Meyer Improved Lemon Tree - Knowledgebase Question

Eugene, OR
Avatar for ingridwongu
Question by ingridwongu
July 3, 2005
Hi, I recently noticed many tiny (dot like) while worms/ants crawling in the soil of my 5 gallon meyer improved lemon tree (it's in a container). I tried spraying fungicide on it but it didn't seem to work. I'm worried that these tiny insects might eventually destroy the branches and leaves. So far, the leaves seem to be doing OK (I don't see insects crawling on them yet), but they do curl up a lot and I noticed more and more sticky flowers and buds falling off. How could I get rid of the insects in the soil? Thanks for your help.

Answer from NGA
July 3, 2005
Sounds like some creepy crawly critter has decided to take up residence in the potting soil. As you've discovered, spraying a fungicide won't be effective against insects - but it will kill fungus. It's always a good idea to read the label of any product before use to make sure it is safe to use on your plants, against the problem you are trying to control.

Since we don't know what these pests might be I think you can control them by simply placing a temporary barrier atop the soil. This way the critters won't be able to get light or fresh air and I think they will die off on their own. Use plastic wrap, foil, or a layer of decorative rocks as a barrier.

If you're finding sticky leaves, closely examine the undersides of leaves and the stems for signs of insects. When they feed they exude a sticky substance called honeydew. If things are sticky, I think you'll find aphids, whiteflies, scales or mealybugs feasting on your plant. If you find them, hose them off, rub them off, or treat with a registered insecticide.

Best wishes with your lemon tree!

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