Citrus Tree Losing Leaves - Knowledgebase Question

Scottsdale, Ar
Avatar for doeste
Question by doeste
September 8, 2010
We have a 13 year old grafted orange/grapefruit tree (cocktail tree) planted in our yard that has been losing leaves from the top all summer. It is watered regularly via an irrigation system and we have applied citrus fertilizer. What to do?

Answer from NGA
September 8, 2010
Since citrus trees are broadleaf evergreens, they retain their leaves for 2-3 years. But eventually the oldest leaves are shed and the tree replaces them with healthy new leaves. Leaf drop during the hottest summer months is always alarming but it usually just means the oldest leaves have done their jobs and the tree is shedding them in preparation for new growth. You should begin seeing new growth in next few weeks if you haven't already. As long as your tree is developing new growth, the tree is healthy and the leaf drop is normal. If there is no new growth or if the tree seems to be thinning for no apparent reason, there may be a root stress problem - either too much or too little water, or there may be an insect infestation that you have yet to identify. Check the tree over carefully for signs of scale insects (bumps on the branches), insects feeding on the undersides of the leaves, etc. Hope this information helps!

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