Melicope Rubra

archadesJuly 27, 2014

Hi, I was wondering if anyone had some tips for growing the Melicope Rubra/Little Evodia tree. I bought one from the local nursery but I am having trouble with older leaves going yellow and eventually falling off.

Soil preparation: I dug out a 1m circle about 50cm deep and added soil I bought from the local landscaping supplier, added some perlite and blood and bone, mixed it well and planted the tree with it.

It has been yellowing for about 1-2 months now since I planted it about 3 months ago, I've tried adding trace nutrient fertilizer and Thrive but still the same issues. The new growth looks pretty healthy and green but older growth seems to go yellow and fall off.

It is getting a bit of water daily usually with rain or irrigation.

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I've only got the Melicope elleryana. But it sounds to me that you might have over done it with the fertiliser. A lot of the natives don't need much fertiliser, especially when they're first planted out. Once their root system has reestablished then some fertiliser on the surface is okay as it slowly gets washed down into the top soil layer.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 8:45AM
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Ah ok. Will it fix itself up? Do I just leave it and let it do it's thing?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 2:03AM
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funnelweb(NSW Aust)

Yeah, the blood and bone would have caused the yellowing, great stuff but NEVER use it with natives. One or two months since you planted it! Probably too late to take it out, wash it off and plant it some where else but I think that's what I'd be doing.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 4:22AM
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If you're still getting some good new growth out of it then you might just be able to give it a good flush, provided you have soil with reasonably good drainage. Dry season water gets used up or dries up, so mineral salts accumulate. So a good unseasonal downpour could ease the situation for your plant.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 7:14AM
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Does anybody know if melicope rubra will grow satisfactorily as far south as Sydney? In particular will it flower?
I'd love to grow one near my front door.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 5:25AM
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"Distribution and Ecology: Occurs in CYP and NEQ. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 900 m. Grows in and on the margins of drier, more seasonal rain forest. Also occurs in New Guinea."

If it grows up to 900 metres altitude then it probably has some cold tolerance. So sheltered in Sydney is probably worth a try.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 6:10PM
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Yeah, I figure they probably do grow in a good spot in Sydney too, but I'm still trying to find hard evidence before I try growing them. I searched the web for photos of it in Flickr, and the southernmost I could find a photo of it in flower is at the Botanic Gardens in Coffs Harbour, latitude about 30 degrees south (flowering quite nicely too).
Anybody know of one growing in Sydney?
I saw that Daleys Nursery has them for sale in forestry tubes.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 12:41AM
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A lil update. In the last week or 2, most of the leaves have fallen off, it only has about 8 stems and most are completely bare. There are a few stems with very small leaves which looks like new growth but maybe 10 leaves total, like 5mm wide x 20mm if that? All the proper size leaves fell off. It is watered daily via drip irrigation, it may have gotten wet feet as it's basically in a clay soil bowl with good soil inside. I am planning on making the drainage better.

I'm tempted to pull it completely out of the ground and rehome it or repot it until it sparks that a good idea?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2014 at 12:16PM
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Moving when it's a bit weak is probably not too good. But if it's in cold waterlogged clay then that is probably worse. In the Distribution and Ecology extract I posted above it says "Grows in and on the margins of drier, more seasonal rain forest." That means when the weather is colder it's also drier. If you only have flat ground it might be better to build a raised garden bed for it.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2014 at 4:53PM
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I got bored one day, pulled it out, and put it in the other side of the garden temporarily whilst i did work to change the original positions drainage, etc. Funnily enough the lil tiny leaflet thingies on stem grew some leaves over there and I had just the clay soil that has been there since we've had the house, a heap of gypsum and some of the same blood n bone I used in the original hole. This side of the house is my composting area where I am trying to get more organic matter into the soil and free it up more but it's only been a few months that I've tried and there is very little O.M there so far.

I made a big mound on top of the original position, put more perlite in, put in a drainage ditch with rocks and moved over a heap of the clay from the temporary spot with it. I used a big shovel and went deep under it and I believe I got the entire root ball, I don't think any roots got cut. I put it in the new position, staked it in so the wind wouldn't annoy it, put sugar cane mulch on top but didn't touch the bark with it and watered it in.

2 weeks in the leaves yellowed and dropped, the leaflets went brown so I'm not sure if it's just stressed or if it died off. I guess I'll see how it goes but it looks like it hates that position for some reason, the soil shouldn't much fertilizer in it as it didn't seem to mind on the other side.

The differences in position is the desired position has direct sun from about 1-2hours after sunrise till 1-2 hours before sunset, the other side has the same or maybe 1 hour less sunlight.

I'm guessing it didn't like the transplant or there is something about the area in the desired location it hates. I'll leave it an see what it does. So annoying as everything else I try to grow seems to go fine lol. Are there any other ways to get Ulysses butterflies to the garden? If this tree doesn't live I think I'll give up and move on to something more tough unless I just had an unlucky streak.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2014 at 9:21PM
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