the rootsystem undamaged.

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The secret is the soil.
by njoynit on September 16, 2006 10:53 AM
I can attest to haveing proper moisture makeng a differance.My tree doubled this year.I water it 15 minutes a day.I did get some leaf damage earlier in season but the new growth has been great&I've had alot better crop of kumquats this year.I didn't get a satsuma this year cause none of the feed stores got any in.

I sprayed with neem oil.I did 3 treatments about 10 days apart.My lemon tree still ain't done squat.Its foliage has been wonderful this year.No soot!Guess that wack with the 2x4 didn't work afterall. [dunno]
also for our area later in season if the neem is needed with our heat.its better in the evening& also after a rain cause the rain sometimes drops the temps.sun on wet neem can burn foliage.

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I will age ungracefully until I become an old woman in a small garden..doing whatever the Hell I want!

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by CajunMama on September 17, 2006 09:55 AM
Longy,
I will definitely just add the mulch/fert on top of the grass as you mentioned how to do. I have noticed that I can see some of the roots exposed at the surface, so I will have to add mulch and not just take the grass away. Again, thank you.

njoynit,
I didn't know about the "spanking" with a 2x4 with citrus trees. I've heard of using it with pecan trees, (and boy does it work with pecan trees!) but I've never heard of "spanking" a citrus tree. Curious. What is neem oil? I've not heard of it before. What is it used for, what does it do, and where do I get it? Thanx!

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CajunMama
"Sing praises to the Lord..." Psalm 9:11
by art on September 24, 2006 08:43 AM
CajunMama
several gardeners have given you correct answers.but here is one with all the info plus pictures.there is no doubt,you have the leafminer.
try the site below.
Good luck

http://primera.tamu.edu/kcchome/webpages/citruspests.htm

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art

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