Need some help keeping my navel orange healthy. The first image shows the (semi-dwarf) navel orange shortly after I planted it in September 2012 (around 8 to 9 months ago from writing this post). The following image is from June 2013 (a couple of days ago). As you can see it originally had a healthy dark leaf but the leaf is now looking a lot paler and I'm not sure if that's a sign of some sort of deficiency. The tree is in Phoenix, AZ so gets plenty of sun (and heat) but is well watered to compensate.

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  • Hey! Have you seen the University of Arizona's publishing on Citrus Trees? It's a PDF that's got everything from fertilization to exact watering requirements per size and month. This one also utilizes the cals.arizona.edu/azmet/data/00sum.htm ET (pan evaporation) for exact watering. I've also found that forming a "basin" helps and you may need to mulch to help with water retainment. For my larger trees, merely filling in my basin doesn't really cut it; only a constant, slow drip so the water gets down to the roots. Happy fruiting! – rlb.usa Mar 27 '14 at 23:46
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    As a follow up 3.5 years later here is the progress on this tree: plaaant.com/plant/washington-navel-orange/… – Guy Feb 13 '17 at 13:57

Generally, yellowing of new leaves would be lack of iron or sulfur. Yellowing of old leaves would be lack of nitrogen (since N is mobile in the plant). Yellowing of the entire plant could be iron, or it could simply be over or underwatered. If you have reason to believe its iron deficiency, you could apply ferrous sulphate, which is water soluble and goes to work right away.

  • I think that I'm over watering it. It's on a drip line with a bunch of shrubs that get watered daily. How often should this be watered? – Guy Jun 28 '13 at 22:48
  • And a followup question. Once you've established that you've been over watering it how long should you "dry it out" for? – Guy Jun 28 '13 at 22:49
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    I don't know much about oranges specifically, more about plants in general and regular garden items, but it seems to me oranges grow in areas of high annual rainfall and in sandy soils where the water drains straight through. I do know cherry trees don't like wet feet and should be planted in raised beds,,, maybe oranges are the same. In other words, lots of water but great drainage. Also, AZ has dry air, whereas FL is crazy humid (I don't know much about CA). Its possible you could be facing some challenges. – Randy Jun 29 '13 at 0:46
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    I think I would start by loosen the soil around the roots to let air in. Overwatering is actually suffocating the roots. Maybe you can make some tunnels and fill with sand. I'd try to replicate the native environment... soil and weather. – Randy Jun 29 '13 at 0:48

Looks to me you are missing a nutrient in your soil and if I had to guess I would say it is iron. When a plant is missing iron it tends to yellow and not have the rich green the plant had when you first planted.

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    Welcome to the site! Please take a look at our tour page, and the help center pages for an overview of how this site works. We prefer to see answers that are detailed and complete, and that do not rely on external links (which can go bad over time). We also frown on overt self-promotion here, though you are welcome to include links in your profile. – Niall C. Jun 13 '13 at 14:18
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    To make this answer more complete, could you address how you would correct the iron deficiency? – Niall C. Jun 13 '13 at 14:23

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