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Problem Solver: Bloom Drop, Fruit Drop, Leaf Drop, and Twig Dieback

Fruit Drop
Some fruit drop is normal, especially in hot summer months. If fruit or bloom drop is excessive, proper watering is often the solution. Extremely hot, dry, windy weather will trigger fruit drop. Be sure trees are well watered in these situations. Excessive fruit drop accompanied by splitting fruit is the result of too much water uptake.

Leaf Drop/Twig Dieback
Leaf drop and twig dieback can be caused by lack of light. Citrus trees need a minimum of 6 hours of full sun to grow. If growing indoors, it's possible that your trees will do better with a grow light for the winter. A sudden change in lighting or humidity can cause problems, so be sure to move your tree gradually from one spot to another, or from inside to out.

If your tree receives adequate light, and experiences leaf drop, improper watering is probably the culprit. A lack of water can cause the tree to dry out and lose leaves, while excessive watering can cause the roots to rot, so that they lose the ability to take water and nutrients up to the leaves. If you modify watering to provide even moisture, often the tree will recover, albeit slowly. A moisture meter is useful to be certain that watering is necessary, and can help you develop an appropriate watering schedule.

Should your tree lose all its leaves, don't despair. You can prune it back lightly to help push new growth; then, with improved growing conditions (adequate light, correct watering) it should recover. Remember also to feed regularly with a good citrus fertilizer (3:1:1 ratio or similar).

Check your tree regularly for pests. Severe infestations of scale insects, or mites can cause defoliation. Regular monitoring will help you to take action in time, before severe stress (defoliation) occurs.