Time to check on your citrus trees as we found out today. Our lemon tree has just recovered from gall wasps and now it has a leafminer attacking the leaves.
Here is some great information about Cirtus Leafminer and how to organically remove it from your citrus trees. Get the kids involved and use a magnifying glass to follow the squiggles and try and find the moth or its larvae. You can also find a great video from Gardening Australia about the pest.
Citrus leafminer is a pest that attacks all varieties of citrus, including some Australian native species. The adult is a tiny, night flying moth with a wingspan of only five millimetres. But it’s not the moth that actually does the damage, it’s their larvae. Eggs are laid on new leaves where they hatch and tunnel or mine their way through the leaves leaving a squiggly, silver trail in their path.
- Symptoms: Squiggly lines on the leaves are the first sign and the leaves then become distorted, which inhibits their photosynthesising ability. This won’t kill trees, but they will be stunted and unhealthy, reducing yield. When fully grown, the larvae will curl the leaf around for protection while they pupate. The cycle only takes two to three weeks, so it’s quite possible for numerous generations to occur in a season.
- Control: Natural predators such as parasitic wasps and lacewings are useful with helping to control them but unfortunately they’re not always around. A simple organic solution is possible if action is taken when the pest is first noticed. Cut off any damaged, curled or rolled leaves that might be hiding the pupae. Spray with horticultural oil to deter the moth from laying new eggs. The oil won’t kill the larvae which is why it’s important to remove any infested growth. Spray first thing in the morning to avoid spraying beneficial insects which are less active at this time. This also reduces the chance of burning foliage. Certified organic oils can be purchased from any good garden centre or you could make your own.
- Recipe: Mix a cup of ordinary vegetable oil, a teaspoon of liquid detergent. Dilute 40 to 1 with water, mix well and spray.
Information from : Gardening Australia
It’s a great time to get this under control now so that the tree has time to recover and grow for fruiting season. the kids are already looking forward to making lemonade.