A couple of Navel Orange tree questions

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by Ray from PA, Jan 31, 2007.

  1. Ray from PA

    Ray from PA Active Member

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    Feasterville, PA, USA Zone 6b
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    Hi, I've been coming here for a while but this is my first time posting. I really love this forum though.

    Anyway, I bought a Navel Orange tree at Lowes in May. I figure it was a year or two old, since it was 8 to 10 inches high and fairly bushy. I brought it home and repotted it into a 10 inch clay container, and used 1 part standard Miracle Grow soil mixed with 1 part Vermiculite and 1 part Perlite. About three months after I repotted it it got some flowers and small oranges, then they all fell off. Then it started dropping leaves and had no new growth, until it was down to 14 leaves on three branches, which is where it's at now. Right after New Years I found some Miracle Grow Citrus and Palm soil, so I repotted it and it almost immediately got it's first new growth in 5 months. I was happy to see this but it turns out it's not leaves, it's flowers, and it's only three buds at the top of one branch. It's indoors in the winter and gets about 5 hours of direct sunlight per day, and I let it dry between waterings. Since I just repotted it I haven't fertilized, I figure I will hold off on that until mid February, but I plan on using 30-10-10 Azalea fertilizer with micronutrients which is what I use on my 6 year old Lemon tree.

    My question is, how do I encourage leaf growth instead of buds, and is there anything else I should do to encourage new growth on the other two branches? I would hate to lose this tree, it's a nice companion to my Lemon tree.
     
  2. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    Hi Ray,
    Your tree is blooming due to the stress it has experienced. I would not fertilize it until it has put out new leaves which will follow the bloom. Get a thermometer you can put in the soil and check soil temp-- if it is less than 60F do not expose it to direct sun (soil temp is not the same as room temp).

    Skeet
     
  3. Ray from PA

    Ray from PA Active Member

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    Wow Skeeter, thanks for the quick reply. I don't have a thermometer but I will try and pick one up. I guess the stress was from using the wrong soil?
     
  4. Ray from PA

    Ray from PA Active Member

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    Ok, now all of the new buds have fallen off, including the new stem they were on. The old leaves are still firmly attached, but for some reason I just can't seem to keep any new growth on this tree. Has anyone heard of or used the Miracle Grow Citrus and Palm soil? I'm thinking maybe I should even supplement that with some perlite...
     
  5. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    Ray, I still think your problem could be cold roots-- take it out of direct sun until you get a thermometer. If you are letting it dry between waterings and since you have recently repotted it is not likely root rot.

    Skeet
     
  6. Laaz

    Laaz Active Member

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    Most Miracle grow soils have slow release fertilizer in them. This may be why your tree started to flush. Skeeter is correct, keep the soil temp up. Also the tree will respond differently depending on what rootstock it is grafted to.
     
  7. Ray from PA

    Ray from PA Active Member

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    Skeeterbug, I still haven't been able to pick up a thermometer, but I have taken it out of the sun. I don't have my Christmas lights handy so what I've been doing is keeping it in the path of the heat duct at night and giving it some sun during the day. It seems to be ok, although a few days ago a couple of the old leaves fell off, so now it's down to 12 leaves and 2 branches.

    I've never had this problem with my lemon tree, which never loses leaves. Are Navel Orange trees just extremely sensitive?
     
  8. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    I do not know about any differences in sensitivity to the cold root scenario, but lemons are generally a little more cold tolerant than oranges.

    Skeet
     
  9. loren1

    loren1 Member

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    Make sure you're not giving it too much water. Navel trees are kinda sensitive to how much water they get. Don't know how well your tree will do in PA. I know they need warm sunshine and are very suseptible to frost. I know if your buds are falling off it sounds alot to me like too much water.

    Good luck to you and yours
    Dick
     

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