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Problem Solver: Excessive Bloom and Fruit Set

Excessive blooming, or the production of many blossoms followed by leaf drop is often a sign of serious stress in citrus trees.

A tree that senses that it is "in trouble" will flower and set fruit excessively, putting all its energy into fruit production in a desperate effort to survive.

Usually the problem can be found below the soil surface. The possibilities range from root rot caused by overly wet root to overly dry, over fertilized or over heated soils. Be sure that trees are receiving at least 8 hours of full sun a day.

Potted trees may suffer from any of these conditions. A good first step is to tip the tree out of its container and inspect roots. If they are dry or rotting, remove dead root parts, match with equal pruning on the top of the tree, and repot with fresh, well-mixed soil. Monitoring moisture in the roots can help assure proper watering and prevent root stress. See the watering page for more details.

To help determine the cause for trees planted in the ground, consider these other questions: Could the tree be wetter or drier than in previous years? Has the irrigation system changed? Has there been excavation or any other changes in the root zone? Did you switch to a different fertilizer regime? Is the sunlight reaching the tree still adequate?