Indoor easy peel clementine

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by mariestlouis, Mar 30, 2021.

  1. mariestlouis

    mariestlouis New Member

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    My indoor easy peel clementine keeps losing leaves.
    - I am new to growing citrus
    - tree purchased online in December
    - initially I was underwater and not letting water flow out the holes, leaves dropped
    - I changed to watering thoroughly and it did fantastic after the first big water- no lost leaves, tons of new leaves
    - then some of the tiny new leaves started turning brown. It had been 3 weeks since I watered, so I watered deeply again and gave it some citrus fertilizer at the same time
    - now it is losing leaves again- mostly the deep green older leaves. Also losing some flower buds

    I’m not sure what to do. I am also not sure if my lowest branch is a sucker that needs to be removed? It has thorns but none of the rest of the tree does.

    help!

    Other growing conditions;
    South facing window
    Soil for citrus/cactus
    4 holes drilled in bottom of pot and pot up on rocks so lifted off drainage pot
     

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  2. Will B

    Will B Active Member

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    There are many reasons citrus can lose leaves. I tried to list the major ones in my notes here: Problems and Treatments | Aprici ... based on your photos my guess is the plant is getting ready for new growth and possibly deficient on a few micronutrients so it is dropping leaves as it pulls the nutrients back for the new leaves. From the dropping leaves it seems that it may be deficient in iron, and possibly calcium. Iron deficiency can be easily corrected with a fertilizer that is high in iron, or an iron chelate. Calcium can be easily corrected with a bit of gypsum.

    One more observation, it may be slightly deficient in Boron. Boron deficiency results in the raised veins that will turn a bit rough or "corky". Boron deficiency can be easily corrected with Borax, but be careful not to add too much as it can be toxic to the plant. Tiny amount will do.

    One last observation, there are some white dots that I cannot quite identify. Be sure to look really close to see if the plant has spider mites. They are very small and hard to spot.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2021
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  3. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I suggest you switch to using a high-nitrogen fertilizer which contains a complete complement of micronutrients if you are not already doing so. If the tree is indeed somewhat deficient in some elements, then the use of such a product will resolve any deficiency over time. Some of the younger growth in the photos are light green with darker veins. That does not necessarily mean there is a deficiency; the leaves should look more normal as they develop.

    Do check for pests but some of the white substance on the leaves appears to be residue from foliar sprays of fertilizer and/or pesticides applied by the grower. The new growth is clean so there may not be a pest problem.

    There appears to be a graft just above the thorny growth (as seen in the last photo). Any growth below that line would be from the rootstock and should be removed.

    Some of the leaf drop could be normal shedding of old leaves; the ones in the second photo have that appearance. Notice most the leaves lost are from the long sections of stem which do not have branches. Normally they are the first leaves to be dropped. Not sure but there also appears to be new growth at the nodes along these stems. So perhaps the situation is not all that dire. You may want to consider placing the tree outside during the warmer months.
     
  4. Will B

    Will B Active Member

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    Good point, it is a good start, but I have yet to find a fertilizer that is complete in all the known required micronutrients for citrus. Most are missing calcium. Some miss manganese, boron, etc. Some have insufficient zinc, particularly for kumquats. If using soil that is rich in calcium and other micronutrients it may not matter, but soilless mixes are often deficient. If you really want to dig into it the following pages are an excellent resource on known required nutrients: Citrus Tree Nutrient series
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2021
  5. mariestlouis

    mariestlouis New Member

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    Thank you so much! I have been using Jobe’s citrus granular plant food. I compared the label to the miracleGro citrus food and miracle gro seems better, so sounds like I need to switch!
     
  6. mariestlouis

    mariestlouis New Member

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    It’s me again. The newbie with the easy peel clementine. A couple more questions about monitoring the soil with a meter.
    1) is there a certain pH the soil should be? My soil meter says it’s soil is more alkaline (pH 7-8)
    2) I watered it about 2.5 weeks ago and my moisture meter is still reading “wet” (9 out of 10) when I stick the probe deep. If it is shallow (like 1”) then it reads dry (reading 1-2 out of 10). Is this ok?. I have it in a plastic pot with 4 holes about half and inch each drilled in bottom. And I used citrus/cactus soil.

    The tree lost another 6 leaves today. I am not sure how to fertilize bc it would require watering and it seems quite wet still.
     

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  7. Will B

    Will B Active Member

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    That certainly looks too wet to water again yet. Keep in mind most meters are not very accurate and not worth bothering with. If someone knows of a good accurate pH and moisture meter I would be very interested to hear about it. For moisture I generally look at weight and feel about 1/2 inch below the surface of the soil. For pH I try to figure things out based on the soil mix, but always an educated guess. Most soilless mixes will be low pH unless you have added something like lime or you have alkaline water in your area.
     
  8. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I agree with not using the meters and second the use of the container's weight to judge the amount of moisture in the soil. If the soil is dry at the top but still wet at the bottom, then the soil mixture needs to be more porous. I don't think the pH is a concern unless it is at the extremes. Also, a high-nitrogen fertilizer will have an acidifying effect.

    I wonder if the tree is in the process of re-balancing itself; notice the lush new growth in it's lower portion. I don't think the problem is from a lack of nutrients therefore fertilizing is not a priority. I'd be tempted to remove a large portion of the two main stems, leaving short stubs above the point where they branch. Are there signs of new growth at nodes along these long stems?
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2021
  9. mariestlouis

    mariestlouis New Member

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    There is some growth on the top portion of the right long stem. The left one does not have new leaves but it has a small ball where I think there was a flower and I thought it might be a baby clementine?



     

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  10. mariestlouis

    mariestlouis New Member

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    the pot feels quite heavy. The soil at the top (half an inch down) is very dry but a few inches deeper is very wet. Should I report the plant in different soil? I used miracle gro citrus/cactus soil. Should I put it in a different pot? Perhaps a terracotta pot that might dry out more quickly? It is in a plastic pot right now, with 4 half inch holes drilled in bottom.


     
  11. mariestlouis

    mariestlouis New Member

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    What about these leaves on the lush new growing? Is it normal for them to curl like this?
     

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  12. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    It sounds like the soil is too dense. Houseplant potting soil is typically a mix of mostly peat along with some perlite and sand. This can be amended with small bark chips, calcined clay (e.g. Turface), and more perlite to increase its porosity. The medium should be such that it retains moisture and yet is quick to drain. A terracotta pot will dry the soil more quickly but adds extra weight. By the way, is the current container the right size? In should accommodate the root ball with an inch or so of extra space around it to spare. An over-sized pot will result in unhealthy soil conditions in which there are areas with uneven moisture levels.

    The new leaves look normal to me.
     

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