Declining orange tree - Knowledgebase Question

Desert Hot Springs, CA (Zone 9B)
Question by vdanna
August 14, 2006
Two years ago we moved into a house on the west coast that has an orange and lemon tree on the property. Neither was really cared for and we know that they are at least 4-5 years old. I have trimmed off all the dead branches and cut them back somewhat to shape them and both responded well to this. The lemon tree especially is really thriving but the orange tree seems to be in decline. It is losing alot of leaves and has only one orange on it this year even though it had a huge amount of blossms. I use the fertiizer stakes to fertilize twice a year and do my best to keep an eye out for any insects, etc. The last two years we have had more oranges then we knew what to do with. Is this a normal resting period? Any suggestions to help boost the conditon of the orange tree?


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Answer from NGA
August 14, 2006

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You didn't say whether fruiting declined the year after you pruned or if you pruned and got a bumper crop. It is not at all unusual for citrus trees to produce lots and lots of flowers but only a little fruit. Most of the blossoms are not pollinated and even if they are, citrus trees tend to produce more flowers than they could possibly support in fruit. So, if you just pruned your tree, it should have enough new growth to flower later this year. If you pruned and got a bumper crop but nothing this year, your tree is probably trying to recover from the previous bumper crop. I can only recommend that you continue to keep your trees well watered and fed and wait until they're ready to fruit again.

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