Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Home and Garden

Timely Tendings: Citrus care and garden pests

Spray to keep pests away

There is still time to spray your citrus trees for the fall. Use horticultural oil, fish oil or neem oil for aphids, whitefly and spider mites. Follow label directions carefully. Citrus leaves that are yellowing around the edge and distorted may be lacking a trace element. Apply minor elements to your citrus trees either as a foliage spray or as a drench to the soil. Carefully mix sprays to apply only the recommended amount as stated on the product label. Minor elements will correct yellowing due to deficiencies of iron, magnesium and manganese, and will also supply copper, zinc, boron and other needed elements.

Citrus fruit splitting and fruit drop may be a problem during the fall. This is a physiological problem that could be more pronounced just after a period of moisture stress followed by heavy rains. Splitting and drop will usually not be a serious problem if the trees are well cared for and furnished with adequate nutrition and irrigation.

Be on the lookout for insects

Scout your vegetable garden regularly for insect pests. Also watch for beneficial insects like lady bugs, green lacewings and minute pirate bugs. These will help control common pests like aphids, whiteflies and mites.

Many pests can be controlled by removing the insect or an infested branch. If you find that you need to treat with a pesticide, always try the least toxic method first. Pesticides like neem oil, fish oil and insecticidal soaps will control many insects and will not contaminate your harvest. Use chemical pesticides with caution. Read and follow the label carefully and pay close attention to the number of days you must wait after spraying before you can harvest. Also, be certain that the product label lists the crop you are going to treat. For more information, see the Natural Products for Insect Pest Management fact sheet at edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ pdffiles/IN/IN19700.pdf.

Compiled by Theresa Badurek, urban horticulture extension agent, UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension Service. For additional landscape and garden information, visit pinellascountyextension.org. For regular tips and information about what's growing in Pinellas, go to facebook.com/growpinellas.