Brown leaves on a containerized mango

demeter_26December 13, 2010

We were hoping that Pugluvr or someone with experience

growing a young mango tree in the gritty mix might offer some urgent help.

It's been just over a week that we transplanted a

Fairchld mango into the 1-1-1 gritty mix with the Gypsum included for the calcium and a little Epsom salts for the magnesium and have been fertilizing

with liquid Miracle-Gro 12-4-8. During this first week after planting, six large bottom leaves have turned brown and fell off and all the leaves are drooping a bit from when it was in its original pot. Naturally we're very worried something might be wrong or maybe it's just a normal occurence after transplanting.

Thank you.

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Possibly transplant shock. Are you making sure its getting enough to drink? Don't put it in full sun until you see the tree recovering.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 11:35PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

How did you use the Epsom salts?


    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 9:15AM
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Hi Jane.
We thought it might be transplant shock but it looks pretty drastic. The brown color is slowly working it's way up from the bottom leaves toward the top ones.
We made sure it had enough water (which is mixed together with the fertilizer).
We are keeping it in the shade
until we see some new growth.

Hi Al,
We diluted a tablespoon of Epsome salts first in warm water
and then applied it toward the rim of the container
away from the main stem.
These cold nights we have been bringing it indoors.
No better news to report this morning.
We can't figure this one out.

Thank you both.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 3:21PM
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I only use "1/4" tablespoon per gallon of water if I used gypsum in my mixes per recipe....

Did you fill in around the roots and use a pointed stick or some other means to wiggle the soils completely around them?

Can you check for moisture in the root zone or ball for moisture with a dowel stick or some other device as soon as possible?

Can you possibly take a picture?

Can you also explain why you transplanted when the leaves were already droopy in the original pot?

Also, might you be able to explain why the tree was not doing so well before you intorduced it to a completly different mix?

Did you bare root it? As much detail as you can will help us help you..



    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 3:39PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Your answer is probably in the way you used the Epsom salts. How much water did you add the tablespoon of salts to? If I add Epsom salts because I'm using gypsum as a Ca source, it's usually @ the rate of 1/4-1/2 teaspoon per gallon of water, depending on how robustly the plant was growing, and only when I fertilize. You're probably looking at a drought response due to the high salt level of the soil solution - plasmolysis, aka fertilizer burn.

To be safe, I would flush the soil thoroughly and repeatedly to remove most of the salts. Wait until the plant needs watering again, and fertigate with a 1/4 recommended strength solution of 24-8-16 and hold off on additional fertilizing for at least a month. After a month has passed, you can resume fertilizing as you were, unless you were using more than 1/4 tsp/gallon. I would consider that the winter max for plants in fast soils, unless they're warm and under very good lights.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 8:18PM
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Al has the answer..

Good luck

    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 6:37PM
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Hello Mike...
We'll check for moisture as you said. Yes we bare-rooted it and filled in around the roots with the mix when we transplanted. We thought it urgent to transplant it to the gritty mix after we saw the leaves slightly drooping because we thought the tree might be starting to get root-bound since we bought the tree as a 7 gallon mango
in a 3 gallon container. The nursery, for whatever reason, had neglected to pot it up to a 7 gallon container.
We'll try to post accurate pics ASAP.
Thank you Mike.

Hello Al...
We used a tablespoon of Epsome salts to a gallon of water which I understand now is way too concentrated.
To be on the safe side we will immediately flush the gritty mix repeatedly and
start over with your suggestions and measurements.
Thank you Al.
Will keep you both posted on the progress.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 7:14PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Best luck!


    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 8:37PM
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Hello Mike and Al...
Thank you again for your previous informative posts on the suspected causes of our failing Fairchild mango tree.
We know it's been awhile since we last posted.
But with trial and error, we were finally able to post this accurate picture we promised of our tree.
Perhaps this can give you a better clue to what's happening to it.
It's been three weeks now that it's been in the gritty mix.
As you can see the leaves are drooping and browning pretty badly.
We sincerely welcome and appreciate
further thoughts and comments you may both have.
Wishing you both a Merry Christmas.
Jon and Christine

    Bookmark   December 24, 2010 at 8:02PM
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If you took the tree out into the sun to take the picture,OK, but I hope you are keeping it in the shade until it recovers. A very good picture. Al

    Bookmark   December 25, 2010 at 9:21AM
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Jon and Christine,
I am no professional here but I can relate a very similiar first hand experience I had with a 15 gallon Dixie Mandarin and some of the steps I will take in the future.

