Citrus Pest Control

All insects are not pests!  Most insects do no harm to your citrus trees. Some actually help get rid of the bad guys.  Know the good like ladybugs and lacewings from the bad ones before hastily acting.

Sometimes the products chosen for controlling pests can treat for fungus issues as well.

Common Citrus Pests

Aphids

A dying leaf from aphid infestation

Leaf Miner

The pictures below don’t due justice to the severity leaf miner.  Since I spray regularly it doesn’t reach a point where the leaf looks like artwork. Outdoor citrus trees can have a maze etched in many leaves.

Partially damaged leaf due to leaf miner on a citrus tree
Partially damaged leaf due to leaf miner on a citrus tree
Fairly serious damage to a leaf from a leaf miner.
Fairly serious damage from a leaf miner. As you can see, a huge portion of the leaf is missing with some dangling backwards.

Spider Mites

spider mite on citrus leaf

Mealy Bugs

 

White Flies

Scale Insects

Scale come in many different color and sizes.

Scale insect appearing on a citrus looks harmless but can become a huge issue in no time flat.
One scale can seem harmless, but they can multiple fast and infest a leaf as to not see any green on it. Using neem or horticultural oil over 3-4 applications a week apart will get rid of them for good.

 

Treatment

I look for products with OMRI certification for organic gardening. This means that my fruit will be organic.  What exactly ‘organic’ means is debatable. There are products that do not have the OMRI stamp of approval on the packaging. That does not mean it can’t be used for organic gardening. There is nothing inherently wrong with a product without an ‘organic’ or ‘for organic gardening’ label. One common product used for treating greasy spots is liquid copper fungicide, but you’ll have difficulty finding a copper fungicide solution with the OMRI label. There are concerns with copper build up in the soil, but if you follow the directions on the packaging that shouldn’t be an issue. Cooper Fungicide is approved for organic gardening and necessary for treatment of greasy spots.

My Products

Neem Oil

There are many options available. The percent of actual neem oil will vary from product to product, so refer to the packaging. I purchased a product that is nearly 100% neem oil and even carries the USDA Organic sticker on it.

cold-pressed organic neem oil

Horticultural Oil

Horticultural oil ingredients can vary quite a bit. I would look for a OMRI certified product especially here.

Horticultural Oil for fighting citrus pests

Citrus left on their Own

The important thing to remember is that citrus aren’t some pathetic, defenseless plants. Without some evolutionary self-protecting adaptations, they wouldn’t even exist today.

Next to my citrus trees there is a chain-linked fence covered in vines. The vine’s leaves are fast growing. In fact, they grow so quickly that preserving every leaf isn’t a concern for its survival and overall well-being.

Creepy Ivy Wrecked by Insects
Notice all the holes from insects. Only a couple feet away from my citrus collection.

Citrus, on the other hand, are evergreens, and would like to keep as many leafs for as long as possible and each as healthy as possible. The leaves naturally secret a chemical that turns off many insects and animals including my dog, Connie!

Healthy disease free citrus tree
Check out the lush citrus foliage in contrast to the vines in the background. Different survival strategies. Different payoffs.

Other Potential Problems