Calamondin help needed

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by Crimson&clover, Apr 24, 2020.

  1. Crimson&clover

    Crimson&clover New Member

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    Hi
    My friend got stuck away from home due to covid 19 restrictions & before she sent her key for me to care for her plant, the tree went for about 2 weeks with no water. When I went to get her, she was full of small fruit. More than I’d ever seen. Her leaves were droopy. I brought her home & gave her a good bit of water, enough to have it drain through and I put the recommended amount of a mild worm casing food on the water. this was on April 7- ive attached pics from that day.
    The leaves did not perk up as I expected and I gave it a little more water & sprayed its leaves a few days in a row.
    she is in a window with a decent amount of indirect light but it’s not as much as she was getting at my friends house.
    Shortly thereafter her leaves started to curl inwards & they are getting crispier by the day. I’ve read a lot of posts and worried about overwatering & root rot so I slid the plant on her side and was horrified that the root ball came out and revealed a lot of moist clumped soil in the bottom, separate from the roots. I don’t have supplies so I mixed the dry soil from the top of the plant in with what was stuck in the bottom & mixed it & reset the tree back in. I removed the clay saucer & have been trying to just let it be as someone suggested it was just in shock from the move & then the underwatering followed by overwatering.
    The leaves really look terrible now & I fear for her life. Any advice??? I’d hate to kill my friends plant !
     

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  2. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Welcome to the forums.

    The tree didn't look that bad in early April. At that time, even though it was watered, perhaps the medium was dry to the point where it could not easily absorb the water, thus allowing it to simply drain through.

    When the root ball was exposed, did you check on the condition of the roots? Were they still firm, with creamy-white tips? Was the soil at the bottom moist or was it dripping wet? How much moisture was in the actual root ball? The soil in the latest photos appears to be quite dry. It should moist but not wet. Dig down a few inches and see how much moisture there is. It will have to be rehydrated if it is still dry.

    The leaves that are crisp are beyond recovery. Remove any fruit that remain. Misting has little effect in raising humidity so I wouldn't bother. There's still life in the tree if the stems are still green.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2020
  3. Crimson&clover

    Crimson&clover New Member

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    Thank you for replying!
    When I looked at the root ball i didn’t see any black or mushy roots. The roots looked a lot like the ones are visible at the top of the plant. They seemed dry and dense and I felt like I saw some that were broken off in the soil at the bottom. The soil that remained in the pot was not soaking wet but it was wet enough to stick in the pot on the sides & bottom. I keep feeling like it needs water but I read on here that so much of the problem is overwatering.
    I removed the fruit & they are a little soft. Even the crunchy leaves are holding on tight & dont come off easily. I put a small amount of water slowly into the plant near the stem this morning & it ran towards the sides of the pot. I went more slowly & tried to massage the top to let the water get into the root ball rather than around it. I do think the watering I have given it is different that what it’s used to. I’m pretty sure she did a smaller amount more often & slower. I did a larger amount but just poured it in a im used to doing with my orchids. I’m uploading a few pics of the leaves that are not curled up- they don’t look good- so different than in early April. There is still green in the stems. I’ve read a lot about reporting in a better medium but am not sure what is going to be available widely at this time and I fear for continuing to stress her.
     
  4. Crimson&clover

    Crimson&clover New Member

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    Here are some pics. A better description of fruit is “spongy”
     

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  5. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    The roots appear to be in good shape. I think the most important thing at this point is to make sure the soil is rehydrated properly. Here's an article describing how that can be done: Watering Hydrophobic Soil. The tree can be exposed to more light once that is done.

    Citrus trees prefer to be planted in a porous medium. With such a medium, the tree can be watered thoroughly until water runs out the bottom which is then allowed to dry out somewhat before watering again. I'm not sure repotting is a good idea at this time as the root disturbance would create more stress for the plant.
     
  6. Crimson&clover

    Crimson&clover New Member

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    Ok I submerged her in water. it was a little nerve racking as I thought I overwatered... the pot did float but no bubbles at all.
    then when I lifted a lot of soil cane out the hole in the bottom. I held her in water but not all the way as I didn’t want the water to rush into the pot (perhaps I filled container too high)?
    I’m letting water drip out now into a bucket.
    Any thoughts on what I should see happen tomorrow if this went well? Thank you so much for the advice!
     

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  7. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Perhaps that's why you didn't see any bubbles come up. The fact that the container floated suggests there's still quite a bit of air in the medium. I suggest you try it again but submerge the container completely this time and do it slowly so that the soil won't be disturbed by the incoming water. Get a feel for the weight of it before and after as a gauge for how much water was absorbed. I would probe the soil afterward with a chopstick to confirm that the root ball has been rehydrated. The moisture should be evenly distributed through out otherwise you'll end up with dead zones.

