Citrus leaf curl, drop - no aphids - diabolical - help!

Discussion in 'Fruit and Nut Trees' started by tj0007, Apr 19, 2018.

  1. tj0007

    tj0007 New Member

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    Melbourne, Australia

    Problem: Leaves curling, curl becoming increasingly pronounced and gradually affecting entire tree.
    Small blood orange tree does not have any discolouration or lightening of leaves. Larger tahitian lime does have lightening of leaves but no mottling, no unevenness, no webbing. No evidence of pests such as aphids on either tree. No evidence of root rot at base of either tree.

    Blood orange planted late last year, mid summer. Tahitian lime planed towards the end of summer.
    Soil is nice and loamy, reasonably sandy, doesn't become clay until you dig at least a foot down. Both trees planted into a slightly raised mound and not sunk into the ground. Not heavily mulched. Ground was well prepared first ie dug up, loosened.

    Soil has been ph tested and no problem identified.

    Diabolically, my research tells me that curling leaves in the absence of pests can mean either / or too much water or not enough (I wanted to scream when I read this).

    Lost one lemon tree last year and this was evidently due to over watering, judging by the state of the roots by the end and how relatively quickly the leaves dropped. I was definitely watering that one a lot without knowing better at the time.

    Hence, in my subsequent paranoia I have definitely been a lot more careful with watering. I always poke my finger into the ground before even considering watering these things now, and I am confident that consistently the soil has not been watered to the point of being more than dark and damp once you get an inch or two down.

    Now it's getting into the wet time of year and we had a lot of rain a couple weeks back. It's generally damp in the mornings. I had hoped these guys would "normalise" but they are still shrivelling more and more each day.

    Previously I also tried letting the ground dry out to the point of looking too dry. No change. Basically I have tried under-watering as well - I can't seem to win no matter what I do.

    Early on when first noted symptoms, I tried watering in some epsom salts (researched, I do not believe I watered in too much - I was conservative). Also used some citrus fertiliser. All to no avail.

    This is truly diabolical - the more I read about it, the more contradictions I find and it's driving me insane.

    I would dearly appreciate any sensible advice from anyone with experience with this problem.

    Thanks for reading!

    Ben

    PS why will this form not allow me to use the tag "leaf curl"? ("you may not create new tags" - er... so "leaf curl" isn't something people might want to find advice about?)
     

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  2. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I can't answer your real question, but I did add the tag "leaf curl" for you. Are you saying it let you add the "citrus" tag, but not the "leaf curl" tag? Or it figured out the citrus tag and you could not add any tag? If that, it might be because you are a new member. Welcome anyway. I hope you get your answer. You've certainly described it well, and with good photos too.
     
  3. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    A couple documents that may be helpful:
    This is less likely to be the cause since you've tested the soil pH and found nothing unusual.
     
  4. tj0007

    tj0007 New Member

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    Correct, that's what happened..

    Thanks, hope someone can help!
     
  5. tj0007

    tj0007 New Member

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    Bump.... one of them is almost dead :(
     
  6. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Have you considered transplanting them to containers to see if they'll recover?
     
  7. tj0007

    tj0007 New Member

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    Thanks for the suggestion. I have not considered this, having not thought of it... but whilst this may somehow save the trees in the short term, there would be little point for me unless I can establish the cause of the problem when they are planted in the ground, which is where I want them. In the absence of soil acidity / salinity issues, and knowing they are not pest-afflicted, as well as no clear evidence that I am over or under watering (although fundamentally this could be the cause - the impossibility being that leaf curl is a symptom which can reflect either of these problems, thus creating confusion and despair), my quest is to understand what has actually gone wrong, and I'm not convinced that transplanting to pots will help me do this...
     
  8. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Transplanting would serve two purposes. Firstly it would allow the trees to recover so that you can try to grow them again in-ground and secondly it would show that they can be grown successfully using the selected soil in that environment. Sometimes it comes down to eliminating the possible causes. Just an idea.
     
  9. tj0007

    tj0007 New Member

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    That sounds pretty logical, and I'm going to think about it - so thankyou!
     

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