I’ve heard of stunting from carrying too much fruit, but I am wondering whether lack of water for an immature tree - over a prolonged time - has the same effect.
I have multiple citrus trees that have been on a dedicated irrigation loop (one of three loops in the yard). The amount of water they get for each time the irrigation runs is adjusted based on the evapotranspiration for my location and time of year, so I know they are getting the right amounts of water (as also validated by other, successful citrus growers in the neighborhood).
However, here is where I went wrong: While I set the individual irrigation loops properly, I made the mistake of running all of them at the same time. With the citrus at the highest point on the property, they ended up not getting nearly enough water over the last 1.5 years. All of them were 2 year olds when I first planted them and they have remained pretty much the same size since then. I have found extensive root systems on them, so they are looking for water, but I am now worried that the “drought” as effectively stunted them…