Baby orange tree advice.


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Hello community!

I purchased a baby orange tree from home depot about 3 months ago. Here are some photos of what it looks like today. It's about 4.5 feet tall:


Firstly, I'm not even sure if put in the ground properly. Did I?

As you can see from the photos, much foliage is being chewed off. Should I spray it with neem oil at night?

I was told to water it every morning. I should also give it Azelite and Plant-Toner plant food once a week. I'm in central FL if that helps.

If anyone can please let me know if I've been doing the right thing. It doesn't seem to be dying but doesn't seem to be thriving either..
 
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Basically, your tree looks good. Good root flare, good foliage color, both old and new foliage looks good. There isn't much you can do about it but it appears to be growing into the sun which means it is getting more shade than it likes on one side of the tree. Instead of Azelite do you mean Azomite? Azomite is a mineral additive, not a fertilizer as it contains scant amounts of NPK. It is really good stuff and is normally used at planting and incorporated into the soil at that time and perhaps once per year afterward on the surface out to the drip line. You are fertilizing much too often. Plant Tone is a great fertilizer. It is slow acting and acts in soil for quite a while. It is just a waste of good fertilizer and money to fertilize with that product that often. Citrus needs fertilizer but IMO no more than once per month until good root establishment and after that about once every 6 months. A tree can use only X amounts of fertilizer and the rest is unused. It also appears that your tree is being chewed on by either insects or caterpillars, probably caterpillars as evidenced by the chewing of the leaf margins. Neem Oil is an insecticide but it is marginal. It is better used as a miticide or fungicide than an insecticide. Its best use is for killing insect eggs. It also has a short shelf life once opened. Products that contain Bt (Bacillus thuringensis) is the absolute best product for the control of caterpillars but since you don't know exactly what is eating your tree a product containing spinosad is the best thing you can use as it effectively kills caterpillars and most insects. Many products contain spinosad but I suppose Captain Jacks is one of the better-known products. Any nursery or gardening center will have a spinosad insecticide. Both spinosad and the Bt are totally organic and safe for people and pets. One thing I would do ASAP is to remove all of the grass for about a 3-foot radius around the tree. Then add about 3 inches of compost and mulch to this area. Make sure to keep it off of the base of the tree.
 
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Basically, your tree looks good. Good root flare, good foliage color, both old and new foliage looks good. There isn't much you can do about it but it appears to be growing into the sun which means it is getting more shade than it likes on one side of the tree. Instead of Azelite do you mean Azomite? Azomite is a mineral additive, not a fertilizer as it contains scant amounts of NPK. It is really good stuff and is normally used at planting and incorporated into the soil at that time and perhaps once per year afterward on the surface out to the drip line. You are fertilizing much too often. Plant Tone is a great fertilizer. It is slow acting and acts in soil for quite a while. It is just a waste of good fertilizer and money to fertilize with that product that often. Citrus needs fertilizer but IMO no more than once per month until good root establishment and after that about once every 6 months. A tree can use only X amounts of fertilizer and the rest is unused. It also appears that your tree is being chewed on by either insects or caterpillars, probably caterpillars as evidenced by the chewing of the leaf margins. Neem Oil is an insecticide but it is marginal. It is better used as a miticide or fungicide than an insecticide. Its best use is for killing insect eggs. It also has a short shelf life once opened. Products that contain Bt (Bacillus thuringensis) is the absolute best product for the control of caterpillars but since you don't know exactly what is eating your tree a product containing spinosad is the best thing you can use as it effectively kills caterpillars and most insects. Many products contain spinosad but I suppose Captain Jacks is one of the better-known products. Any nursery or gardening center will have a spinosad insecticide. Both spinosad and the Bt are totally organic and safe for people and pets. One thing I would do ASAP is to remove all of the grass for about a 3-foot radius around the tree. Then add about 3 inches of compost and mulch to this area. Make sure to keep it off of the base of the tree.
Yes! I meant Azomite. I was following the schedule of 'weekly' azomite + plantfood according to a Nursery. But I can always cut back if that is too excessive.

They also told me to water the tree every single day for the first few months. I thought it was excessive but they assured me because I'm in Florida, that is what they need.

You said: "Make sure to keep it off of the base of the tree" Do you mean, the compost and mulch? How much compost and mulch should I spread around the tree?

What do you mean by "growing into the sun"? Since it's already in the ground, is it too late to re-locate it?

I really appreciate your help, thank you.
 
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Yes! I meant Azomite. I was following the schedule of 'weekly' azomite + plantfood according to a Nursery. But I can always cut back if that is too excessive.

They also told me to water the tree every single day for the first few months. I thought it was excessive but they assured me because I'm in Florida, that is what they need.

You said: "Make sure to keep it off of the base of the tree" Do you mean, the compost and mulch? How much compost and mulch should I spread around the tree?

What do you mean by "growing into the sun"? Since it's already in the ground, is it too late to re-locate it?

I really appreciate your help, thank you.
Yes, cut back on the fertilizer and azomite. Fertilize about once per month and use the azomite about every 6 months. Florida's soil is usually mostly sand so watering more often is usually a good idea, however, watering every day seems a bit excessive but perhaps watering this often is OK, perhaps for another couple of months and then change to once per week. Keep the mulch away from the base of the tree. If it builds up around the base it will stop air circulation and cause fungal problems. Get a piece of string about 3 feet long and loosely tie it to the base of the tree and use this to make a circle around the tree. You will then have a circle of about 6 feet in diameter. Remove all of the grass. Then get bricks or metal edging or something to make a barrier to help keep the mulch and compost contained. Put down about 1-2 inches of good compost and then put down 2 or 3 inches of good mulch. Growing into the sun means exactly that, growing into the sun. From the pictures it appears that more growth is happening on one side of the tree. It shows longer limbs and more foliage than on the other side. And this happens when a plant does not get all of the light it requires. I notice a big tree with a lot of shade in the picture which is probably the reason for this. At this late date, I would not change the location of the tree for fear of doing severe harm to the root system.
 
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Ok sounds good. I was told I don't need mulch which is why I didn't buy it initially.

Also I don't have any compost but I'll try and get some asap. Thanks for you help
 
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Ok sounds good. I was told I don't need mulch which is why I didn't buy it initially.

Also I don't have any compost but I'll try and get some asap. Thanks for you help
Whoever told you that you don't need mulch is not much of a plant person. By putting down compost and mulch you keep a steady nutrient supply for the plant extra from the Azomite. Mulch also helps retain moisture to help save you from watering so much. Mulch also helps with temperature control during really hot weather. Mulch also makes keeping nutrient robbing grass away a much easier thing to maintain. And it also keeps you from running over the tree with your lawnmower or injuring the tree with a weed eater.
 
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