Orange Tree Help
We're having problems with our 2-year-old orange tree. Each year it blooms and oranges start to emerge, but then the oranges fall off before they develop. We've given it Epson salt and fertilizer and moved it out of our strong Texas wind, but nothing has worked. What are we doing wrong?
—Dorothy Dreyer, Hutto, Texas
Melinda: Young trees often don't have the energy reserves to support fruit to maturity. Soil moisture problems also can cause fruit to drop before it's ready. Many gardeners remove the first few sets of fruit on young trees. This allows the plant to use its energy to develop strong roots instead of fruit. Once the plant is established, it should be fine. Dry or waterlogged soils also can cause fruit to fall prematurely. Make sure the plant receives sufficient water, and mulch the soil to keep surface roots moist. Container-grown plants should be planted in a pot that's at least 1-1/2 feet in diameter and checked once a day for water.