Dying orange tree

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by nanapeej, Dec 7, 2007.

  1. nanapeej

    nanapeej Member

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    Hi,

    I live in Bakersfield, California where if we are lucky we get maybe an light snowfall every 8 years or so. Around 1996 we had a heavy snowfall of 7". Afterwards my orange tree started dying from the top down. It seems every year since it seems to be progressing. The tree was here when I bought the house 27.5 years ago. My question is...do I need to take the tree out and start over, or trim all of the dead branches off and hope for the best??? It is still producing the best oranges I have ever eaten, just not very many. It is also growing shoots from the bottom of the trunk.

    Can someone tell me what I need to do?

    Thanks, Nanapeej
     
  2. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    More info is needed to give you a sound recommendation. A picture would help, but also info on fertilizer type and rates. Do the shoots from the bottom have leaves like the top?

    Skeet
     
  3. nanapeej

    nanapeej Member

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    I'm sorry, I've tried everything...my camera is on the fritz. I put some citrus food spikes around the base of the tree per the instructions on the bag and the tree seemed to get worse. (I picked the food spikes up at Home Depot) Yes the leaves on the shoots at the bottom looked like the leaves on top, all shiny and really green. My tree used to be so full you could not see daylight thru it, now it's almost all bare branches.

    I would appreciate any help you could give.
     
  4. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    Fertilizer spikes are not the best for citrus. You should fertilize with a regular granular fertilizer with trace elements. Something like 888 or 10-10-10.
     
  5. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    I had to leave the last post early. One other reason I asked for pictures was to see if the leaves on the shoots were the same as the top-- to make sure they are not from rootstock below the graft. Look closely at the leaves--do they have the same shape as the top?--is the petiole and the wings on the petiole the same? Are the lower shoots producing fruit the same as the top?

    And back the the fertilizer, a mature citrus tree in the ground can use a pound or 2 of N per year (1 # N =10 # of 10-10-10) spread out over 3-4 applications and covering the area under the tree to 3 to 4 feet from the drip line.

    this site may help-- http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/HS120
     
  6. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years of Activity

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    You give very little information that would enable a person to make an educated summation of your trees problem. You have not advised us concerning the past cultivation and care that the tree has been given over the past years. Citrus trees many times are generally, but often unintentionally, neglected and some are abandoned and allowed to basically shift for themselves. Trees so situated eke out a miserable existence, but they usually manage to survive and sometimes bear good, but scant crops of fruit. Insects and diseases prey upon them, and the tops of the trees USUALLY contain much dead or dying wood. The bringing back into fruitfulness of such trees presents many problems, but if the land is good and the tree is sound in root, trunk, and larger branches, it can be done. Citrus trees are VERY RESPONSIVE to good treatment, and worth while results can be secured, in many cases, in a remarkably short time. Dead and dying wood MUST be pruned out and the heads reduced to such space as will leave only good healthy wood from which new growth may start. Preferably, this pruning out should be performed in the winter. There should be no thought of a crop of fruit in the following season, but full attention should be given ONLY TO BRINGING THE TOP OF THE TREE BACK INTO PROPER SHAPE AND CONDITION. Any moss and lichens, if present, should be cleaned out. Before pruning, a careful study should be made of any diseases and insect pests, and on its completion these should be given proper treatment immediately. Any shrubs, weeds or other brier which might have become established must be cleared away. The fertilizer applications given should be of the same kind and same fertilizer program that would be applied to YOUNG NON-BEARING trees. From this time the tree should be handled the same as a young grove, and usually they can be brought into satisfactory bearing. You should cut away all sucker growth originating from around the bottom of the tree's trunk. Contacting a good arborist would be a wise choice. Good luck to this tree. - Millet
     
  7. nanapeej

    nanapeej Member

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    I will call an arborist out to look at the tree. I think it's going no need more than luck. Thanks to both for all of the useful information!
    nanapeej
     

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