Curry tree sapling, can I save it from fungus?

Hi folks,
Gardening in San Jose, California -- USDA Zone 9, Sunset Zone 16.
Sieven months ago my wife bought a curry tree (Murraya koenigii) by mail order from a nursery in Southern California, along with two other plants. They were all shipped in 3" pots. I haven't had any luck getting any of these plants to grow, but the curry tree is the most important one for me to try to save.
We bought the tree because my wife is from Southeast Asia, and the leaves from this plant are used in cooking. Our cat immediately discovered that it was edible as well -- she nibbled off half the leaves just a few days after we got it! I moved it out of the cat's reach, and it recovered reasonably well.
The nursery's directions said to wait at least two weeks before transplanting to a larger pot. I gave it four weeks, then I moved it outdoors. And, basically, it hasn't grown since. I had it in full sun for a few weeks, and it suffered from leaf burn, so I moved it to partial shade. It put out a few new leaves, then it stopped. All the leaves have looked droopy for several weeks now, though they have stayed green. I water well, but drainage is also very good. I should not be drowning the plant.
Recently I noticed something that has spelled doom for me with other plants -- a ring of whitish fungus or mold girdling the base of the trunk. So, is there any way I can kill the infestation?
Thanks for your advice...
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Hi, John,
That's a lot of reading. Even so, I will be in familiar territory when I read it all. I'm a biologist by profession. While my specialty is mammalian immunology, I don't neglect the rest of the living world. I'm moving California native plants into my garden, and much has been written on their relationship with mycorrhizae.
Still, looking back at my first post, I can see that I wasn't entirely clear in describing my problem. I don't have this little tree in the ground yet. So I'm not sure how your advice applies to me right now. I received the tree in a 3" pot. Four weeks later, I moved it to a 4" pot. The pot has been outdoors, in a few different locations, for several months. I probably can't transplant the tree to my intended final location until I can get it to recover from this fungus. It will probably have to spend this winter indoors.
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Any questions you can phone me at 610-864-5251. I will share what I can.
John
--
Sincerely,
John A. Keslick, Jr.
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Hi, John,
That's a lot of reading. Even so, I will be in familiar territory when I read it all. I'm a biologist by profession. While my specialty is mammalian immunology, I don't neglect the rest of the living world. I'm moving California native plants into my garden, and much has been written on their relationship with mycorrhizae.
Still, looking back at my first post, I can see that I wasn't entirely clear in describing my problem. I don't have this little tree in the ground yet. So I'm not sure how your advice applies to me right now. I received the tree in a 3" pot. Four weeks later, I moved it to a 4" pot. The pot has been outdoors, in a few different locations, for several months. I probably can't transplant the tree to my intended final location until I can get it to recover from this fungus. It will probably have to spend this winter indoors.
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John Any errors you see please let me know. Thanks!!

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Is the ring on the plant, or on the soil around the plant?
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Hi, Joe,
The infestation is on the bark of the tree. There does not appear to be any infestation in the soil.
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wrote in message

I'd wipe it off with a solution of ordinary vinegar, diluted 50/50 with water. Then, wait & see if it returns. Meanwhile, back off on the water if the plant has less leaf surface than you think it should.
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Hello again, Joe,
I tried your advice about 10 days ago. So far, the fungus hasn't surged back after I wiped it off. However, the trunk is still a bit discolored, whitish, where I did the wiping. I also learned that the bark where the fungus has attacked my little tree is delicate to nonexistent. That explains the droopy leaves -- the tree is nearly girdled.
This tree is really small. The trunk isn't even as thick as a pencil, and it's under a foot tall. It's a shame, but I might still lose it. Is there an inexpensive way to mimic the missing bark, while I coax the tree to recover?
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wrote in message

Mimic it how? Functionally? No. But, various things can make life difficult for fungus. More light, more air circulation, higher temps.
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