Blotchy lemon leaves-?deficiency

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Re: Blotchy lemon leaves-?deficiency

Postby betr2garden » Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:57 pm

Thanks for that Pam. I think that might be the best option.

As I have not gardened the past few years, and just planted my citrus without any soil preparation (gardens were properly sheet mulched a few years before), I really believe the soil (drainage or nutrients) is not right in this spot. I like puzzles but I'm not interested in playing bit of this, bit of that until the tree turns up it's toes.

Anyway, I have other things to do to keep busy until then, as it looks like this wonderful rainy weather has presented me with bean rust or blight. A shame as I really wanted the plants to use as green compost for a new garden - not now! At least I have a new garden to grow beans in for the next few seasons. All fun!
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Blotchy lemon leaves-?deficiency

Postby Getafix » Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:26 am

I think it is definitely worth having a closer look at the soil. If you haven't already, try and work out if you have clay or sandy soil. If it's sandy soil then leaching of nutrients is highly likely given recent rain fall, and the solution is to keep feeding it and adding mulch and organic matter. If it is clay, then water logging is likely to be the issue. You can get some idea of what the drainage/percolation is like by digging a hole say 50cm deep, filling it with water, and seeing how quickly it drains.

If you think waterlogging is the problem, then I think the best solution is to dig the plant up as suggested and put it in a pot to recover. Meanwhile, amend the site as much as possible with organic matter and maybe gypsum depending on the type of clay, and then replant in a large raised mound (I reckon at least 10cm above surrounding area and ideally more). I had the same problem you are having with two different citrus and I dug them both up and they are now doing well in pots and awaiting replanting.
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Re: Blotchy lemon leaves-?deficiency

Postby betr2garden » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:50 pm

Thanks Getafix,

I've been following your problem which is why I posted here. Especially seeing as I found your post by googling 'blotchy yellow leaves on lemon tree' and, when I saw your photo, couldn't believe how similar our leaves looked (I hadn't even thought about the dry patches being part of the problem). I sort of want to get to the bottom of it as heaps of people seem to have the same, but I think it isn't that easy to pinpoint. The Department of Primary Industries photos that I looked at after seeing yours were pretty clear about the problem NOT being this and that, but still. LOL

I think you are right that something is wrong with the soil which is causing this problem. Sad part is I put the tree in the best spot in the garden so it should be happy. The soil is 'good' and a lovely, sunny mound in a mulched and raised garden; planted leaving a 'bowl' to hold water (though sheet mulched a few years ago so maybe running out of a few things). The garden has ag drain behind a retaining wall and that is where the drainage problem seems to be.

Anyway, I'm happy to dig it up and start again as it looks like the only solution. Least I tried. Thanks for your help.
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Blotchy lemon leaves-?deficiency

Postby Getafix » Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:07 pm

Does sound a bit strange if it is raised up as you say...and the sunny spot sounds good, as mine wasn't in a particularly sunny spot. One possible problem could be the "bowl" you dug for holding the water...if you dig a planting hole into clay soil, this can effectively act like a clay jar and fill up with water from the surrounding soil, and then have nowhere to drain to.

If you are digging around in your garden, either to dig up this plant or for other reasons, it's definitely worth trying to find out more about your soil profile. As well as checking to see if it is clay or sand based, also check to see if there are changes at any point. For example, my topsoil is a pretty good clay loam, but about 30-50cm down there is effectively hardpan, and this is basically the source of most of my problems. If it is a clay soil, it's also worth checking to see if it is gypsum responsive.
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Re: Blotchy lemon leaves-?deficiency

Postby betr2garden » Sun Apr 15, 2012 4:22 pm

Ha Ha! Far be it from me to be as sensible as to wait for the appropriately dormant time to fix the soil around my lemon tree. I couldn't stand watching my poor little tree floundering....

I discovered my problem :idea: :oops: :D

As some may know, I have just got back into the garden after several years. In that time I have done next to nothing; just piling on the mulch and maybe throwing a bit of pelletised chook poop around occasionally. The day I planted my lemon tree, a friend turned up. I quickly planted so I could go entertain.

I scraped away the mulch dug down to the soil; followed all the normal planting procedures. Problem was, I didn't get down to soil at all; I had planted the poor tree in older mulch - nowhere near soil. The other day, I gently scraped away the mulch until I had the tree, pretty much as it had been in its pot a few months ago, only in soil to about half its depth.

I added manure and compost and brought the soil back up to where it should have been. Within a few days the tree started getting dark green and is now in full flower.
Lemon after soil changed.jpg
Lemon after soil changed.jpg (40.62 KiB) Viewed 2593 times


I absolutely do not suggest that my method is the way to go (don't try this at home kiddies), I could have damaged those tender little roots. It was mainly because the tree was tiny and only just planted that I got away with it.

I'm posting this as a reminder to look for the simplest causes and find the simplest solutions first. My clue was water draining away very quickly and this didn't match my soil or my garden. No need for iron chelates, magnesium, manganese, Epsom salts, more water, less water, more fertiliser, less fertiliser (well, sure, the tree was suffering from not getting ANY nutrients, but adding them wouldn't have helped) Gawd I'm a goose!
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Re: Blotchy lemon leaves-?deficiency

Postby Pam » Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:44 pm

Pam wrote:betr2garden I get the impression you might have a case of information overload - too much information from too many places and you're feeling a bit lost as to which way is the 'right' way to go???

If you've had a lot of rain, it's more than likely a lot of the nutrients have been leached from the soil.

The first thing to be aware of is that addition of anything in the way of epsom salts etx etc


betr2garden wrote:

I'm posting this as a reminder to look for the simplest causes and find the simplest solutions first. My clue was water draining away very quickly and this didn't match my soil or my garden. No need for iron chelates, magnesium, manganese, Epsom salts, more water, less water, more fertiliser, less fertiliser (well, sure, the tree was suffering from not getting ANY nutrients, but adding them wouldn't have helped) Gawd I'm a goose!


Hahahaha I guess our advice should have been, "go check that you've planted it". :lol: I bet your hubby gave you curry over it.hehehe, or didn't you tell him?
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Re: Blotchy lemon leaves-?deficiency

Postby betr2garden » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:24 pm

Thanks for being so patient Pam,

As you got from the onset, I was frustrated because I knew this problem would be something pretty staightforward. I was hoping to find an answer for all the people out there with almost exactly the same problem. However, I'm pretty sure that everyone's nutrient deficiencies aren't caused by bourbon being more urgent than digging a proper hole.

Mainly though, I had a big win after searching heaps of sites for info and getting a lot of gobble-de-gook. Very pleased to have found this forum where information is straight-forward and there are lots of practical ideas for gardening.

Thanks to .... everyone!
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Re: Blotchy lemon leaves-?deficiency

Postby LowMaintenance » Sat May 24, 2014 6:59 pm

I have a Tahitian lime that was in a pot that appeared to be suffering from magnesium deficiency. I had Epsom salted it, Magnasesed it, then finally planted it in the ground. Wen planting I had noticed that there were a number of ants (bloody queensland!)

How long before I should see improvement?

PS. I know there is a spelling mistake, but my iPad won't let me go back and fix it. Sorry.
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