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Monthly Archives: August 2015
People who have talked to me about pest issues on their Citrus Trees know I’m a real fan of bathing my trees. Spraying soapy water onto a leaf is only useful if used as a biodegradable wetting agent to maximize adhesion to the leaf surface, so foliar nutrients don't just roll off the leaves.Although the soapy spray will probably drown the offending bug, it won’t fix all the issues the pest caused your tree. So I don’t recommend it.
If you are spraying soapy water to drown the offenders, you are not fixing the massive problem of honeydew. Honeydew is a sweet, sticky liquid that plant sucking insects excrete as they ingest large quantities of sap from a plant. Eventually, if the honeydew isn’t washed off, fungi will begin to grow which is sooty mold. Although sooty molds don’t infect plants, they can indirectly damage the plant by coating the leaves so it reduces photosynthesis, which can stunt plant growth and cause leaf drop and in sever cases branch die-back.
THINGS YOU WILL NEED
- ☼ Warm Water
- ☼ Dishpan
- ☼ Dawn Dish Soap
- ☼ Washcloth
- ☼ Toothbrush
- ☼ Ziplock Bag
- ☼ Wide Masking Tape
- ☼ Tanglefoot
- 1. Squirt Dawn dish soap into a dishpan with warm water, make sure your solution is nice and sudsy.
- 2. Pick one branch and start washing top and bottom of leaves with a wash cloth. Pay attention to the bottom of the leaf, this is where most eggs and pests will be found. Also pay attention to any distorted leaves. Some aphid species inject a toxin into plants, which causes leaves to curl and distort. Depending on the severity of the underside of the leaf determines what approach I take. Sometimes I will wash the leaf repeatedly, most the time If I find a pest and it’s distorted the leaf I will remove the leaf and store in a ziplock bag.
- 3. Use toothbrush in crevices that the cloth can’t reach.
- 4. Once the tree is completely washed, treat top and underside of leaves with Horticultural Oil OR Neem Oil.
- 5. Wrap masking tape above or below the graft area, STICKY SIDE OUT.
- 6. Add Tanglefoot to sticky part of tape, this is a barrier to keep crawling pests from gaining an access point to your foliage.
Do NOT place tree against anything where foliage is touching a railing or wall. Check tree in a week, you may have to rewash only a section. Re-apply oil to the whole tree again.
I give my trees about 6 baths annually, because happy trees are clean trees.
Wishing you the best success in your citrus growing!
How would you feel if I was in charge of your care, but I simply failed to feed you?
How long would you expect to survive? Yet this is what happens in many cases with plants that are expected to produce.
If you starve a tree, it will starve you.
If you feed a tree, it will feed you.
Citrus are heavy nitrogen feeders and nitrogen leaches out the fastest of all nutrients.
It is important to have a good fertilizing schedule, due to the leaching of nutrients in sandy soils and the fact that citrus require high nitrogen intake. Trees simply cannot produce fruit if the tree is lacking nitrogen. When watering your Citrus many nutrients are lost. So FEED FEED FEED your trees!
- ☼ Osmocote Flower and Vegetable Smart-Release Plant Food: twice a year.
- ☼ Espoma Citrus Tone for Citrus and Avocado: every 30 days (approx. 3 tsps. for a 15" pot)
☼ Miracle-Gro Miracid, Acid-Loving Plant Food 30-10-10: every 2 weeks to 30 days. (DO NOT USE IF YOU'RE USING ESPOMA)
- ☼ Fertilome Concentrate Fish Emulsion Fertilizer
- ☼ Dyna-Gro DYFOL008 Foliage Pro
- ☼ Miracle-Gro Cactus Palm and Citrus Potting Mix
If you have just received your tree, then I suggest you not re-pot your tree until you have waited at least 2 weeks to insure the tree is not in shock. Re-potting is the worst thing you can do to a tree that is under stress. If your tree is having issues, DO NOT RE-POT!
Many people make this mistake thinking they will fix a problem and end up making it worse.
Use Miracle-Gro Cactus Palm and Citrus Potting Mix, when you’re ready to re-pot.
February (beginning of the fertilizing year)
March through October
- Week 1: Espoma OR Miracle-Gro, Spray Dyna-Gro on Foliage
- Week 2: Spray Dyna-Gro on Foliage
- Week 3: Fish Emulsion, Spray Dyna-Gro on Foliage
- Week 4: Spray Dyna-Gro on Foliage
December and January are rest period for trees planted in the ground, if tree is inside you can continue to feed.
Foliar feeding is important and Dyna-Gro has 16 of the minerals essential for optimum plant growth. Using Dyna-Gro gives plants the nutrition they need. Plants take up the complete nutrient formula and foliar applications have greater mineral uptake than regular soil fertilizing.
Foliar Application: Mix a quarter to half tsp. per gallon of water and spray directly on leaves. It is important that this is done only in the morning and sprayed on underside of leaves as well, use a biodegradable wetting agent to maximize adhesion to the leaf surface, so the nutrients don't just roll off the leaves.
If you have any questions about fertilizing, you can reply to this blog with a comment or call us at 229-299-5555.
Wishing you great success in your citrus growing!