There are some pests and diseases which attack citrus trees that can betreated during winter. This helps to break the pest and disease life cycle, giving citrus trees a fresh start in spring.

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Fruit fly

As citrus fruit continues to mature during winter, maintain fruit fly prevention measures. Spray Yates Nature's Way Fruit Fly Control over the lower foliage, or a band around the trunk, each week, until all fruit are harvested. It attracts and kills both Queensland and Mediterranean fruit fly, using a combination of a protein and sugar based bait and an insecticide derived from a naturally occurring soil bacteria.

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Citrus Gall Wasp

Lumpy swellings along the stems of citrus trees are an indication of citrus gall wasp. Citrus gall wasp (Bruchophagus fellis) is native to warm coastal areas in New South Wales and Queensland but has also become an increasing problem in Victoria and also Western Australia. Its original host was the native Australian finger lime but can also seriously affect other citrus including lemons, grapefruit and oranges.

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There are 3 main stages in the citrus gall wasp life cycle:

  1. The small black adult wasp lays up to eggs underneath the bark on soft new spring growth.
  2. Larvae hatch from the eggs, eat the stem tissue and the lumpy galls form around the developing larvae.
  3. The larvae mature into the adult wasp which emerges from the gall the following spring, leaving small pin prick holes.

The galls not only look unattractive they can lead to poor plant health and reduced harvest. It’s important to be vigilant and look out for these galls and winter is an ideal time to act to reduce this nasty pest, before the adult wasps emerge in spring. There are no sprays registered for controlling citrus gall wasp in home gardens and once galls are formed the damage is permanent.

Prune off affected stems and place these sections in a sealed plastic bag and put them in the garbage (don’t put gall infested stems in the compost bin). Disposing affected stems before the adult wasps have emerged stops the life cycle and helps to reduce new infestations in spring.

 

Extra citrus tips:

  • If there are shoots growing from beneath the graft, trim these back flush with the trunk. These shoots are from the tree's hardy rootstock, but will not develop the fruit you're after. They can be viciously thorny and also eventually take over the tree if not removed.
  • Refresh the mulch around the rootzone of citrus trees, however keep it from contacting the trunk, as this can promote diseases.

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