mandarin tree leaf problems - Knowledgebase Question

Westminster, CA (Zone 9B)
Question by joyskye
July 20, 2006
Hi. I have a 4-year old mandarin tree. Currently, i noticed that new young leaves come out distorted (curled) and marks on the back (clear and spiderweb kind mark). I treated the leaves with the insecticides, however, it did not really help. The old leaves are fine. It affects only the tender young leaves. What should i do?

Answer from NGA
July 20, 2006


From your description it sounds as though the leaves are showing leaf miner damage. Leaf miners are larvae of a sawfly. The adult lays her egg between the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf; when the egg hatches into a little worm-like critter it feeds on the tissues between the upper and lower surfaces of the leaf. This tunneling leaves what looks like little white tracks within the leaf. Insecticides won't affect these pests because they are within the leaf where nothing can reach them. After the larvae are finished feeding the exit from the leaf and spin a web down to the soil. They pupate in the soil until they're ready to emerge as an adult. You can discourage them by placing an inorganic mulch beneath your mandarin tree - one such as gravel or decorative rocks which will be inhospitable to the larvae.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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