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Does your citrus tree look sooty?

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28 Feb, 2024

Does your citrus tree look sooty?

Citrus trees bring a Mediterranean flair to New Zealand gardens, but their vibrancy can be marred by sooty mould, a common issue caused by sap-sucking pests like aphids and scales. This dark, powdery fungus not only detracts from the tree’s appearance but also impedes photosynthesis, potentially hindering growth and fruit production. To ensure the health and vitality of citrus trees, proactive care is essential. 

Regular inspections are essential for early pest detection. Keep an eye out for signs of infestations, such as sticky honeydew secretions and black mould on leaves and stems. Natural predators like ladybugs and lacewings can help control pest populations, while horticultural oils such as Conqueror Oil and Neem Oil will suffocate the sap-sucking pests.

Pruning away heavily infested branches and maintaining a clean garden environment minimizes pest shelter and reduces the spread of mould. Proper watering practices, such as deep but infrequent watering to prevent moisture accumulation, are crucial. Additionally, balanced fertilization with micronutrients like zinc and manganese promotes tree health and resilience against pests and diseases.

By being vigilant, you can manage sooty citrus trees effectively, promoting good growth.

Citrus can produce massive fruit yields for such small trees, so it’s worth spending a bit of time caring for them.