sick crosspolinated fruit trees

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by alkvinia kaye, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. alkvinia kaye

    alkvinia kaye Member

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    We purchased this home nearly 2yrs ago in March. It was vacant and the trees did not get watered properly. I watered and ferterlized and added iornite for yellowing leaves and pruned the trees. We have fruit this yr but the lemon tree cross polinated with the orange and grapefruit trees. I started with stakes and then went to granule fertlizer. Our grapefruit trees have yellow leaves and the lemon tree has no fruit and loss some of its leaves, and others are yellow. We have an orange tree that has wonderful sweet oranges and it also has sour lemon shaped or tasting fruit on the same tree. We also have a white grapefruit tree that has bumpy fruit on it this year. Have a orange tree with bumpy fruit and bitter and sour. First what do I need to do to make these trees healthy? Secondly how do I stop the crosspolination? We were told to twist the oranges off the trees which we picked today. We were told the grapefruit and lemon trees and lime trees would be ready the end of Feb. Can anyone help? I watered twice a week for 3 hours a time
     
  2. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    The cross pollination between your lemon, orange and grapefruit tree has NO effect at all with the taste of any of the fruit - NONE. Further, yellowing of citrus leaves, can result from a deficiency for many elements. It is unwise to apply nutrients in the hope of correcting a problem, until the problem has first been identified and correctly known. Ironite is a form of iron that I would not use. Without knowing the history of your trees, it would be difficult to give any sound advice, but a good guess as to the problem with the fruit is the past care that the poor tree has received. Citrus trees growing in your area should be fertilizer three times during the season. Grapefruit, become sweeter the longer they remain on the tree. February would be the earliest I would pick them, March or early April would be much better. Lastly, pruning of citrus trees is rarely or never done, except to remove dead wood, water sprouts, or in the case where the same aerial space is occupied by two or more branches. Millet
     
  3. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    I wonder if some of what you're seeing is the result of rootstock growth, particularly the orange tree with the two different types of fruit. You may want to check for growth originating from below the graft line and to remove it if found.
     
  4. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    I think Junglekeeper is right-- look for a difference in the leaves, many rootstocks have leaves with 3 lobes but some don't--you can also follow the branches with the sour tasting fruit to the base of the tree, you should cut those branches off at the base of the tree unless you want to get into grafting.

    Skeet
     
  5. alkvinia kaye

    alkvinia kaye Member

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    I Thank each of you for your advise. Wish I had discovered this site prior to picking the oranges. I will ck the branches and leafs tommorrow. Most all the trunks are 2' to 4' in diamater. This property had been abandoned for 4 yrs prior to our buying it. We hired a mexican to trim the trees as everything was very overgrown. All the fruit trees had suckers on them. He trimned them off and then I purchased tree paint for all the fruit tree trunks. Lowes and Home Depot sold me fertilizer. Lowes said they didnt think the stakes worked well and I should use grandule. At first they said I was overwatering. I wasnt -so they then said I needed to apply iorniate which I did. The yr we purchased the property the fruit was ready when we went home in march. we had wonderful white and red grapefruit without the trees getting any attention. We trimned fertlized and watered these 15 and 25' trees. Last year we had no fruit, just dried black balls on the grapefruit trees. This yr everything has fruit but the white grapefruit trees fruit is all bumpy. Is it time to fertlize again? I think Feb is when I should do it. We are from Iowa and I was a master gardener there and even won city contests with my landscaping. Im lost here in the desert and have purchased many books and I am still learning and trying. Our efforts have saved many sick trees which now have healthy leafs. As to trimning the citrus trees we just took off dead wood and branches that were scraping main branches injuring the wood. The yellow leafs seem almost like the tree is lacking chlorfil as the leafs are mottled. They definately need something and it isnt water or iorniate. What about maganisum? Our soil is most alkuline and has little nitrate in it. I took a soil sample and all else was very good. Im headed to home depot next week to buy something to pep up the trees. How about vitamin B? I spent a fortune using superthrive the first yr to take care of stress. The one orange tree that has sweet fruit and then some smaller sour fruit appears healthy. The bottom of the sour oranges are not round this is why I thought they were crossed with lemons. These oranges were found way up high and on one side of the tree it seamed but it is a huge tall branch and there were good oranges on the same branch. The other orange tree on the opposite side of the lot is doing great. Another orange tree that was puney when we got here and had terrible few sour oranges this yr has filled out and grown in heights and is loaded with bumpy oranges and they are very sour and even a little bitter. I think combined juice with this fruit should make a great summer drink and am going to try juicing the sour ones. The poor lemon tree was dying overcome by olive trees and ecupliptus trees around it. After getting proper sunlight and all dead trimned off- it yeiled no fruit and is still loosing leafs but we have had a cold winter this yr and a short small frost. In the winter I water weekly and in spring like weather I began with watering twice weekly. When I say cold -nights have been in the 34-45 -50 degrees this dec and it got to 32 shortly one night. Just enough to ruein all the green tomatoes and red and green peppers. and the outside leafs. I cut back the plants and they are growing back new leafs. In Iowa we watered everything well prior to freeze and frost. Im told not to do that in Az. I did water well the day prior to the freeze here. Perhaps thats why the lemon tree started to loose some of the leafs. Im open to all suggestions.
     
