The Q&A Archives: Orange Trees

Question: My neighbor and I have an orange tree but we disagree on the Ortho product to use. She doesn't want me to use Malathion because of its smell. She said the nursery told her to use Diazinon. Is that safe? Oranges aren't listed on the label and she likes to "trade" oranges as we grow a different variety.

Answer: Malathion has an odor so you are aware that it has been sprayed and is still wet. Diazinon has an odor, as well. As far as product safety, it's important that both the pest and the targeted plant are listed on the label. If one or both are absent from the label and you use the product anyway, you do so in violation of the law. There are some consumer safety issues, as well. You didn't say what insect you're trying to eradicate, so I won't venture a guess as to which product to use. However, insecticidal soap is safe to use on citrus if you're trying to get rid of soft-bodied insects like aphids. If the problem is with hard-bodied scale insects, you can spray the tree with a light horticultural oil in the early spring to smother the insects. Why not try jets of water to dislodge insects? If that fails, use insecticidal soap or horticultural oil instead of the chemicals you mentioned.

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