My Dixie mandarin was very similiar to your Mango- slightly drooping so I thought I needed to rush it into a new container. I did a quick review of the GW forums and collected my ingredients for the Gritty Mix. In my haste, I failed to screen all the ingredients. That was mistake #1. After barerooting the tree, I quickly placed it in a new pot with the DRY gritty mix - mistake #2. It was another 10-15 minutes in the dry mix, before I added water. After I thought everything was properly transplanted, I returned the container to its bright sunny spot in the backyard - mistake #3. A later learned that I gave the plant too much fertilizer as well on this first day. That was the primary culprit in the tree's demise, but I learned many other lessons from this experience.

It took the tree about a month to completely turn brown and dry up. After many hours of careful review of the related threads on GW, I learned the following, to better my chances the next time I use the gritty mix.

1) Screen and rinse your ingredients throughly.
2) Moisten/west gritty mix before you transplant on warm/sunny days. Orchid Fir bark is initially slow to absorb water and will take several waterings.
3) Keep your plant out of direct sun for at least 2 weeks while it adjusts to the new soiless mix. If you don't, your tree will wilt and curl in the sun.
4) During the first 2 weeks, use Superthrive or similiar rooting hormone to reduce transplant shock and encourage root growth.
5) Do not overfertilize - shouldn't need to fertilizer at all during the first two weeks of adjustment.
6) 6/7 mesh granite is best size. 10 mesh is borderline small and 5 mesh is borderline large.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2010 at 12:45PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Great summation and tips, Axtrader.


    Bookmark   December 26, 2010 at 1:04PM
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Thank you so very much!
We made the same exact mistakes that you did.
I wish we had learned of your mistakes before hand.
We had to learn the hard way as well.
We will be all the wiser the next time because of your warnings and excellent tips that we will commit to memory. We are not giving up and will try again.
We'll keep all our forum helpers posted like yourself
and meyermike, Al(tapla), Al(calistoga) and Jane.
A Safe and Happy New Year 2011 to all of you
and thank you all again for your help.
Jon and Christine

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 10:12PM
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Hi Axtrader...
One last question just to clarify; We understand that you don't fertilize (an N-P-K fertilizer)the tree during the first two weeks of adjustment. However, assuming you also use epsome salts and gypsum as amendments, do you add the gypsum granules and diluted Epsome salts solution when you fertilize for the first time after waiting for the 2 week adjustment?
Or do you add these two amendments in the beginning while you are making and preparing the gritty mix for the transplant?
Thank you again.
Jon and Christine

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 3:32AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

The gypsum is mixed into the soil as it is being prepared.
The epsom salts are added to the water at the time of the first fertigation (and thereafter).


    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 12:19PM
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Hi Josh...
Thank you very much for your quick reply.
We will follow your suggestions.
Happy New Year!!
Jon and Christine

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 11:33PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

My pleasure!
I look forward to seeing your Mango make a recovery.
You're armed for success, I think.
Happy New Year!


    Bookmark   December 31, 2010 at 12:34AM
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Jon and Christine,
Here is a pic of the Pixie Mandarin Tree I lost. Wilted, brown and drying up quickly.

These are a couple of trees I will try to rehab in preparation for Spring (Meyer Lemon and Cocktail Grapefruit). They were transplanted into a gritty mix last weekend. From the condition of the leaves, you can quickly surmise that they have been overfertilized for quite some time. It was good to move them into a clean mix. I could tell their previous soil was saturated in various dissolved solids. The Cocktail on the right has a extra thin layer of orchid bark on top.

I'll start a new thread and provide updates... Dan

    Bookmark   January 2, 2011 at 5:25PM
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puglvr1(9b central FL)

Hi demeter, I'm sorry I never saw this post till just today. But the advise everyone here has given you has been excellent. I don't think I could have added anything else. I just wanted to express my sympathies that your mango tree is not doing well.

What was the coldest temps you left your tree outside? I've had some severe damages on a few of my mango trees(Planted inground) from the many nights of freezing temps that we've had recently. I'm hoping the trees will recover in Spring?
Luckily, my 2 potted Mangoes are fine since I was able to move them to my garage.

Best of luck with yours and I hope it recovers. I would certainly not give up on it till you're sure its beyond help.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 7:32PM
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Hi Pug!!!!

I just wanted to say hi and glad to see you..:-)

Good luck everyone.


    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 9:41PM
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I am growing my Carrie mango tree on the patio and bringing it in for winter.
I didn't particularly feed it anything yet.
Just have been watering when container soil looked drier. Now the rims of the leaves are turning brown but they are not drooping. Will adding fish fertilizer help gently nourish it?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 3:06PM
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