  6. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    Mature citrus trees are heavy feeders and can use over 1 pound of actual N per yr. Surprise! Someone actually got good advice at HD! Granular fertilizer is better than spikes. NPK ratio is not that important for inground, but citrus use it in the ratio of 5-1-3.

    Your trees need a mixture of trace minerals including iron , zinc, copper , magnesium. It probably needs to be applied separately now to correct the deficiencies --as a foliar spray or granular trace mineral mix. You can find granular fertilizers with trace minerals and they will help prevent deficiencies in the future.

    Citrus prefer an acidic soil in the range of 6 to 6.5-- the high pH makes it difficult for the plant to take up minerals and is adding to the problem.

    You may be watering too much-- citrus like to be on the dry side--soil should be dry 2-3 inches deep and they need very little water in winter.
     
  7. alkvinia kaye

    alkvinia kaye Member

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    Ok I went outdoors today to apply Super Thrive to all my new plantings less than 1 yr . I especially took note of the trunks of the orange trees. There is one very large trunk probably about 2' in diamiater. There are several other trunks coming from the ground anywhere from 4" to 6". All the leafs look the same and the same size and are shaped the same but way hiogh they are smaller and thats where the sour fruit came from. I thought all the leafs were in clumps of 3 but none of the leafs are anything but pointed ovals. We couldnt raise fruit trees in Ia other than apple and cherry so citrus is very new to us. The good orange tree without seads and very sweet has one trunk and is 1/2 the size of the other one I talked about. I didnt check the bitter sour one yet or the grapefruit trees. Thought Id run the first by you guys first. Now when do I fertlize? When do I trim and do I cut back all the smaller outside trunks around the large trunk?
     
  8. alkvinia kaye

    alkvinia kaye Member

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    Sure wish I hadnt been so excited to pick the oranges. There are just a few left ontop that are past my standing on the highest step ladder rung. Will have to get the extension ladder to reach them and have hubby hold it. Incidently my kids reported 8"snow and blizzard white out conditions in Iowa and 24 to 27 below 0 last and this week. Last yr there was an ice storm about now that was so severe my farm children had no electricity for 3 and 1/2 weeks. While the national guard came by and evacuated everyone my kids couldnt leave the hog confinement farm or the exotic animal ranch. The 8,000 generater failed and people waited in lines to buy smaller ones to survive. No gas or candles were available anywhere. Thats why I am not familiar with citrus trees and are so excited to have 3 orange, 1lemon,1lime 3grapefruit,and 3 palmigrate trees. One palmagrate tree lost its leafs fully and is skinny and tall. The other is fat and full and it has yellowing leafs that are falling. As to the fruit I had never had one and I found the seeds sweet sour and wanted to juice them but the fruit all split and the birds got to it before I did. I used the same citrus grandule ferlitizer on them last Nov that I put on the fruit trees. I was so looking forward to lemonaid this yr but no fruit.
     
  9. alkvinia kaye

    alkvinia kaye Member

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    Bless you for the advise. I will follow through. Should I apply Superthrive first?
     
  10. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    Now is about time for the first fertilizer application for the year. If your tree's trunk is over 2 ft in diameter, then I am sure you will need to apply at least 5 pounds of 8-8-8 spread evenly from about 1 ft from the trunk to 2 ft beyond the branches. You should do this again between May and June and once more in August. Again, you also need to apply some trace minerals.

    You can prune away any of the sprouts that are coming from the base now if you think they may be rootstock (if the fruit is different then it probably is)-- there are several rootstocks other than trifoliata (the 3 lobed leaf), some of them have leaves that are very similar to oranges.

    I do not use superthrive, so I can't tell you much about it.

    I believe pomegranates are deciduous.

