March is a busy time for citrus. It’s getting closer to harvest time for many varieties and milder autumn weather can lead to a flurry of new foliage.
New foliage on well fed citrus trees is wonderfully lush but unfortunately a magnet for pests, which are attracted to the soft young leaves.
Citrus leaf miner is one of the insect pests that can appear again in autumn. The adult citrus leaf miner moths lay their eggs on new leaves, with small larvae hatching out and tunnelling into the leaves, causing leaves to curl and distort and forming silvery trails. Citrus leaf miner is a pest that needs to be prevented rather than cured. Start spraying new citrus leaves with Yates® Nature’s Way® Citrus & Ornamental Spray or Pestoil when they are around 4cm long. This creates an oil film over the leaves which deters the citrus leaf miner moth from laying her eggs. Spray thoroughly every 5 – 14 days throughout autumn to maintain leaf miner protection.
Tender new autumn foliage can also be susceptible to attack from aphids. Scale insects will also be enjoying the delicious sugary sap inside leaves and stems. Both of these insect pests can be controlled with Yates Scale Gun. Start spraying as soon as aphids appear, including the undersides of the leaves. For scale control, spray both the leaves and over stems, ensuring good contact on the scale themselves as the spray works via contact action.
March is an ideal time to plant a new citrus tree. It will have time to develop new roots while the soil is still warm before the cool weather arrives and be well on its way to being established before the heat of next summer.
For existing citrus trees, Organix All In One around the root zone of citrus trees will improve the organic matter content of the soil and encourage earthworms. Earthworms help aerate and loosen the soil which makes root growth easier. Also apply a fresh layer of mulch around the roots, which helps reduce moisture loss.
Fertilise with citrus fertiliser.