The Q&A Archives: Yellow Leaves On Orange Trees

Question: I have 2 orange trees. About 2 weeks ago noticed leaves yellowing, especially at bottom of branches. On advice of local nursery, I applied an organic citrus and fruit tree fertilizer. No results to date. Would I benefit the tree by applying Miracle-gro at this time? Or, if not, what do you recommend?

Answer: When young leaves (those near the end of shoots) turn yellow, we ususally consider an iron deficiency to be the cause. High pH, high phosphorous and of course low soil iron levels all can result in iron deficiency symptoms. If older leaves are yellowing, nitrogen may be deficient. Root rot infection, physical damage to roots, drought and overwatering (soggy, waterlogged soil) can all cause leaves to turn yellow and fall.

Try to determine which of the cultural problems listed above may be the cause and take steps to alleviate it. If a root rot disease is present, there may be little that you can do at this time other than to avoid overwatering which tends to make things worse.

Because you've already fertilized, don't use Miracle-Gro at this time - too much fertilizer can cause problems with plants and yours is already stress. It takes a little while for you to see results from fertilizer applications. Just wait and watch. Your tree may perk up any day now!

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