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meyermike_1micha

An almost grave mistake I could of made..! Picture

meyermike_1micha
12 years ago

Hi everyone!

Buylady, if you see this, just know I am thinking of you..

There are many reason why citrus drop their leaves "not" always related to over watering or or weather...

This is a cultural mistake made on my part... After providing everything perfect for optimal growth tis happens...This ponderosa lemon Bonsai was so happy and so full and green and flowery, until YES, I forgot to water it..I UNDER WATERED it and every leaf fell off within days...I even forgot to water my gardenia plants which was so full and green..

I wanted to share my mistakes and failure to my plants to help you all avoid the same thing...Make sure you never let your plants become over dry or you will need up with this...A bare plant and yellowing leaves within days from root damage..;0(((((((

This was FULL and green just a week ago..I pray I didn't let it dry out to much to cause branch damage..Please keep your fingers crossed for me..

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My Gardenia..Yellowing leaves and dropping like mad, but still flowers..I let this wilt twice by accident twice in one week last week..No good..

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Mike...

Comments (23)

  • kerry_2009
    12 years ago

    Beautiful gardenia photos! This is a good reminder about tackling the tricky issue of proper moisture management. In bonsai situations it's even more tricky.

  • seamommy
    12 years ago

    Clay pots dry out a lot faster than plastic ones and that's one of the reasons you have to water so often. Also, compared to the size of your plant that pot looks kinda puny. If you had it in a larger plastic pot you could go for several days without watering and wouldn't have to worry about the roots drying out. The plant would have more space to put out a more extensive root system that would be able to support the water needs of the whole plant. If the branches were damaged, the blossoms would have shed along with the leaves. Your tree still have viable circulation.

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  • meyermike_1micha
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Seamommy: Thank you for your words and advice..You are right, I am beginning to think the pot is a bit to small right about now for that plant...It is in already in a plastic pot...I will upsize.

    As for the citrus, the roots still have quite a ways to go before filling that pot...I will have to be more deligiant though in making sure I hit "all" my plants when I water in my greenhouse, since that was an oversight on my part....My bad..
    They are doing much better now....I will post a pic on the gardenia soon since that had made a full recovery..I will post one of the citrus if it should continue to do well..

    I shared this to let everyone know that not only can we all make mistakes, and shouldn't be afriad to admit them, but also that "under watering" can also be the culprit to fallen leaves..

    Kerry: Thank you for your words..

    Mike

  • rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7
    12 years ago

    The container looks tiny because Mike photographed his plants from above. And Mike, along with many of us, use clay pots BECAUSE they dry out faster. He was simply forgetful, but he surely won't change his excellent container gardening practices because of that, I hope!

    Mike, whether or not your plants will suffer from more than a temporary defoliation will be determined down the road a bit. Just be observant and ready with the snips should you see any signs of die back. Don't OVER water at this point, by the way. With fewer leaves working to recycle the water via transpiration, moisture will remain in the potting mix longer.

  • meyermike_1micha
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Rhizzo..:-)))))))))))))))

    Thank you for your very good observation....You know me well and my growing practices.... The mix that I use is what I attribute and give credit to, for getting my plants big and healthy as it were, and surviving each winter, in the first place..

    It was my "carelessness", which I am not ashamed to admit, that cause the "almost" demise and "defoliation" of my two plants, and thus far, you have hit what I was trying to say spot on..
    Also,I am growing most my citrus in fact, in clay, as for the reasons you described, some in plastic, because I was too lazy at a time to run out and buy more clay, which I prefer..
    I ran out of clay for that gardenia, and just havn't had the time to repot it, which could use a bigger pot now though...The roots are starting to poke through the bottom...

    "Operator" error is what did this, and not the "mix", nor my "usual" way of "growing container practices" which will stay the same..

    I simply just neglected to water these two..

    So good to see you Rhizzo and thank you ....:-)

    Ps..

    Even if my plants were in a bigger pot, I would make sure they do not go days without having to water for my personal reasons..Days without watering in a container would spell certain death for my plants, especially gardenia which does like to dry out rather rapidly, and hates wet feet, especially in my climate and area..

    Thanks everyone

    Mike

  • thisisme
    12 years ago

    It takes some true humility to post pictures like that Mike. Planting in pots is a lot less forgiving than planting in the ground. I have had plants lose leaves too after missing a watering. Where I live during the summer you only need to miss one watering to have trouble. The more trees and plants you have the easier it is to miss one or two. Nothing to be ashamed about.

    Hope they both recover for you.

  • greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a
    12 years ago

    Good job, Mike!

    I've allowed a plant or two to dry out on accident....sometimes my mixes are too fast!!!


