Satsuma Tree Fruit Loss

Daniel Gill  |  6/24/2015 1:52:25 AM

Dear Mr. Gill,

I have two healthy satsuma trees that have been fed and watered regularly. Both trees developed lots of fruit but recently many of the immature fruit have begun to drop from the trees. Lots of fruit remain but I wanted to know if this fruit loss is natural or if I need to do something to the trees. Both trees have been treated for whiteflies and the leaves are green and lush. Your help would be deeply appreciated.

Many thanks, Dan C.


Citrus trees produce far more flowers than they could ever ripen as fruit, so a good percentage of the flowers fall off without making fruit. But, the citrus tree can still set more fruit than it can carry to ripeness. If it does, it will drop some of the fruit during the season to adjust the crop to what it can carry. This is disappointing, but if the tree tries to ripen too many fruit it can reduce the quality (the tree can make only so much sugar, and it has to be distributed between all of the fruit). Citrus trees also tend to drop some fruit in late summer as they make the final adjustment to the crop.

Stress can also cause a tree to drop fruit. High populations of insects like whiteflies or some diseases can stress the tree and cause additional fruit drop. Weather conditions like drought or excessive rainfall can also stress trees and add to the normal fruit drop.

Sounds like your trees are in good shape and are likely holding on to all the fruit they can. All the rain is not helping things.

Dan Gill
Consumer Horticulture Specialist

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