Friday, January 25, 2019

Trying something new with my ailing Owari Satsuma Mandarin

I have tried a lot of different things to save my citrus. They started in pots. Then got moved into big pots. Then they were planted in the ground inside the citrus house. I put the Mandarin in the raised bed in the greenhouse. It has been failing ever since. Today I decided to dig it up and pot it again. When I dug it up I noticed how dry the roots seemed. There are no white roots, just dry and brown looking. I cleaned off the dirt so it could start from scratch. It was very dry. I potted it in quality potting soil with a good handful of bonemeal and organic fertilizer under the root ball. I cut back the branches to account for the pathetic root ball. I am clearly missing something. I can grow orchids, I should be able to grow citrus. I must be missing a nutrient or something. 

Meyer Lemon

The Bearss Lime is exploding with flowers but the leaves are tragic. Very pale. Speckled. The Meyer Lemon has a few new leaves but they seem pale. No flowers. Sad looking. 

Owari Satsuma Mandarin Orange (it’s hard to see, but notice there is only one small tuft of leaves)

Bearss Lime leaf closeup. Notice the light coming through the tiny holes in the leaves. Spider mite damage. 

Plan of attack. I noticed a lot of white specks under the orange leaves. No doubt they are spider mites. I have been spraying them with a mister for years, but it hasn’t been completely effective and they always return. This is what the grower had told me to do. So then I literally picked off the leaves leaving just a few fresh new leaves that have started. There used to be a lot of spider mites on the lemon and lime. I couldn’t find any this time and I assume because they were sprayed with sulphur for scale. So I flashed up a batch of sulphur and sprayed all three citrus trees thoroughly. Then I broke my cardinal rule about organic fertilizer and bought Jobes Fruit and Citrus tree spike and hammered them in the ground around the lemon and lime. Then I took one and smashed it up with a hammer and put it in the pot with the newly planted orange. I am throwing everything I have at these trees. 

My gut tells me the trees were unhealthy because they weren’t getting the right fertilizer and nutrients. Then the weakening plants were like magnets for insects. First the spider mites moved in and then scale. I didn’t notice the scale on the branches, I’m far sighted, and by the time I noticed it, it was a horrible massive infestation. Then the spider mite population exploded. So now that I have the time since retiring, and the determination, I foresee some healthy citrus trees in my future. 


Jacob Royer said...

Starting citrus plants has never been too hard but getting them to a decent size has so far eluded me. I don't think I've ever had the spider mite problem with them though but the leaves with the thousand specks of light looks normal to me. I thought it was just the leaf structure.

Erin said...

Hi Jacob. I agree with you 100%. My new green mite free leaves have those same hole/dots on them. I had read that it was mite damage from the sucking insects. Clearly not true. If you ever see what looks like white dust under the leaves, it is probably spider mites. You can take a photo and blow it up to check for sure. Something I do frequently with my bad close up vision.
I will be doing a citrus update soon. They are doing AMAZINGLY!!
Good luck with your citrus.