    Josh

  • meyermike_1micha
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Thisisme:

    Thank you for your kind words...That is exactly how a gardenia is..Miss one watering to the point of wilt, and boy do they react poorly...Many leaves yellow up and fall off..As for a citrus, they drop almost all leaves green or dried out or pale looking.
    It is not the first time I have gone to far without watering by accident or on "purpose"..I remember growing in heavy peat mixes and too afraid to water for fear the mix didn't dry out after several days...I underwatered on "purpose" for those too, and lost many plants to root rot after a watering shortly after.

    The difference now and then is this...The heavy mixes I use to use would stay so wet for long periods of time, that after a watering on completly dried out mixes, or wilted plants, where the roots were often damaged, especially the fine ones, I would water and the mix would remain damp for days..Root rot was surely inevitable. Then they would die days later.
    At least the mixes I use now, may dry out a little more rapidly, but if I should forget to water, and the roots are affected adversly again, the mix will dry out fast enough to avoid root rot giving them a chance to recover much faster...

    It looks like they are both recovering very well now..
    No dead branches at least..If my plants had been in a mix that took a long time to dry out, I probably would of kissed them goodbye. Since the day I posted this thread, I was able to water again and leave them out in the rain......

    Josh: Thank you..You certainly have had a hand in it..Thanks for all your great advice about the best mixes I could use for my plants..:-)

    Mike

  • Andrew Scott
    12 years ago

    Hi Mike,
    I can relate to your experience. I suspect the reason for why my newer Oro didn't grow or bloom and why the original wasn't leafing up for me. I followed the suggestions to use the gritty mix and not realizing how much more I would have to water, I was actually starving the trees and then watering with the FP and vinegar evry couple days instead of daily like I know I need to do now.
    My Meyer lemon and my 'Dancy' tangerine ar not in these mixes but they still drain well. I would say they dry out within 2 days as opposed to one. I also know that the tangerine and lemon have huge root balls compared to the grapefruit trees and that helps them to dry out faster. I should be picking my tangerines here in another month or two. I was surprised to see that they are all ready turning orange!
    Andrew

  • buylady
    12 years ago

    Hi Mikeeeee, i'm here!! been thinking of you as well!!i have been so busy can't beleive its almost Nov....i'm still in july LOL...guess what so far i have 3 grapefruits very small yet and mandrian orange blooming like crazy an several blooms on my lime tree!!!!!!I'm so excited!! oh my Mikeee i can't beleive you for got those babies...i've really went to using the dole for watering an they look so green an pretty...i have wood heat so i really have to watch them daily...i'm thinking of using a humid.in the winter Boy i wish i had a green house like you got i envi you!!! love this site

  • meyermike_1micha
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Buylady, Hi!!! I am so happy to hear your trees are doing so great!! That is what I knew would happen..As for humidity, you can always put a kettle on top of your stove and let is steam slowly..You could also surround your plants with tubs of water, or use a humidifier...I am so happy to hear from you..:-)

    Hi Andrew..I am sending you an e-mail tonight...I hear ya too....Only stupid me just din't see them for a while...Somehow I completely watered everything but these guys..Now they are all in full view now...Here is a couple of pictures taken today...They are all happy and flowering now and still green..

    One of my gardenia and a few citrus...

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    {{gwi:637354}}

  • seamommy
    12 years ago

    Mike, I am getting ready to put my citrus in the greenhouse for the winter and was thinking of pruning them a bit. They're not leggy or anything but the branches are so long I'm a little concerned about having adequate air flow in there. Do you prune your trees at all? Cheryl

  • greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a
    12 years ago

    Mike, your pop-up looks great with all the citrus in there!

    Josh

  • mksmth zone 7a Tulsa Oklahoma
    12 years ago

    seamommy

    most people will advise pruning in the spring after the tree blooms. If you prune now you could risk not having very many blooms. removing a few internal branches or just cleaning up the canopy wont hurt the tree at all.

  • meyermike_1micha
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Hi Seamommy..:-)..It is recommended that one holds off till spring to cut back their plants, but I do not wait if it is needed, and still never have a problem..

    Ever since I saw the local nursery continually pluck EVERY leaf off all their citrus, all winter to avoid pest's, just to see them keep pushing growth, made me think..

    I usually prefer to trim in the growing season as suggested, usually about June, but if I have too, I do anyway with no worries..If I do not have too, I will pluck the tips off to to keep it bushy if new growth occurs and suggested by a very good friend who knows pruning very well..

    Hello Josh!! Thank you for your kind comments..

    Hello mksmth..You are always a big help here..

    Mike

  • seamommy
    12 years ago

    Mike, that's an interesting concept, plucking leaves to avoid pests. My trees were growing and blooming all winter last year in the GH so this might be a viable solution to the pest issue as well as air flow.

