Lemons, Blooms, Spider Mites...Oh MY!

rocksniffer(8)January 26, 2013

Greetings all! I just found you today as I searched for a way to de-mite my blooming lemon tree.

I am coming off my best yield ever - 42 lemons...the last two are in my frig waiting patiently to become lemon squares for the super bowl. Normally during the late fall and early winter I often am able to let the tree be outdoors during the day and inside at night. However last week, after weeks of spring like 70s and 80s, the temps finally seemed to settle on cold here in SC (daytime highs low/mid 50s and low 30s and even some 20s at night), and I moved the tree to its winter spot in the house (living room.

Now roughly five days in I find that a spider mite convention was obviously scheduled for this week without my consent. My unwelcome guests have spread in less than a week to cover the blooms, and most leaves.

So after searching this brilliant forum and finding out that I must not use Dawn dish soap, the questions of my blooms is still unanswered. what if anything can I put on my Mite Hotel and Resort to evict the buggers without further damage to my blooms?

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I would never let those darn buggers have a field day at the expense of my flowers. They will fall anyway from their sucking body parts.

By the way. Welcome to suffering citrus annomous. Lol

Neem oil or a good horticultural oil will rid those univited guests as long as you keep up with the routine every 3 days for about a two week span.

You will lose flowers, but at least not the plant.
You could always rinse the tree off with warm water after treatment paying close attention to the buds. That helps the casualties.

Mike :)

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 2:12PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, Mike! Welcome, Rock!

My lemon has been blooming for a couple months, and I've been Neeming my tree for mites
the entire time. I try not to be too rough with the blooms or the small setting fruit,
and the Neeming itself doesn't seem traumatic. I mix Neem Oil, Pro-TeKt, and warm water in a
quart sprayer that can spray upside down, so as to treat the undersides of all the leaves first.

If using a soap, be sure that it is non-detergent. In the past, I've used Dr. Bronner's Castile soap,
as well as Murphy's Oil Soap in conjunction with the cold-pressed Neem Oil.

In the case of an infestation, treat repeatedly...maybe every three days for three treatments,
then evaluate. With my trees, if I treat one, I treat the others as a precaution. Preventative
maintenance I do every couple weeks during the Winter.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 2:21PM
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I have had extremely high success with Neem oil for spider mites. It works very well.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 3:25PM
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I recently had a similar unauthorized convention ( love that!) used cold-pressed Neem (Dyna-Gro, purchased on line) diluted in water as directed every 4 days, but mites reppeared inside of 4 days each time. I decided to try something I found on another forum...
1 quart sprayer filled with warm water, I added 1/2 tsp. cold-pressed Neem, 1/2 tsp. Rosemary essential oil, 1/2 tsp. Castile soap, and ( recent addition) 1/8 tsp Dyna-Gro Pro-tekt (purchased on line) I sprayed 3 days apart, twice, and haven't seen a mite since. My trees had unopened flower buds and they are fine. I'm not saying the mites won't be back,
you have to stay on top of them. I liked the rosemary because it allegedly kills every stage, including eggs, and it smells a lot better than the Neem. I happen to use the Pro-tekt when I water my citrus anyway, so it isn't just for the mites. My impression was you can use the soap or the Pro-tekt, but I chose to use both. This is just something that worked for me, I thought adding rosemary worked better than the Neem alone, but I did start with 2 Neem treatments so this is hardly scientific. As eggs hatch about every 4 days, you have to catch all generations and make sure you get all the eggs, so that's why 2 treatments isn't enough. Don't use in the sun, I kept mine out of direct sunlight for 18 hours after treatment. I'd be interested in knowing if anyone else tries adding the rosemary and if it works for them?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 5:00PM
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Hello Josh and Manderin1. I love the smell of that!

Between the Rosemary oil and the Pro-tek I should be golden!:-)

Thanks Manderin1 and Josh! I have the Pro-tek and now I need to get Rosemary oil.

Where do I get the Rosemary Oil? Thank you.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 5:53PM
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Hi Mike, I bought the rosemary essential oil on Amazon, happened to buy the one from NOW Foods. I imagine you could get some at Whole Foods if you have one nearby, or even a GNC, as long as it's essential oil...

