Yellow leaves = too much water?

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Yellow leaves = too much water?

Postby Di » Mon Aug 08, 2005 5:57 pm

I have two dwarf citrus trees in pots and my lemon tree has yellow and green patchy leaves (I have only noticed this in the last week). My orange tree has some light green leaves and some darker green leaves. I water both trees once a week? Is this too much? Please help! I live in Nowra, NSW
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Postby Marrion » Mon Aug 08, 2005 7:40 pm

I would suspect a nitrogen deficiency, once a week watering shouldn't be too much. Try giving your citrus a dose of urea and perhaps a fertiliser high in nitrogen, your nursery will advise you on a suitable one for citrus.
Good luck, let us know how it goes.
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trace elements

Postby jack » Mon Aug 08, 2005 8:06 pm

is also possible due to lack of trace elements in the soil, i am on poor sandy crappy soil, have to use zinc and iron here to stop what was described. i also add a general trace element as well, mixed with a good compost.
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PH test kit

Postby Di » Sat Aug 13, 2005 9:51 am

Are there any tests I could do to tell if my plants are suffering from a lack of nutrients? Would a PH test kit help? (Thanks for your help so far :wink: )
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Postby Marrion » Sat Aug 13, 2005 11:39 am

How long have they been in the pots and what kind of mix did you plant them in? You can use a soil testing kit to determine whether the mix is right for the citrus. I know they like a fairly neutral pH in the range of 6-7, some kits will also tell you the levels of potassium and phosphorus. Here is an excellent link for you to look at:
http://www.agric.nsw.gov.au/reader/citrus/h217.htm
However, I would suggest that you take a leaf into your nursery or post a picture on here for us to look at. If you need help with putting a photo on here, we will be happy to help you with instructions.
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Postby Ann » Sat Aug 13, 2005 1:39 pm

Might also be an idea to thoroughly pour water over them till the water runs out to help leach away any remaining salts. Rain water if possible.
I'm a bit like Bruce's spider; try, try, try again. Sonas, Ann
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Postby Di » Sat Aug 13, 2005 2:33 pm

Both my dwarf lemon and dwarf orange trees have been planted in a generc potting mix as directed by the local nursery. They have been in 16 inch plastic easy draining pots since April/ May, and are currently in the sun facing north. I tested the Ph levels this morning and both read 5 - 5 1/2. The nursery also said judging by the photos, they may have a zinc defiency. He recommended a dose of dynamic lifter once a fortnight and left it at that. Any thoughts?

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Last edited by Di on Thu Dec 29, 2005 3:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Marrion » Sat Aug 13, 2005 9:57 pm

Dynamic Lifter is a great fertiliser for lemon trees. also I would give it a dose of Epsom Salts as per the packet, and I would raise the pH level slightly.
Have sent instruction for using Photobucket to your inbox.
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zinc

Postby jack » Sun Aug 14, 2005 11:10 am

epsom salt will give it magnesium, zinc i agree is the problem.
i use manutec trace elements from big W for next nothing and a bit compost.
i do also use iron and epsom salts as well, it all helps if you have poor soils.
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Postby Ann » Sun Aug 14, 2005 2:28 pm

Must be the first to recommend a generic mix!! Usually they recommend the most expensive mix. I can't afford that so buy a cheaper one and add the extras myself. :D Someone I know got a soil test done here and was surprised to find it was an aluminium deficiency in the soil. :o Reminds me, maybe I need to make uo another batch of Pete's brew. :D . I had to add iron to my citrus trees in the garden. :D
I'm a bit like Bruce's spider; try, try, try again. Sonas, Ann
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Postby Pam » Sun Aug 14, 2005 5:30 pm

I'd go with the zinc diagnosis too, and the suggestion to give it a dose of trace elements. Out of curiosity, how well does the mix they're in drain?
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Postby Di » Sun Aug 14, 2005 5:51 pm

Both plants are in 16 inch Yates Tuscan plastic self draining pots with 1-2 inches of gravel in the bottom. When I water them, it usually takes about 5 mins for them to drain into the saucer.
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Postby Pam » Sun Aug 14, 2005 5:55 pm

Di, does the water actually sit on top of the mix for any length of time?

5 minutes to drain from top to bottom seems like an awfully long time.
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Postby Di » Sun Aug 14, 2005 7:40 pm

No, the water sinks straight in. I may have over exaggerated the time but I will find out tomorrow when I water again.
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Postby Marrion » Sun Aug 14, 2005 8:34 pm

Photos came up fine (Y)
Grow-Plus is an excellent fertiliser containing all the trace elements and is recommended for Citrus.
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potting mix

Postby jack » Sun Aug 14, 2005 10:57 pm

for citrus a good potting mix is one for azalea or camelia plants, is supposed to have a higher acid level which is what is missing for citrus in normal mixes or sandy soils.
trace elements i use normally take 6 months or so of normal watering before they are all gone.
i also give them them (have 3 at the moment) a feed of everything from epsom salts, iron, trace elements, fish, seasol and general purpose citrus food every august/september and april/may.
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Postby Luzy » Mon Aug 15, 2005 2:24 pm

This might be totaly irelevant for potted citrus but for the past two seasons I have noticed that our old lemon tree (and our neighbour's young one) both have lots of yellow leaves over winter. The yellowing increases when the rains arrive (or, just about snow like recently...). Once the weather warms up, the yellowing decreases and decreases more after a spring time fertilise. Our soil is a reactive clay type and, I'm only guessing, but I reckon that the cold weather makes it harder for the tree to pick up trace elements from the clay.

Just a thought :wink:
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clay

Postby jack » Mon Aug 15, 2005 2:34 pm

i know its a 10 year solution, but in clay mix in gypsum with the soil or compost monthly if possible, but will take the better part of a decade to make you have a nice loam.
also watch out with citrus, they are surface feeders so dont go ploughing around them to much.
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Postby Luzy » Mon Aug 15, 2005 2:43 pm

Thanks, Jack. Luckily for me, our local nursury is also a TAFE and has staff who live locally. When we first moved here I spread around a few bags of gypsum and (where I've been concentrating on) it's really made a difference. I've also found that the local council mulch goes well with the clay (despite the bits of pen and rocks and plastic etc). I am amazed at the lemon tree - it's got holes where borers have been, heaps of scale and the sooty mould it attacts, galls from wasps (can never catch them...) and it's never been without a lemon plus more to give away. It's had the grass cleared away from under it (and a few bulbs, allyssum and californian poppies manage to survive under it) and a dose or two of citrus food and gypsum. The local nursery advised to spread gypsum every year - even between plants and I reckon that it's worth the cost. But you are definitely right about it being a 10 year project - all the more reason to get out in the garden! Thanks again Jack!
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Postby Pam » Wed Aug 17, 2005 6:17 am

Luzy, my understanding is that because citrus are surface rooters, they hate any sort of root competition. That tree of yours sounds like it is very tough, but would probably be much happier if it wasn't dealing with all that stress it's under.

Firstly, I'm assuming you've dealt with the borers? If not, just get a thin piece of wire and push it down the holes to do them in.

When you've done that, remove all the gall affected growth and burn it or dispose of in a likewise permanent manner.

Some white oil sprayed for the scale, and soapy water to get rid of the sooty mould will see you with a new, much happier tree, though if you have a serious ant problem around the tree you might want to treat them also, or the scale will be back in no time. Borax mixed with just enough honey to make a stiff paste works well and is fairly inexpensive.

Then you can sit back and relax for a bit - you'll have earned it!
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