Can my orange tree be resurrected?

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I have an aging orange tree at my new home. It flowers, but I'm told it hasn't produced fruit in ages.

I put plant spikes 30" from the trunk on either drain side.

How often should I water, how should I water (leaves, how far from the base) and is there ever hope of citrus?

Tucson, AZ
q can my orange tree be resurrected
  13 answers
  • Bijous Bijous on Apr 06, 2018
    It's possible what you now have is the grafted tree and the fruit baring graft has long ago died off. Grafting is a standard practice for lemon, orange, lime, etc. trees. A fruit baring graft is put on a non-baring tree. This produces the fruit faster than trying to grow from seeds. It smells great, so just enjoy and buy a new fruit barer. Good luck.
  • Chas' Crazy Creations Chas' Crazy Creations on Apr 06, 2018
    Here is an article that might help - Revive Citrus Trees
  • Gail Gail on Apr 06, 2018
    You may need another tree to ”mate” with it. Growing up we had the same situation with ours and that’s what we were told to do.
  • Lina Splichal Lina Splichal on Apr 06, 2018
    As for watering, we root water every fall (in a cold northern environment) to assure moisture available from the soil. Surface watering does not go deep enough to continue to provide water to the deepest roots.
  • Sue Findlay Sue Findlay on Apr 07, 2018
    Assuming the other reasons above are not the cause, to keep fruit on a citrus you need two things: bees and sufficient water. No bees, no pollination. Not enough water, the tiny oranges drop off as the tree jettisons unwanted cargo to survive.
    You need to keep the soil moist around the roots. Without knowing the climate you live in, I would say if it is hot and dry give the tree a good soak at least twice a week, around the leaf area.
    I also notice that the leaves are showing a nutrient deficiency in the yellowing tips. I suggest you give it a good feed of a good citrus fertiliser plus some compost. Plus get your bloke to water it at night: citrus trees love the nitrogen in urine and don't mind the strength.
    • See 1 previous
    • Laura Wands Laura Wands on Apr 07, 2018
      At my moms house ( she’s in Mesa), we put a 2” PVC pipe next to each tree. The PVC pipe was put into the ground so that when she waters , the water goes right to the roots. She waters twice a week, three times a week in the Summer. youd Have to dig a hole next to your tree to put the PVC pipe in, but after that it’s so much easier for any trees to get their water
  • 2dogal 2dogal on Apr 07, 2018
    That looks very small from the picture to be an old tree. I'd water slowly and well to soak the ground. Citrus fertilizer (you can buy fertilizer compounded specially for citrus - it will say so on the bag) would be better than spikes that don't really disburse the fertilizer well. Remove the edging around the tree. It needs to be watered out to the edge of the leaves. Your water well is much too small.
  • 15518741 15518741 on Apr 07, 2018
    I have a citrus tree. I pollinate it with a cotton swab if there are not many bees. It takes a lot of water to keep the small fruit from dropping. My tree sits in a container and I water it enough to keep it visible in the water pan. i do fertilize, but about every 3 years, I water it with dissolved Edson salts. That magnesium helps the fruit.

  • Susan Susan on Apr 07, 2018
    You need to water to the edge of the roots, or approximation thereof, and I think the previous comment about watering to the edge of the leaves. I agree, this may be the graft on which the fruit bearing tree was grafted, and, apparently died. It’s kind of hard to tell.

    As to fertilizer, this is not the time to fertilize citrus in Tucson. Consult the Pima County gardening website for information on that. If the leaves are yellow, they may be deficient in iron, and you can either spray an iron chelate solution directly on the leaves or use a dry version and water it in, but for leafed out trees, sprayi the solution on the leaves is recommended.

    If you are on Facebook, there is a fabulous group called Tucson Backyard Gardeners, which is a friendly and knowledgeable group. Finally, you might show your photo to some gardening center experts and see what they say. Magic Garden, Mesquite Valley Growers, Green Things, Civano are all excellent choices.

    Good luck!
    • Laura Caragher Laura Caragher on Apr 07, 2018
      Thank you! I read that spring was time to fertilize here. Oops!

      Very helpful! I have been sort of "raining" the whole tree and watering starting at about 12 feet out going in.

      Sounds like I'm close to doing the right thing.

      Plenty of bees!
  • Rosanne Rosanne on Apr 07, 2018
    I noticed a tremendous number of flowers on your tree. This is wonderful, aroma wise, but flowering and producing fruit take an enormous amount of energy for the tree. If it were mine, I'd enjoy the scent for a few days, then start picking some of the flowers off, maybe to where they're a few inches apart. Fewer flowers will mean the tree doesn't have to work as hard to produce fruit.
    Additionally, it is common for citrus trees to "take a year off" every now and again. Inexplicably, they will have little to no fruit for a year or 2, then produce like crazy.
    I moved into a house that had a grapefruit tree by the barn that hadn't produced in a,few years. The horses loved the taste of the leaves and "pruned" the tree as high as they could reach and after that I had grapefruit year round (this was in So. Fl)
  • Lti25024444 Lti25024444 on Apr 07, 2018
    From the curled leaves I would guess the poor thing is desperate for water. Here in Florida the sandy soil and heat make deep watering a necessity. And I agree with the person who recommended citrus fertilizer.
  • Bets Bets on Apr 07, 2018
    Maybe an Acid fertilizer would help. I use it for my 2 Blueberry Bushes and they produce a lot of berries each summer. (I live in the Northeast . )
  • Theresa Smith Theresa Smith on Apr 07, 2018
    Why don't you clip a small branch and take it to a local nursery and ask. Local nursery people can be sources of valuable information. Also, when you trim it, put a sealer on the wounds of the plant to keep fungus, bacteria, disease, out of the tree.