Malpighia glabra (Barbados cherry tree or acerola) - leaves curling up and falling off

gscorsin

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Hey, people! :) That's my first thread in this forum - and, actually, in 'gardening' forums at all -, so I already apologize for any mistakes in this post. By the way, I'm Giovanni, 20yo, from Três Lagoas, Brazil.

Well, around two weeks ago, me and my boyfriend went to the flower/gardening shop and got ourselves a bonsai (Malpighia glabra, acerola) - the bonsai's name's Raul, btw haha. Raul was adapting quite well in here - we live in a tropical region, in which now, in the Summer, temperatures reach between 28 - 34ºC during the days, depending if it's a sunny day, with the highest temperatures, or a rainy/cloudy day, which is frequent this season.

We live in an apartment, 5th floor, with a balcony turned East (direct sunlight until midday) and have some other plants in here. Raul's first week was amazing, he was still that pretty little tree with shiny and strong green leaves, but then something happened last week (I have some theories about what may have happened) and Raul's leaves started to look a little dry, just a few of them. As the days went by, more leaves were curling up, which made me think of, maybe, overexposure to light, so I brought him indoors yesterday. Today, he's as in the picture I've attached - almost all leaves curling up, lots of leaves falling/hanging. I scratched his branch to check for Raul's circulation and it was okay - still very green, which is good, right?

Anyway, what may have caused this 'phenomenom' during last week?
1) I forgot to water Raul one day;
2) Too much light exposure (here in the region where I live, the sun and the heat are quite intense, even during the cloudy/rainy days in which although there are clouds everywhere, sunlight passes through them, reaching a quite bright light through the white clouds);
3) The Summer rains started, and that's the greatest rainy season we've got in here - it doesn't rain all days, everyday, but between VERY hot and clear sky days, comes those heavy windy rains;

What can I do to help my buddy Raul? :( That's our first bonsai ever.

plantas raul.jpg
 

Carol 83

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Did you let it dry out? They are pretty tolerant, but if let to dry out, they are toast. I have a few, and lost one suddenly, because it got too dry. They don't want to be soaking wet, but keep the soil moist. If it is still green, when you scratch the trunk, it's among the living. Best of luck.
 

Bonsai Nut

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Looks to me like root problems. Normally if a tree crashes like this it means the roots got dried out, or someone made a mistake like pouring herbicide on it. If the roots are stressed due to overwatering, the damage is usually slower to show up, and doesn't often impact the entire tree at the same time.

I lost a tree last year due to letting it dry out. My gardener "adjusted" a sprinkler head, and a tree that had been getting irrigated was suddenly just a few inches outside of the water arc. It took two days of Southern California summer sun... and it was dead before I even knew it was stressed.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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yes, too dry for even one day can kill it. Or rather drop all the leaves. There is a short window, a one day too dry will just knock the leaves off, a bit longer too dry and it will just plain die.

Good news is, keep it watered for the next few weeks, it might come back! So don't throw it out. Just keep it moist. See if in the next 6 to 8 weeks leaves sprout.
 
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