    Skeet
     
  11. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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  12. alkvinia kaye

    alkvinia kaye Member

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    Thank You all for the wonderful advise. I had trouble logging on but I think it is now fixed. The next step is to figure out how to transfer my cell phone photos to you to show you the 2 troubled orange trees.

    All the other trees have been pruned well and seem not to be root stock problem. At least not at the base of the tree anyhow or the trunk. Purchased granular fertilizer at Home Depot and put on trees yesterday. Didnt water it in as we had 3 days of rain prior and Im wanting things to dry a little first. My husband went today to get rose fertlizer for the rose beds and the same man who has been waiting on me sold him some more iorniate which you said do not put on. Can I use miriacle acid as well as the granular in a couple of days when it drys a little? I followed directions and tomorrow will look up your amounts verses what the package said to put on and will also send you the name of what the man sold us.

    Its the rootstocks Im concerned about though. I know thats the problem now that you explained it to me. Im just not sure what to do about it. You need a picture. There are many rootstocks on this one tree. I just thought it was a clump tree. When we first got the land the tree looked terrible like it was about to croak and we pruned heavily all suckers but not stocks and ferterlized. It appears healthy now but it has sweet and sour oranges. These stocks are at least 4" or more diamiater. Im worried about hurting the tree in cutting to many at one time. Summer here is stress time big time at 104 degrees and sometimes more.
     
  13. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    You can use the seeds from the rootstock fruits to grow some new rootstock trees if you want to get into grafting. There are many possible rootstocks, but it sounds like the rootstock on your tree may be a type of sour orange, maybe someone on the forum knows what rootstocks are common in AZ.

    Skeet
     
  14. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    My apologies to all involved in this thread - alkvinia kaye sent these along a little while ago, and I'm only now getting a chance to upload them as I tackle my burgeoning email.

    Here are some photographs sent along:
     

    Attached Files:

  15. Laaz

    Laaz Active Member 10 Years

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    Anything you have with multiple trunks is certainly rootstock growing out. You need to find the main trunk & remove all the other growth. I believe AZ gets most of their citrus from CA which should be grafted to sour orange or rough lemon.
     
  16. skeeterbug

    skeeterbug Active Member

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    If the last picture is one of the rootstock sprouts, it is certainly not a trifoliate. If the new leaves are bronze colored when they first come out, it is probably a rough lemon, if not it is probably sour orange. As Lazz says, you need to find the part of the tree that is producing the sweet oranges and trace it back to the roots, then cut away all other branches. You can graft new varieties to some of the sprouts (those with leaves in the last picture would be a good size for T-budding).
     
  17. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    30 year old trees of yore around in these parts
    were not necessarily grafted or budded plants.
    There is a 35+ year old Swingle next door to
    me on its own roots with multiple trunks. You
    guys should take some time to figure out what
    causes some Citrus that were propagated by
    rooted cuttings to yield multiple trunks. One
    way is through a disease and/or insect issue
    that stunts top growth and then we see some
    resurgence of new growth from the base of
    the tree, which in turn forms a new trunk if
    left alone. After trees have recovered from
    a canker disease they would send out new
    shoots from near the base of the trees. Years
    ago people took what the tree was giving us
    and severely cut back the tops of the trees to
    accommodate the trees desire to rejuvenate
    itself. Today we see the new growth from
    the base of budded trees as a detriment to
    the overall viability of the tree when in fact
    the tree is telling us it wants to restore itself.
    I've seen many of the new shoots emanating
    from the base of the tree as shown in one of
    the above photos later on rooted and then
    were used as a foundation rootstock for a
    particular grove site. Too bad we do not
    do that kind of standard practice any more
    as training the trees for grove plantings
    grown in a particular climate or even a
    certain soil type was at one time mainstream
    for certain grower nurseries to do on their
    own accord or by special order or request.

    Trees that were propagated by rooted cuttings
    generally will have multiple trunks. This has
    been true for most all of the Swingle hybrids
    and for the dwarf and semi-dwarf form trees
    in past years that were propagated by rooted
    cuttings. It is the standard forms that usually
    remain a single trunk tree, unless the tops have
    been severely cut back and then we can expect
    to see some rejuvenate, new growth coming out
    from near the base of the tree soon afterwards.
    Some trees in the past were deadheaded just
    for this reason, hoping to obtain proprietary
    rootstock to be rooted and grown on for a
    given area or for a specific type of Citrus
    to be budded onto.

