Leaf curl - Knowledgebase Question

Port Saint Lucie, Fl
Question by rminsky
June 10, 2010
What is the best treatment for citrus tree leaf curl? Also need fertilizer recommendationand schedule


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Answer from NGA
June 10, 2010

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The most common problem symptom seen at this time of year is the curling or rolling of leaves. This usually develops first on the newer or outermost leaves. It can be caused by insufficient water, or insect feeding. If the curling leaves seem to be concentrated on the south or west side of the tree, then the problem is likely insufficient water. If the curled leaves are in various locations around the tree, the problem is likely insect damage.

The feeding of sucking insects such as aphids and thrips cause leaf curl on citrus. Aphid are small green or yellowish green insects. Their feeding causes leaves to curl and yellow. They also secrete a clear sticky substance called Ahoneydew@ which creates a varnish-like appearance on leaves. Thrips are a tiny flea-like insect that feeds on the developing leaf buds of citrus. As a result, mature leaves are cupped or curled and marked with distinctive whitish lines. In either case, curling from these insects is mealy cosmetic and causes no harm to the tree. No control is possible for thrips; but as they appear, aphids can be knocked off leaves with a strong spray of water.

Leaf curling from insufficient water is a problem that must be dealt with! Water the tree deeply and from the trunk out to at least the edge of the branches. If you have only a few drip emitters under the tree, then add some more. A mature citrus tree is likely to need fifteen or more drip emitters. If your basin irrigating you tree, make sure the basin is out to the edge of the branches. Fill the basin with three inches of water. This will soak the soil down to the required 3 foot depth.

Citrus trees should be fed 3 times a year. Use a specially formulated Citrus Tree Food in amounts as listed on the label, which vary according to the size and age of the tree.

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