Citrus leaves being eaten by what?

svanessa(9/SoCal)April 7, 2011

Hi, Just bought a few citrus that have been in the ground for 3-4 months. I noticed the last couple of weeks that the leaves are being eaten. I found a snail on one tree. Is this the possible culpret? What ever it is has pretty much defoliated my Seville orange and is working hard on my Lisbon lemon. Hasn't found the Clementine yet.



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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Yes. I'm picking them off like mad off my yound and tender citrus trees!! They can defoliate a tree very quickly the little buggars. Post some photos of your leaves and we can better tell what's eating them.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 5:26PM
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Hi Patty!
I also quilt! I'm in Ramona just off the 78 (before you get to Main St in Ramona). Small world!

I'll get some snail bait and post photos of the damage when I get home from work. If it's not snails it's squirrels and rabbits! grrrr.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 7:27PM
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Another one who lives off the 78 here. Small world indeed.

I went to my local Home Depot and bought a 5 dollar roll of copper tape that's specifically a slug/snail preventer. You wrap a little bit around the trunk of your tree and your problem is solved. Snails won't crawl over it, and therefore, can't get up to the yummy leaves on your tree.

One pest down, about 10 million left to conquer!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 1:50PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Wow, it's a N. San Diego county party :-) And great suggestion about the copper tape! I happen to have a roll I bought, to use for my cymbidium orchids I have in pots, that are sitting in a shade garden. The snails leave the leaves alone, but will devour the flowers, stripping your blooms overnight. I was going to wrap the copper tape around the the rim of the pot. They haven't bloomed yet this season, so I'll use the tape for my citrus. Thanks for the super tip!

Patty S.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 2:12PM
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I'm going to swing by HD tonight for the copper. I like that idea better than using bait. Thanks SD Dude for the idea.

Patty, I too have orchids in pots...didn't know about them snails eating the blooms so will also 'copper' their pots. Thanks for the heads up! I thought it would be too dry in Ramona for snails but I guess I was dreaming. :-)


    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 7:21PM
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I once bought a large sunquat, about six feet tall in a 15 gal pot. Then had to drive 60 miles home on the freeway, loosing almost all the leaves. I Planted the tree next to my fence.

As the new leaves came out the snails stripped them off until I went out with a flashlight around midnight and found them high in the tree. Big fat slugs too.

The young leaves give off lots of odor which attracts them.

This time of the year you can soon expect orange catapillars which like bird droppings in color.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 3:47AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Sue, Sluggo and Sluggo Plus are ORMI rated (organic) and very safe to use in your garden. Sluggo, which is iron phosphate, and actually will put iron back into your soil, will kill the snails and slugs. Sluggo Plus is iron phosphate plus spinosad, which will take care of both snails/slugs and earwigs. All safe to use in your garden, and it works very well!

Patty S.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 11:50AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I was going to mention the 'orange dog' caterpillars, but Larry beat me to the punch! I'd surely be on the lookout for them, as well as slugs and snails. Don't forget that they hatch from very small eggs, so are teensy for a few days and often overlooked. But you can't miss that beautiful Giant Swallowtail Butterfly!

I also want to second Patty's suggestion of the Sluggo (or other iron phosphate snail and slug bait. If the gastropod population is out of control in your vicinity, it might be necessary to employ the copper tape (I've used copper window screen, too) AND apply some of the bait.

Guess where I found slug nurseries? At the end of the season, I dumped several containers of summer annuals out and found (to my horror) that slugs had entered the pots THROUGH THE DRAINAGE HOLE and had a major love fest in there. After that, I began to use copper screen to cover the drainage holes.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 1:50PM
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I have a dwarf orange tree growing in a big pot on my patio that has always done very well. Recently, I've the leaves being eaten by some creature. Usually they are stripped to the branch, and often there will be very cleanly cut branch tips on the ground underneath the plant. I've had some damage to the flat-leaf and curly parsley growing in pots nearby, so I covered those with screening and I've been keeping an eye on on the tree. This morning I woke up to some major damage--whole branches completely stripped of their leaves. It's not rabbits--the branches are 4' high. It's don't think it's insects. I checked for frass, shiny snail trails and other evidence. The remaining leaves are healthy and deep green. I took a digital picture of it and am not sure how to post it here.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 4:51PM
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Like my trees, it probably is snails. I didn't see shiny snail trails on my trees either. The copper tape mentioned above has worked for me. Leaves are coming back. I also caught them on my fig trees munching away on the bark! I thought it was squirrels or rabbits but no, snails!

Check your tree at night before bed. Turn several leaves over to see if you can catch the culpret.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 9:15PM
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Earwigs are horribly stripping leaves from 3 of my container citrus trees; each leaf being 95% eaten. It's only a couple dozen leaves, but they're young trees. They normally prefer my fruitlets or young leaves from the other fruit trees.

However, I dumped down 3 yd3 of fir bark (for containers and ground). I sat containers on the bark, then moved it a week later, only to find ~100 earwigs under it! Yesterday I hand-squooshed 45 earwigs from just 1 container tree being eaten--living just below the fresh bark mulch.

That load of bark brought in, & provided breeding grounds for, thousands of them. I applied Sluggo Plus the day I laid down the bark.

I hate to apply Tanglefoot to my citrus now. Oh well, nothing compared to a bad case of CLM -- which temps are gettin' ripe for now.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 10:56AM
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