The Q&A Archives: Orange Trees

Question: How do I take care of orange trees that are losing thier leaves?

Answer: If it's a sudden occurrence after a long spell of good health, look for spider mites, whiteflies, or scale on the plant. If you find some critters, submit another question to the Q&A page for a solution. Overwatering can cause leaf curl/drop. In the dormant season, wait until the soil dries out about 1/4" deep before watering andkeep the tree in a cool (50-60F), brightly-lit place. If the pot is on a tray, do not allow water to collect so the roots are soaking all day. On the flip side, if the humidity is lower than 50%, citrus also suffers. Mist the tree daily or place the pot on a bed of stones in water. The evaporating water will increase the humidity, and the stones keep the pot elevated out of the water. Citrus need lots of bright light, though they do benefit from filtered light at mid-day. During the growing season, keep soil evenly moist, and take care not to overwater. Don't prune until new growth appears. Where new buds swell the wood is still alive. Trim branches back to the point where the new growth begins. Good luck with your tree!

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