Orange trees dying off

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by PeterW, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. PeterW

    PeterW Junior Member

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    Our two orange trees are dying back, branch by branch. They are about 6 years old, and have so far been healthy and productive. The die-off is associated with serious peeling of the bark, in random patches, which is quickly followed by wilting leaves and then the whole branch dying completely. If it continues like this we are not far from losing the two trees completely.

    I've done an internet search and read about root disease (phytophthera I think) which causes bark peel of the main trunk just above ground level, but that's not our problem bcs the main trunk on our trees is OK so far. We live in Nimbin, semi-tropical, and we are at the end of a very wet summer. They are on gently sloping ground which has a clay base only a foot or two under the topsoil, which has made me think the unusually wet summer may have just left too much moisture in the topsoil which could not get away, leading to an unhealthy too wet state for the orange trees.

    We also have two tahitian lime trees, producing brilliantly, one of which has just a little of the same kind of die-off going on, although it is far less afflicted than the orange trees. Our two mandarine trees are not affected, in fact they are producing well. The lemon tree is also having a record production this year.

    Any ideas about this?
     
  2. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Hey PeterW, It may have something to do with how they were originally planted, but it also may be that they have 'wet feet'. When planting into clay 'we' sometimes dig a hole that we back fill with compost and that sort of thing. Unwittingly, we are effectively making a 'pot' that the citrus is sitting in. The tree can grow quite well in a spot like this for a number of years and then suddenly die. Could that have been your problem?

    They really do like a free draining soil.
     
  3. Terra

    Terra Moderator

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    On clay soils they should be planted on "top" by mounding , you say gently sloping ground , can you dig a trench around them and encourage some drainage down slope , dig about the "dripline" and you wont do much root damage if it works you could back fill the trench with some free draining material . Ive managed to slowly kill a lot of citrus until i tried mounding , have five healthy ones now .
     
  4. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper Senior Member

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    I had similar problems this year.
    Too much rain, wet feet and collar rot .
    Mandarin and Lemon is doing well the oranges are suffering
    Blood orange dropped all its leaves and looked dead but has regrown them
    Washington navel has just dropped all its leaves and looks dead
    The Lime has black spreading up its trunk so does the fig
    Pulled back the mulch gave it some pot ash and a watering with detol.10 litres to a half cup (made up my own dose no science just gut feeling)
    Local garden lady says dettol will kill the phytophthera.( I imagine it kills all the bacteria in the soil too)
    So far it seems to have stopped getting blacker but we did have a dry week and its just started raining again.
     
  5. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    A friend of mine has some citrus trees that were doing so-so, and he worked in bokashi around the dripline and watered it in (without disturbing the roots) under the canopy. Not sure how long it would take depending on the temps, but his tree is a whole different animal, producing like crazy :)
     

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