    Last winter was my first winter with the greenhouse and I experienced every problem there is to have, mold, mildew, heater failed one night, whitefly, aphids, you name it.

    This year I have taken every precaution I can think of to combat those issues before they happen. I've installed three fans, two oscillating fans and one large stationary fan to keep the air moving, which should prevent molds and mildew from stagnant air. Reset the heater. De-bug the plants before I brought them in.

    I have six citrus trees and without the leaves on them, they shouldn't impede airflow at all. Thanks for a good idea.

    Cheryl

  • meyermike_1micha
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Hi Cheryl..Not a problem..

    This is something that probably most people would only be able to do if they provide the right conditions for their trees, and keep them on the dry side....You have a greenhouse on your side and this older thread can be very encouraging for you..You have to be pretty brave to do it, even with a great enviroment just like I am when I chop all my plueria tree leaves off like yesterday..lol

    They also kept their greenhouse very cool, which also helped aliviate the pest's..If you could find someway to crack a window or vents, along with fans would help tremendously with mold issues and allow fresh air..

    I had a friend that was so loaded with pest's in his hobby greenhouse the year before last, that he had to throw ALL his plants way and start over, or use dangerous chemical bombs and so on...Of course then, he kept his greenhouse very warm, above the 70's..

    Last winter per my suggestion, he kepted that house very cool, I mean kept all the plants that could stand these cold temps, which included citrus, and had not one bug issue...He was so thrilled! He kept the tropicals that could not stand temps lower than the 60's in his home for the winter...

    Good luck..

    Here is the link to it..

    Enjoy...

    Mike.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Citrus with plucked leaves and wow

  • seamommy
    12 years ago

    Very interesting! You defoliate your plumeria as well? I'm going to try that with mine too. I see a lot of flower buds on the defoliated citrus trees so I'm assuming they don't take any of those off. They'll disbud themselves selectively after they set fruit I suppose.

    The pruning is going to help me a lot to economize on space in the GH. Not sure how or when I got so many plants!I do normally keep it just above freezing all winter, usually about 40-48* and the plumeria seem to like it OK.

    You've been very helpful Mike, thank you.

  • meyermike_1micha
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Seamommoy..How are you?

    Just so there is no misunderstanding or misinterpatation, please re-read my post's agin..:-)

    I DO NOT deliberatley defoliate my trees..That citrus tree lost all it's leaves on it's own, and it is the greenhouse that deliberately defoliate theirs...Theys eem to do very well, but as suggested by Al and Rhizzo, I pluck the ends, or prune during the best time of year..If, that's if I ahve too, I will prune and my plants never give me a problem anyway..

    Yes, I DO deliberately defoliate my plumeria since this is their rest period now..They can survive well as stick because they are forced to do dormant...:-)

    Please re-read this link, because there is some very good information I would not want you miss...Pay particular attention to Rhizzo's comments, please..

    Take care

    Mike

  • zecowsay
    12 years ago

    Mike, had the same thing happen with my Oroblanco. I watered every plant I had BUT the Oroblanco because it didn't need watering. I forgot to check it and blamo! Every single leaf dried up and fell off within a period of 2 days. It hadn't lost a single leaf since being brought in in September prior.

  • seamommy
    12 years ago

    This is from your link:

    "Posted by meyermike_1micha 5 (mikerno_1@yahoo.com) on Wed, Nov 3, 10 at 17:15

    "Thes leaves were constantly plucked and in a room barley heated..They ahd vents open and kept the room very cool, while the mix was kept on the drier side..
    When the sun started to get higher in the sky, they just kept wanting to puch new growth....I guess citrus can be tough plants!"
    I was referring to the comments in the link, not the issue you had with your trees. I went over to the Plumeria forum after reading this and many folks over there are defoliating to force dormancy.

    Because all my trees are all outside during the warm months there is often insect damage to leaves and occasionally to the wood too. Defoliating and prunig will give them all a fresh start each Spring. This is somehting I haven't tried before. Cheryl

  • meyermike_1micha
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Cheryl....

    Good..I am glad you got the "they" part..lol

    If you should decide to do as this nursery did, please let us know and how it works out for you. Please take pictures too if you can to keep us updated, maybe creating a new thread on this..

    It would be very interesting to see how well they did.....I think many would love to know..

    The tree that defoliated on me for not watering is coming back strong and has lot's of new growth coming from otherwise what use to be bare branches close to the trunk..

    I will post a picture later..

    You are right about the plumerias! I strip them bare every fall..It is a sad day when I do though..:-(

    Good luck and have a great day again

    Mike

  • meyermike_1micha
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    A couple of pictures of my gardenia fully recovered, thank God! Full of buds and even flower..

    Thanks for the support everyone..Next I will take one of my citrus..I see new growth, but too little to see on the camera..

    {{gwi:52320}}

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