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Plant Diseases/Honeybell tree

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QUESTION: Hello, and thank you for being available to us. I have a follow-up question to and answer you provided to another orange tree question about yellow leaves on a new tree. You said "Hopefully you do not have stones, mulch, plants or anything under your tree except sand so the roots can dry out during waterings"?  I just did some landscape work in the yard and put the left over mulch under the orange tree. Its about 8 feet tall, and the trunk is about 3 inches in diameter. It has had 2 crops. The 1st year was about 15 oranges. The skin had black spots but the fruit itself was yummy. This year was dismal...about 6 oranges and not much bigger than a gold ball. I did have mulch last year too. Should I remove it?? Add sand on top or just bare soil??? The leaves are falling off so I just put on Miracle Grow fertilizer for citrus. I am seeing some blossoms already too. Any tips are appreciated. THANK YOU

ANSWER: Hi Bob, If you are in a dry climate like out West you can use mulch but not in a humid climate like Florida.  Small size fruit is usually due to not enough water.  They should be getting about 4 inches per week so the fruit grows and expands.  I am an organic  grower and would not put Miracle Grow on anything as it pollutes the earth.  I don't use synthetic fertlizers like Miracle Gro   These chemical fertilizers are by-products of the petroleum industry, they're salt-based, and they're almost always overkill. Runoff of fertilizer chemicals in to streams and water supplies is a serious problem. You're also more likely to burn plants by using too much synthetic fertilizer, and you can even hurt the soil: there's nothing like high-nitrogen chemical lawn fertilizer to damage your earthworm population.

Leaves fall off for two reasons one is not enough water or the plant is removing some leaves to make room for fruit and blooms.  Yellow and green leaves may need some minors like a good fertilizer or Epsomsalts for a quick fix.  Black spots on a citrus is a fungus problem.  Atomic is organic and will raise the brix in the plant and keep it healthy so bugs and fungus stay away.  kathy



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I am in West Palm Beach, Florida. I will remove the mulch then. Should I put sand or anything to keep the weeds down?? I was not aware they needed so much water...WOW !! I can fix that problem.Can u recommend a good fertilizer?? Is this Atomic you mention available at Home Depot/ Lowes or where would I find it? Is the soap and water in a spray bottle a good way to keep bugs away?? I don't trust this. Thank you again for being here.

Answer
Hi Bob, Never put anything over the roots of a citrus tree or you smother the roots and cause root rot.  I use Florikans products which you can get at a good Nursery or Dynamite by Florikan which I believe they sell at the box stores.  The only one I would get there.  Atomic Grow you can order on line only.  Soap and water will make the leaves dirty and then the sun will not be able to get in the plant.  Plus it washes off.  kathy

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kathy crowley

Expertise

Tropical plants in Florida, Bamboo, Vines, Fruit trees, Antique Roses, rare plants from around the world.

Experience

Nursery business for 19 years

Organizations
Bamboo Society, Rare Tree Society, Rare Fruit Tree Society, Passiflora Society

Publications
Florida Gardening Sarasota Magazine Bradenton Herald Tribune Sarasota Herald Tribune

Education/Credentials
Self taught, family history of nursery business

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