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I have a little garden in Rozelle about 5km from the centre of Sydney. I love to grow as much organic food as I can in a tiny space. The garden calms and excites me, and is a wonderful little green space in a big city. This blog is a record plotting the changes over seasons and years.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Citrus pests and diseases

It has been a while since my last blog post. I have a pretty good excuse though. I am submitting my PhD thesis in under a month, and am trying to prioritise thesis writing over everything else. 

This post is mainly for me. I need a quick list of citrus pests and diseases and what I can do about them, so I can look back on it rather than looking up my big books. My mandarin, lemon, lime, ruby grapefruit and kaffir lime seem to have constant issues (despite getting the most attention)! Citrus seem to have so many pests and diseases. I have spent hours over the past month killing stink bugs, only to notice a myriad of other citrus issues. I am quietly wondering about whether they are going to be long term residents of the garden or not.  For now, let's pretend that they are here to stay.  I'd love some help with identifying diseases/deficiencies. And other tips for healthy citrus! Here is my list so far......
PEST: Bronze-orange bugs (stink bugs); CONTROL: big tub of boiling water with detergent, protect your eyes, double glove, then pick them off one by one and throw them in the boiling water.

PEST: mealy bug; CONTROL: if there aren't too many (there aren't) just chop off affected leaves and branches.
PEST: citrus gall wasp (with a stink bug in the background); CONTROL: cut off completely (and the book says 'burn by the end of August'). I put the cuttings in a plastic bag and put it in the ordinary bin.

DISEASE or DEFICIENCY: I don't know! Anyone have suggestions?
DEFICIENCY: Darker veins, yellowing surrounds = iron deficiency (I think) REMEDY: iron chelates used as directed on the box. Not sure what the spots are. Anyone???

PEST: citrus leaf miner; CONTROL: (1) avoid too much water in summer/autumn to avoid new leaf flush, (2) eco-oil or pest oil on affected leaves 


Endah Murniyati said...

Interesting information. I have 7 variety of citrus. So many trouble that I found in growing them. Thank you for sharing.

Corinne (aka Rinny of Arabia) said...

WE once vacuumed the stink bugs off our tree. It worked, but I don't know if it's an accepted practice.

Lanie at Edible Urban Garden said...

Thanks Endah and Rin. I think vacumming is a great idea. Makes disposing of them easy too (just throw out the bag). I might give it a try.

Louise Glut said...

First things first... all the best with the finishing touches on that PhD!

Secondly, yikes! You have all those problems with your citrus? When I lived in Sydney I had huge problems with the stink bugs, and a bit of yellow veining which was dealt with by iron chelates, but the other issues I have never experienced.

I wonder if an overall salve might be really looking into your soil health? Maybe test the pH? If the pH is right then the iron problem is resolved. The other thing might be to consider whether you are feeding enough - citrus are heavy feeders. The other things might be pruning? Are you making sure you are cutting out the dead or dying or spindly growth?

I often find if the soil is good, pH right and the plant has vigorous growth then many ( not all) issues are solved. Of course it doesn't solve the stink bugs who seem to like the new and vigorous growth.

Lanie at Edible Urban Garden said...

Thanks Louise for great suggestions. Feeding is OK but you are right - soil health and overall tree health has to be looked at. I'll do a pH test as you suggested and go from there. Again, thanks.

Lanie at Edible Urban Garden said...

Thanks Louise for great suggestions. Feeding is OK but you are right - soil health and overall tree health has to be looked at. I'll do a pH test as you suggested and go from there. Again, thanks.

thegreenbackyard said...

I would agree Iron deficiency for the yellow spots and dark veins. All the rest I have no idea :)Citrus are the 'problem child' of the backyard fruit kingdom.
I went to the Gardening Australia Live event recently and all the Q&A sessions restricted citrus questions to 3 only.

Lanie at Edible Urban Garden said...

Thanks thegreenbackyard - they are the problem child! Makes me feel a bit less incompetent! Ha.
Everything else in the garden is healthy and productive.

Jo said...

I find it amazing that my citrus seems to suffer all sorts of leaf problems, but those trees just keep on giving, up to our ears in lemons here, and it is the same every year. I keep the pH right, feed them diligently, and somehow they keep going, despite plagues and pests..
All the best with that thesis. Write! Write!

Cat Woods said...

Love your blog Lanie. Are you on twitter? Would love to follow you! Hope you'll visit my blog at xCat