The Q&A Archives: Citrus Tree Help

Question: I have had a dwarf grapefruit tree for about 7 years. Up until yesterday it was doing quite well. Last night to our horror we found half of the tree practically dead--leaves and fruit completely emaciated. We have been watering as normal. Any ideas on what happened or what we can do about it? Thanks.

Answer: I really wish I could offer some assistance but I'm aware of only two causes of the symptoms you describe. One is a fungal disease (Phytophthora) which causes root rot and the other is verticillium, which clogs the vascular system. Either can cause sudden wilting. Although your tree has been happily growing for years, the root rot agent can build up over time and when all of the environmental and cultural conditions are just right, can overtake the roots. With verticillium, the disease can take its time moving through the vascular system, eventually clogging it up. The only way you'll know for sure is to take samples of the leaves and wood of an affected branch to your local cooperative extension office for diagnosis. Contact Pima County Cooperative Extension 4210 N. Campbell Avenue Tucson, AZ 85719-1109. Phone:(520) 626-5161. Wish I had more encouraging news for you.

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