Lemon Tree Woes with Citrus Leaf Miner and Gall Wasp

If you have been following along, you may know that I have not been a very good lemon tree gardener.  This is lemon tree number five, and as you can see, it is already having issues and is not yet an adolescent.

I called in some experts (ha ha!), well I asked some of my Facebook friends, who confirmed for me that it was the Leaf Miner that I was looking at.  After doing further research, it seems that this is exactly what it is and it is requiring some drastic treatment.

I need to cut off all of the affected leaves (which appear to be most of the new leaves plus some of the older ones) and spray it with oil.  I have stumbled on a great green oil that will not affect the good bugs, the Eco Oil, which is an Australian product (yay!!) on the Green Harvest site (this is a great site to stumble on if you are looking for green products for the garden).

Having not used any sprays, poisons etc in my garden so far, this suits me just fine as the benefits of it are that it will kill the bug but not be dangerous in any way to us as it is made of edible, safe products. This is what the Green Harvest site had to say about it:

Eco-Oil BFA Organic
Eco-Oil is a registered miticide/Insecticide. It is a botanical oil that contains canola oil, eucalyptus oil, melaleuca oil and several surfactants. Surfactants help the oil stick to the leaf. It controls pests by contact, so complete coverage of plants is important. For best results spray at the first sign of infestation. Repeat application may be necessary. Eco-Oil controls citrus leafminer, scale, two-spotted mite, aphids, whitefly and various sap-sucking insects. Oil sprays should not be used at temperatures above 35°C. Do not apply to plants suffering heat or moisture stress. Application rate is 5-10mL per litre of water.
How does it work?
When eco-oil is applied directly onto an insect, including aphids, mites and whiteflies it blocks the breathing holes and prevents the carbon dioxide from being expelled from the body. This effectively smothers the insect. When eco-oil is applied to citrus leaves it prevent the nocturnal citrus leafminer moth from landing and laying her eggs into the leaves. Both the smell and the oil layer left by the spray deters the moth.

Material Safety Data Sheet

Benefits of using eco-oil
  • eco-oil has no significant impact on beneficial insect numbers
  • under sunlight eco-oil dissipates faster than petroleum-based oils, resulting in less risk of phototoxicity
  • there is no withholding period when sprayed on edible crops
  • there is no chemical residue left on plants
  • no protective clothing needs to be worn
  • it smells better than petroleum-based oils
  • it is manufactured in Australia using Australian grown canola oil, which helps support Australian farmers

So, with no further ado, I will be ordering this, and beginning the project of Save Lemon Tree Number Five.

When I snipped off the affected leaves, I did notice that there were a couple of beginnings of gall wasp swellings on the tree as well, so these have been snipped off.  I know that it is really hard to keep under control living in such a high density area, however, I would feel negligent not doing my bit.  It's the little things that make a lot of difference.

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