minneola problem - Knowledgebase Question

phoenix, Ar
Question by billgus1022
May 12, 2010
I planted a minneola tree a year ago. It died in about three months. A lemon and a grapefruit tree planted at the same time are great. I replanted a minneola on the same site in November. It did ok for a while, then most of the leaves fell off. A couple months ago, new leaves started growing, but have stayed tiny. Also, a few twigs have died, so I snapped them off. What should I do?


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Answer from NGA
May 12, 2010

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Sounds like your minneola is having a difficult time establishing itself. Although the soil seems to be the same in all parts of your landscape, the planting site may be right above a layer of Caliche. Caliche is layer of soil in which the soil particles are cemented together by calcium carbonate which becomes solid and impenetrable to plant roots. As a result, roots are restricted to a small amount of soil, and must extract nutrients and water from a reduced amount of soil. Plants with shallow rooting systems are subject to drought stress, and may be poorly anchored and subject to uprooting in strong winds. And, the plant can be stunted (as seen in the small leaves).

About the only solution is to move the tree to another part of the garden, or dig the tree and work the soil down past the layer of Caliche, breaking it up to provide a more hospitible place for your tree to grow. You may need to dig down 3-4 feet to break up the soil enough to help your tree thrive.

Best wishes with your minneola.

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