By: Teo Spengler
You love your lemon tree, with its fragrant blossoms and juicy fruit, but insects also love this citrus. There are a number of lemon tree insect pests. These include relatively harmless bugs, like aphids, and more serious pests, like citrus rust mite, one of the insects that affect lemons rather than foliage. Read on for more information about how to get rid of insects on lemon trees.
Lemon Tree Insect Pests
Some lemon tree pests are insects that affect most of the plants in your garden. Aphids are a good example. Masses of these small insects appear with the new, green foliage in springtime. They can damage young trees if not controlled by natural predators such as the ladybug. Bringing in ladybugs to control aphids is a good, organic option for treatment.
If the leaves of your lemon tree curl and you see little passageways carved into the foliage, your lemon tree pests may include the citrus leaf miner. True to its name, a leaf miner mines passageways through the outer layer of leaves to feed on the soft tissue beneath.
These lemon tree insect pests can weaken a young tree, but make little difference to a mature, established tree. Natural predators are a big help in ridding the lemon tree of these insects. If you have a lot of lemon trees attacked, you can get these lemon tree pests by introducing another predator, the parasitoid wasp.
Treating Pests of Lemon Trees
You can sometimes get rid of insects on lemon trees by spraying the trees frequently with oil sprays. This treatment can be very effective for the Asian citrus psyllid. These small lemon tree insect pests cause damage to new growth as they feed, due to their toxic saliva. Oil sprays do not have the downsides of toxic pesticides, yet prove effective against these insects.
Horticultural oil sprays are also effective in treating pests of lemon trees known as citrus rust mites. These are insects that affect lemons, for the mites attack immature fruit. They can also attack foliage and leaves in some cultivars. Repeated oil sprays will get rid of insects on lemon trees.
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Read more about Lemon Trees
Natural Remedies for Spider Mites on Lemon Trees
Lemon trees (Citrus limon) produce their dazzling, yellow fruit that offers the promise of a harvest full of opportunity. But when spider mites take claim over your tree, your visions of lemon curd and meringue quickly begin to fade. Particularly if you prefer organic methods, consider natural remedies to rid your lemon trees of these tiny, web-producing pests. In addition, grow lemon trees in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9a through 11 for the best chance of success.
Treatments for Curling Citrus Leaves
Soil amendment, applying an insecticide, and maintaining a proper cultural care program can help prevent and fix curling leaves in citrus trees. However, to deal with the problem successfully, identify the cause of the curling leaves first and address it specifically.
Here’s how to fix curling leaves in citrus trees:
1. Apply a potassium fertilizer
To treat leaf curl that comes with a yellow discoloration in lemon and orange trees, correct the soil pH to 6.0-7.0 and feed the plants with enough fertilizer – preferably one containing more potassium.
Citrus trees are among the plants that like coffee grounds. Therefore, a natural way to amend the soil and fix curling leaves in citrus trees is to apply coffee grounds to the soil to improve its pH and also feed the plants with the nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus they release.
Another organic solution instead of a synthetic potassium fertilizer is kelp meal that’s made of kelp and seaweed. It is a quick release plant food, so, apply it to the soil to improve the availability of potassium especially if there’s a deficiency of this nutrient.
2. Maintain a proper watering schedule
A great way to fix the curling leaves in citrus trees is to water mature plants deeply once every 10 days. Allow the soil to dry out in between the waterings to prevent overwatering the plant.
- In the summer, provide up to 5 gallons of water per week for potted citrus trees.
- For potted lemon, orange, and lime trees, allow the topmost 2-3 inches of soil to dry out before watering the plant.
Apart from maintaining a good watering schedule, apply mulch around your citrus trees to prevent excessive water loss from the soil when temperatures are high especially in the summer. This will ensure your plants maintain healthy leaves without curling and yellowing.
3. Treat citrus tree diseases
Inspect the leaves on your citrus tree to determine if the curling is caused by plant diseases that I discussed above. Leaf discoloration and loss of shape due to fungal infections will usually be accompanied by spots or small patches.
Treat fungal infections with a copper spray if it is severe and causing extensive damage. In addition, trim and prune the affected branches to ensure the fungal infection does not spread to other parts of the citrus tree.
4. Get rid of insect pests on curling citrus leaves
The most common reason for leaf deformation in citrus and other plants is pest infestation. You can easily kill pests on your indoor and outdoor plants by applying an insecticide.
- Spray the citrus tree with neem oil or an insecticidal soap to help control aphids, mites, and mealy bugs.
- For aphids, introduce predatory insects in your garden such as ants to help control the pests.
Whichever option you choose, ensure you cover the affected leaves to kill all the insect pests that are causing leaf curl in your lemon trees.
- Government of Western Australia, Department of Agriculture: Aphids in Citrus
- Texas A&M Extension: Understand How Cold Temperatures Affect Citrus Trees
I am a registered nurse passionate about gardening and home improvement.
I have blogged about everything from Japanese knotweed to mushroom and fungi to edible flowers.
I help newbie gardeners find their footing in gardening.