The Q&A Archives: Orange Tree

Question: My daughter bought me an orange tree for my birthday this past October. It looked lush and full. I noticed the tops of the leaves were abnormal and curing on different parts of the leaves. I also noticed at time went on the stems of the tree started to get a web on it. The web covers the limbs of the plant. I would like to know if this could be leaf miners. I didn't see any insects.

Answer: The webbing and curling leaves indicate a spider mite infestation. These tiny pests are difficult to see (they are like pepper specks) but a large population can compromise the health of a plant. They typically thrive in dry, dusty conditions. You can use an insecticidal soap spray to kill the pests. Take the plant outdoors when the weather is mild and spray thoroughly, both the surfaces of the leaves and the undersides, plus the stems. Then put the tree in the shower and rinse it off with tepid water. You may have to repeat the process if you see additional webbing. To discourage the pests, give your tree a shower every 6-8 weeks. Best wishes with your orange tree!

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