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 6:40PM
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Way... too many lemons on that poor tree! They are past ripe; and I would harvest at least 3/4 of them. Give your tree a chance to grow. After harvest I would give it a good shot of citrus fertilizer and expect a big bloom in February.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 4:34PM
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Mandarin1 I did!

I bought a bottle at GNC and used it tonight!

Would you believe that after going to my local Hydroponics store and seeing that it is what they use on their plants clean free of mites for the first time ever in years, all the growers swearing by it, and seeing a price of 69 dollars for 8 ounces on their shelf, you bet I bought it there.lol
It smells wonderful!

Thank you

This post was edited by meyermike_1micha on Sun, Jan 27, 13 at 18:44

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 6:43PM
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Wow Mike, I've read about some rosemary oil and the new rosemary-based insecticides being really expenive but whoa, I had no idea! Hope you will report your experience with it! I'm also going to try doubling the rosemary oil and eliminating the Neem and will report on that, too, if I see any critters come back. Yes, it helps mask the neem smell, much better!


    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 9:42PM
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My goodness! So far so good! Wow, and just the next day, my room smells of blooms and not Neem..


    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 12:57PM
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Mary, still so far so good! I can't believe the stuff!

They also have systemic which the local place uses. That is quite expensive. I wonder if one could just water with the oil and the roots would take that up


    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 12:33PM
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Yup, mine are still doing well, too! The rosemary essential oil is new territory for me as well. It might be a good systemic, who knows? And I read that the scent repels a lot of insects, too. This should probably have it's own thread? I'm really glad the rosemary seems to be working for you, too, I'm trying to stay cautious with my optimism. :-)

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 4:54PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

Rosemary 'tea' is good for keeping fleas off dogs :-) I just planted one yesterday and boy did it smell good! lol.. Hope your tree's continue to do well!
Mike~ I bet your room smells great!


    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 10:27AM
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MeyerMike ( hope you see this) last sprayed ith Neem/Rosemary 30 days ago, still no mites....how is yours doing?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 8:07PM
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Again, I have been growing citrus for around 8 years so I am no pro but it looks like maybe a few of those lemons could get taken down to Mount Pleasant one weekend and squeezed over some fresh, but correctly cooked, oysters. Still got our house there and looking forward to getting back there soon and harvesting some of my own. Which is why, now that I think about it, I started growing citrus in the first place. Thanks oysters.

Lowcountry Steve representing out west (temporarily)

This post was edited by Citrus-Steve on Fri, Feb 15, 13 at 0:04

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 12:02AM
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Sometimes we take our pest free plants for granted...I am so use to not worrying about them these days, I totally forgot about them.

It's because I have seen no dropped leaves or deformed new growing ones at last!
I too have not had to spray a thing other than the last time we spoke.
I wonder if using the Rosemary oil is something we have to constanly spray through the season?

It's funny...I posted the success with it on the houseplant forums and it seemed that most didn't care..Then people ask for help getting rid of them. I don't get it?lol

Hope you are well.

Steve, do it up!lol


    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 8:28AM
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I wanted to try using only rosemary oil and leave out the Neem, just to see it if worked. But ( sigh) guess I'll just have to wait until I have mites again...oh well ( smiling ear to ear). My trees are indoors permanently so I don't know how long it takes until it needs to be re-applied, when I give them their monthly shower and flushing, I won't re-treat...see what happens.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 10:46AM
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RyanLo(NC 7B)

Question about the rosemary oil: are you guys using essential oil or rosemary cooking oil? I went into my local market and picked up essential oil but was concerned when the attendant asked if I was looking for rosemary cooking oil. If you provide a little more information on the exact type it would be very helpful. thanks a lot!.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 10:56AM
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Ryan.. No worries.

I use the Essential Oil bought at GNC...

In fact, Manderine, it is all I used with an emulsifyer last time and I have not had ONE problem since.

