When an Orange Tree Loses Its Leaves, Does That Mean It Is Dead?

When an Orange Tree Loses Its Leaves, Does That Mean It Is Dead?

An orange tree (Citrus sinensis) can lose its leaves for a number of reasons, few of which mean the tree is dead. Diseases, pests and environmental factors can cause leaf drop that will not necessarily cause death. Many issues are curable or manageable once you identify them. The tree will shortly grow new leaves.

Climate and Leaf Drop

Orange trees require a subtropical climate. They grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11, but may require some winter protection in USDA zone 9a where temperatures can drop below their comfort zone. Temperatures under 24 degrees Fahrenheit during dormancy can cause damage, while those under 55 F throughout the growing season can cause leaf drop. Oranges do best in fine, sandy soils and require well-draining soil to flourish. Both excessively dry dirt as well as soggy, waterlogged soil can cause leaves to drop. Soggy soil can contribute to the deadly soil fungus phytophthora, also called root decay. Keep the base of the tree dry and do not wrap the trunk or permit mulch to touch the trunk. Make sure the area around it’s well-draining with no grass or weeds near the trunk.

Fungal Infections Can Cause Leaf Drop

Greasy spot (Mycosphaerella citri) starts with yellow spots and ties to brownish blistering, eventually causing leaf drop. Like other fungal infections, it inhibits photosynthesis, which may eventually kill the tree if it’s not treated for many decades. To take care of it, then spray a liquid copper fungicide at mid-June or July, or one to three weeks after petal fall. Wear protective clothing, goggles and gloves when dealing with garden chemicals. Mix 4 tsp of the copper alternative in 1 gallon of water and pour it into a garden sprayer. Spray the tree into coat the undersides of their leaves as well as the shirts. Repeat the process after four weekslater. Remove any fallen leaves from around the tree to prevent reinfection. With appropriate therapy, the orange tree will recover fully the following spring.

Insect Infestations

Two insects specifically can result in an orange tree to drop its leaves: scale insects and mites. Scale insectsthat look like tiny dots or “scales” attached to the leaves, frequently infest citrus trees. Citrus rust mites begin to infest in spring when the tree includes a flush of growth. While mites are mainly innocuous, large infestations can kill an orange tree. Neem oil can deal with both insects. Water your orange tree thoroughly the day before therapy. Most neem oils are concentrated as well as a frequent dilution rate is just 2 to 4 pounds in 1 gallon on water. Place the mixture in a garden sprayer and spray on both sides of the leaves thoroughly in the early morning. Soak the leaves thoroughly, shaking the solution as you go because it easily splits. Repeat the process every two weeks, three or more times. Once the insects have been eradicated, your orange tree will grow new leaves.

Citrus Greening

Citrus greening is a destructive bacterium that affects all types of citrus tree. While it’s not spread into all parts of the U.S., its has made it from coast to coast and is a disorder on watch lists around the nation. Like fungal infections and water stress, the first indication is a yellowing of the leaves, but it’s also accompanied by mottling. There’s no known remedy for greening, but it can be kept at bay with good general care. Make sure the tree gets appropriate watering and you remove weeds from around the tree. Fertilize using a citrus-specific fertilizer, such as a 5-3-6 formulation that also contains potassium and potassium. Rates vary based on the goods and the age of your tree, but a 3-foot tree may need 6 cups applied three times a year. Always water the fertilizer in well after applying it, and keep the fertilizer away from the trunk.

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