    There may not be a noticeable change in the tree's look after the operation as most of the leaves that are left are likely too far gone. However as long as the stem remains alive there's a chance it'll make a come back by sending out new growth.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2020
  8. Crimson&clover

    Crimson&clover New Member

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    Thanks! I was hesitant to do that last night as I wondered if there would be a drainage issue. There’s only one central hole in the pot. I believe that she never was Vienna’s much water at once as I gave her back in early April the water drained out onto the saucer & beyond but I didn’t pick up so perhaps that’s why all that side & bottom dirt was so moist/caked. I slowly ran some water through the top of the plant last night after the bath & none drained out. Do you still think I should resubmerge?
     
  9. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    If it wouldn't be too difficult to do at this time, ease the root ball out of the container again and look to see if it's evenly moist throughout. If it is, then it's good to go. Make sure the soil at the bottom isn't overly wet before doing so. If the aforementioned cannot be done then I suggest you resubmerge. In either case make sure the drainage hole isn't blocked.
     
  10. Crimson&clover

    Crimson&clover New Member

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    Looks like there was a strange autocorrect- Vienna’s instead of “given” in post above. Also, Would you recommend pruning back the tree or just wait & see?
     
  11. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I would take the 'wait and see' approach. I don't see any dead stems in the photos but the tree may experience some dieback. If so, remove dead stems by cutting into healthy wood just above a node.

    Now that the tree has virtually no functioning leaves to transpire moisture it will have a much reduced need for water; keep the medium slightly moist, only enough water to keep it alive. Also refrain from feeding it until after it starts to develop new growth and then only at half-strength.
     
  12. Crimson&clover

    Crimson&clover New Member

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    The leaves that weren’t crispy are definitely much happier today! Here’s a few pics. I’ll try & slide the root ball out in the morning when I’ll have more light. Wow it’s amazing to see them perk up.
     
  13. Crimson&clover

    Crimson&clover New Member

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    Do you think it should pull the crispy leaves off or just let them fall? Really appreciate your help!
     

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  14. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Let the plant decide which of its leaves it'll keep. There are still fruitlets on the tree; remove them too. The soil appears to be still dry, at least on top.
     
  15. Crimson&clover

    Crimson&clover New Member

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    Hi!
    I’ve removed the fruitlets and gave it a second bath. It definitely seems to have some more life. Leaves are falling off a little at a time. Is there anything else I can do to support this tree?
    should I trim those small dead stems? I did find this little worm in the dirt. Does that look like a problem?

    Should I Put her outside? Prune her back or leave the plant be for now?
    Thank you!
     

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  16. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    The odd centipede or millipede is nothing to worry about. Yes, dead stems can be removed as they appear. I can see darker areas in the soil indicating more moisture but there's still one patch that seems rather dry. Did you reinspect the root ball and if so, how did it look? There still appears to be a dry patch on the top.

    As long as you are certain the root ball is thoroughly and evenly moist you can expose the tree to more light. Give it as much light as possible, behind a window with a southern exposure if indoors. It can be placed outdoors if temperatures allow for it but be aware that it then is open to infestation from pests such as scale and aphids.

    The tree can be pruned to reshape it but I think it would be better to wait until the tree shows significant signs of recovery before doing so.
     
  17. Crimson&clover

    Crimson&clover New Member

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    Well, the plant is shedding the dead leaves. I’m thankful for the very few that seem to have been able to hang in there. What would signs of recovery look like? And when could I expect to see them?
     

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  18. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    New growth will emerge from the stems. When that occurs will depend on the energy stores left in the plant. The few remaining leaves will help. Please continue to report on its progress.
     
  19. Crimson&clover

    Crimson&clover New Member

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    So sad- it looks like even the leaves that I thought made it are now dying. Brown at the tips & spreading. So discouraging. Anything I can do to make this plant happier?
    If all the leaves go, will the tree die?
    Thank you for caring about this plant!
     

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  20. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    There's not much you can do but wait at this point. Don't worry about the loss of leaves; it's a bonus if any of them survive. It's encouraging to see that the stems are still green and that there has been no significant dieback.
     
  21. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I imagine you should be seeing new growth in 10 days or so. That's about how long it took for my lemon tree to bud after I recently stumped it.
     
  22. Crimson&clover

    Crimson&clover New Member

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    Is this new growth?
     

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  23. Crimson&clover

    Crimson&clover New Member

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    Here’s a few more images.
     

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  24. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    It's new growth but not the kind I was hoping for. Withholding water is a means of stressing the plant in order to elicit the development of flower buds so perhaps this is the result of that. Is there no new vegetative (leafy) growth at all?
     
  25. Crimson&clover

    Crimson&clover New Member

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    Not that I can see, so far. Lots of the small growths I showed earlier. Here’s more views. I still see creeping brown edges on remaining leaves
     

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