I think I will just do a spray over everything again since it smells good and take no chances. I LOVE the stuff! It's almost theraputic at the same time.lol


    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 11:13AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Steve, you're speaking my language...the oysters, I mean. I lived in the Lowcountry (Beaufort) for over twenty years. There's nothing like Lowcountry oysters....if by 'correctly cooked ' you mean steamed in the backyard until barely warm, lol.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 11:52AM
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Ryan, it needs to be Rosemary Essential Oil...

Mike, I just noticed a couple mites back on one tree, the one that I think was ground zero for my mite problem, also happens to be my latest aquisition. All trees were last sprayed over a month ago, no signs of recurrence on my other trees. Lol, you're ahead of me! OK, my turn to try the rosemary solution without Neem and see how it goes....

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 7:33PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Mike, how much of the essential rosemary oil are you using per gallon of water? Essential oils are really, really concentrated, so I would like to try this, but want to make sure I don't make the spray too concentrated. Do you add the Neem as well and what emulsier are you using? Inquiring minds need to know your formula :-)

Patty S.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 1:11PM
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Hey Patty..

I have been putting 15 to 20 little drops to a 32 ounce hand help spray bottle.

Do you have Pro-Tek from Dyno-gro?
That is a great emulsifyer.
I have also use just a few drops of natural soap .


I also use Coco Wet, not to emulsify, but to help the water stick to the leaves, so it just does'nt drip off so rapidly. The entire leaves get covered with a thin layer of water evenly. Great stuff!
I could not live without Coco Wet:-)


Hoping this helps you:-)


    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 2:11PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

I don't have any ProTek, but I can remedy that :-) Thanks for the additional tips and amounts, Mike. I don't usually have issues with spider mites, but I ended up with some in my greenhouse from the citrus rootstock I ordered. So, looking for a nice, safe control measure to use, as the nasty insecticides really aren't very effective against spider mites. Appreciate it!

Patty S.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 4:09PM
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A company named EcoSMART makes an organic bug killer with rosemary oil (among other things) named Garden Insect Killer. The 24oz bottle sells for about $6 at Home Depot. I've never tried it myself, so I can't recommend it one way or the other.

I had such a bad infestation of spider mites on my tomatoes and eggplants last summer that I will give this a try in the future - if the need arises.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 2:10AM
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This is my second posting after going to this site a million times. What great answers. Thanks. I beat my mites over the winter, put it outside and just looked at it. Again mites but the tree looks great. Want to kills those guys before the tree goes inside. Awesome thread and site.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 7:34PM
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My tree was doing amazingly well, specially considering it is the first year (14 lemons!). I brought it inside (I'm in the Atlanta area) and it was getting all kinds of new growth and flowers, then in the span of three days, all the blooms fell off and the tiny new growth browned out. Only too late I saw the mites; I am devastated. Will it get new flowers again when the mites are under control? I'm sure I'll get new greenery, I'm just crushed if I've lost a year of lemons.
Any suggestions to help it along after removing the mites will be appreciated as well.
Thanks in advance!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 10:59AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Dorothy, I think you have some very good suggestions for mite eradication in this message thread, and yes, your tree may bloom, again, if the mites are taken care of, and you're providing your tree with lots and lots of light, warmth and fertilizer.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 11:48AM
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Thanks, Patty! That's encouraging. I just got back from buying the rosemary essential oil and already have the neem oil, so on to the first episode of mite eradication! Hoping it will work without the Pro-tekt until that arrives. Cross your fingers!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 3:16PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Great. First thing to do, though, is to give the tree a very good blast of water. Hose it off really well. That will knock off most of the mites. Then, do your treatment, and also spray the top of the soil (as the mites can fall to the soil). Good luck and keep us posted. I would suggest also that you start your own message thread, instead of sticking onto an older message thread. That way, your thread is all your own.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 4:23PM
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Yes Dorothy.....

I find that I have to treat my trees as if they already have mites even if they do not..It is called preventitive medicine..

So my habit, once a month I will hose off my leaves and then treat with a natural soap or Rosemary Oil which smells really nice and I find that I have no issues all winter long...

By the way...

What ever happened to the one that started this thread in the first place? BUt great info otherwise..


    Bookmark   November 21, 2013 at 6:47PM
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