How is this possible?
This article is actually going to dove tail from another one I just wrote last month. If you would like to catch up on that first, here is the link: Citrus Pruning
It covers when and how to prune citrus. It also covers what would happen if a branch is damaged from the cold closer to the trunk.
A quick recap: Cold damage on citrus trees can be very deceiving. If the damage is low on the branch, there might be enough energy in it to initiate growth, but, if the damage is not allowing nutrients from the roots, it will be a short lived flush
SO, with that being said, what am I dealing with now? An entire tree!!
This was a Republic of Texas Orange. It had started out with a real nice flush of growth and I though it was going to be fine. It survived the winter of 2013/14, so I had no reason to doubt it survived the 2014/15 winter when I saw all the leaves coming out.
About a week ago it all started to wilt. With as hot as its been, I figured it just wasn't getting enough water. So I gave it a good soaking. It never even started to perk up.
I had waited until the new growth looked good before I cut all the dead material off, as you can see in the picture below, it was quite a bit.
I really thought I was in the clear, until the wilting started. So, I went on a search to see what was wrong. I guess I wasn't really paying attention, or I just overlooked it.
You can probably see the problem better in this picture. Did you notice all the cracks in the trunk, just above where the large branch was cut off?
That is cold damage.
Apparently, there was enough stored energy in the tree above that damage to initiate some new spring growth. However, when that energy was used up, it could not receive anymore from the roots. Hence the wilting and death of the leaves.
I pretty much had given up on this tree and was going to toss it, but I have been really busy as of late and hadn't had a chance.
Then, the tree itself showed me that I should never completely give up, at least not right away.
There are a few roots that are growing just above the soil line and lo and behold, this showed up:
If this was a grafted tree, I would not be as excited. That would just be the rootstock coming back and depending on what it was, might not be worth keeping. This tree is growing on it's own roots, so this is the Republic of Texas coming back!!
It will be a few years before I see fruit again, but as Dr. Frankenstein once said, "IT IS ALIVE!!"
Everything eventually will die for one reason or another, that is a fact of life. If you get nothing else from this article, remember this, when one of your plants look dead, look at all of the factors of what may have killed it, it might be reversible, or it might be salvageable. The truth is, Never Give Up, until it is an absolute surety of its demise!!
If you have any questions about this, any of my other articles or something else pertaining to gardening, please feel free to e-mail me. I can also be found on Facebook as The Citrus Guy.