    Jim
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2008
  18. Laaz

    Laaz Active Member 10 Years

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    Swingle is used as a rootstock so would of course be on its own roots. I don't know of anyone who plants Swingle for its fruit besides to grown for seed production. As was stated in his original post his trees are producing two different types of fruit which means they were grafted & the roostock is also producing fruit.
     
  19. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Whether I brought in the Swingle to be used
    for fresh eating, for juice or for confections
    is not the point. Where else are you going to
    find a bona fide Swingle of that age? Not all
    of the Swingle are or were on their own roots.

    Two types of Oranges coming off the same
    tree is not new to Southern California and
    Arizona from rooted cuttings. I agree that
    we are more likely to see this happen today
    from trees that do have rootstock intermixed
    in the tree but some old trees that were rooted
    could do this later on, all on their own.

    Jim

    I'll add this here rather than make another
    post. Some Universities and research stations
    had budwood come in to their possessions
    rather than having whole trees come in to
    have and evaluate . Rather than wait the
    added time or risk loss to the wood, to root
    the budwood, many times the wood was
    initially budded onto a host rootstock. If
    we read through the lines we are informed
    of some of this with The Citrus Industry
    Vol. I
    book, thanks to Robert W. Hodgson
    and others. Thus, in some areas Swingle
    came to people as budded plants.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2008
  20. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    What may need to be done is to take the
    fruit to an Arizona Cooperative Extension
    Office and find out what is what. Then, if
    there is a second varietal form on the tree
    or one form that is not stable (results in
    inferior fruit) that is not desirable then
    prune out all remnants of it and save the
    better portion of the tree.

    We have to realize at times that with so
    many calls not to prune Citrus that there
    are times when trees should be pruned.
    Tops can be cut way back when and if
    need be and still we can get a sizeable
    crop from our established trees. Not
    too many Citrus develop fruit on the
    tops of the trees and in the case of 20
    year old and older trees we can whack
    these trees way back if we want to and
    still get fruit to fill the outer and inner
    canopy of the tree. The above procedure
    does not work too well with juvenile
    trees like most of you have, trees that
    are less than 10 years old. In Washington
    Navels a tree is still a baby until it is
    about 7 years old and these are in ground,
    prospective commercial grade, production
    trees, not young trees that are or have
    been restricted to containers that have
    had their root growth stymied with
    constant, almost monthly fertilization
    that can kill root system in order to get
    more fruit set and top growth. There is
    a delicate balance that needs to be
    maintained and when young trees are
    "pushed" too young in order to get
    more fruit set at the expense of root
    shoot development, we in effect harm
    the roots to achieve our personal wants
    from these trees. The container grower
    has to walk a fine line much of the time
    and it really does not matter what kind
    of tree it is as in time the tree has to go
    into the ground or we risk losing it long
    before we want to. How many 20 year
    old Citrus do we have that have been in
    containers all their lives that are still
    flourishing is the nemesis prospect
    many of you face in the near future.
    Certain growers gave you a dwarfing
    rootstock that can go that distance in
    age but we have to decide what is more
    important, to have a tree that produces
    young that will not get up to 25 years
    old for us in containers or have a tree
    that we baby along and wait five to
    seven years to produce a crop and
    then see that tree live upwards of
    50 years. The problem is the near
    sighted thinking that we can always
    bud a new tree as this method has
    not always panned out well for
    people. It is better to have that one
    tree last the test of time, rather than
    have three trees in succession live
    the same number of years for us but
    that is just my opinion and I expect
    none of you to appreciate or believe
    my viewpoint like always.

    What concerned me all yesterday after
    my posts while working in the yard was
    that here we may have an older tree on
    its own roots and none of you even
    considered it a possibility. Image the
    trunk size if this tree was a single trunk
    and then envision the age of the tree
    then. There was a Navel Orange that
    for about 20-25 years produced uniform
    fruit and later on we could see some
    variability in the fruit. Some people
    felt the fruit reverted by producing a
    bumpy rind and loss of sweetness,
    along with more seeds but later on
    it was felt this was due to the tree
    no longer being stable in its genetics
    and it did become a problem for some
    people. One way to deal with it was
    to retrain the tree by taking out all
    limbs that yielded or supported the
    inferior fruit. I doubt much has
    changed since in what to do for this
    particular Orange, other than to not
    grow it or pull an existing tree out
    of the ground like some Cooperative
    Extension people told commercial
    growers and homeowners to do in
    the past when the inferior portion
    of the tree took over and outgrew
    the "good" portion of the tree.

    Jim
     

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