Something is eating my lemon tree leaves!

jeromyMay 10, 2007

Hey gang,

I'm the proud new owner of a Eureka semi-dwarf lemon tree. I've noticed that something is eating holes in the leaves. I've posted pictures here and here. I'm pretty amateur at this, can anyone tell me what I should do to protect the tree? Oh, and is azalea fertilizer the right type of "acid fertilizer" for the tree?



Here is a link that might be useful: picture of damaged leaves

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CA Kate

They look like my DH has been shooting squirrels with the 410. LOL

You should use a Citrus fertilizer because it will have all the needed nutrients.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2007 at 11:01PM
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Jeromy, it looks to me like some type of insect nibbling. I don't think a larger animal has decided it looked yummy simply because rips would be more prominent.
First, I'd check for house plant insects..Do you know what to look for?
It could also be some type of outside bug..I notice several bugs on plants while outdoors in summer including butterflys. LOL..Toni

    Bookmark   May 13, 2007 at 4:39PM
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I spotted a ladybug on the tree the other day, perhaps that's the culprit. Thanks for the notes.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 10:36PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Ladybugs don't eat plant material, so you're safe there. Remove the affected leaves. Inspect the underside of the leaves for small caterpillars, etc. A good time of day to 'catch' many critters at the dinner table is in the early evening.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2007 at 8:25AM
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Actually, ladybugs are good for plants..they eat different types of pests..Some people order ladybug eggs just for that purpose. Nope, not the ladybugs..Toni

    Bookmark   May 24, 2007 at 4:32PM
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Something is eating mine too. Help me. We have had one lemon off of the tree in 1 yr. It is growing, but that's about it. And something likes the new growth. See pictures.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pic of the leaves

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 1:36PM
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Wow, something really likes the taste of your citrus! There is citrus leaf miner evidence in the pic, but I don't think they would account for such damage!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 4:28PM
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Could be grasshoppers or katydids . Both are aggressive chewers .
Monitor your plants and see if you can catch the culprits in the act .
Not much else to do other than look for eggs and larvae and eliminate then.

Citrus trees require 17 elements - N , P , K and 14 trace .
Citrus fertilizer is your best product for the money .

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 6:59AM
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orchidguyftl(z11 FTL FL)

depending upon where you live, if your plants are indoor or outdoor.
Mine get an ocassional Black Swallowtail visit my citrus. They lay a few eggs ant the caterpillars look like bird droppings, so unless you know what you're looking for, might be hard to see or notice.
Do a check online for black swallowtail caterpillars and see what they look like
the other guess would be snails or slugs, but you should see a mucous trail if it were them

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 12:29PM
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Orchidguy, you're not poking fun. For the last 3 days and 4 nights, a caterpillar has been living in our sink. lol
Thurs night, I was inspecting plants when I noticed a 'leafless' Crown of Thorns. Well, there were 4 remaining leaves. I checked the soil, which was quite dry, but succulent soil has to dry in winter.
The suc went to the sink, got a hosing, when suddenly the branches started shaking. On closer inspection, lying on a stem was a 4" gray/brown caterpilla,. It ate 99% of the Euphorbia leaves..all that's left are bare stems and four, tiny leaves. How one caterpillar could do such damage is beyond me. The Crown was full of leaves, compact.
I don't know if the 'pillar will survive. We have a shortage of butterflies as it is, and I don't want to be labled the woman who killed one the last around. Even though my suc might be dead, it's difficult ridding the pillar.
BTW, I don't think this caterpillar is a native of IL. IT was probably shipped from Fl or Ca via shipping.
Anyone have any ideas? Thanks, Toni
PS, I've ;lacedarious leavesin his blwe. Toni

    Bookmark   November 23, 2008 at 1:56PM
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Last year I discovered my lemon tree, setting in a large pot on my front porch, slowly being devoured. The leaves had circular cuttings like a half circle at the edges. I saw there were some beautiful monarch butterflies about the area. I had no choice but to spray some water mixed with dish soap, lemon scented dish soap about a teaspoon or so mixed in a 16 ounce plant spray bottle. After applying this to the entire plant the attack on the leaves stopped! Once again over time, my potted lemon tree regained it's new leaves and flourished for the rest of the summer and well into fall before it was time to bring it indoors for the cold harsh weather we often get from out of nowhere in Dallas, TX. All I know is I had to do the same thing to the tree just a minute ago. If it isn't a monarch it is probably either a moth or another variation of butterfly. by the way, can you use a grow lamp on it in house in winter to save the leaves from falling off over time? They do eventually grow back but this seems to stagnate the plant from it's full growth potential.

Here is a link that might be useful: my personal home page or website.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 10:02AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

lookat, you're better off starting your own message thread, instead of tacking onto a 5 year old thread :-) But, to you question, even, circular cuts out of a leaf are often the result of the Leaf Cutting (Leafcutter) Bee. Very interesting little bee, and usually, they only take a few circles from a plant. They are important native bees to the US, and are docile. There really aren't any insecticides (or soaps) that will prevent the bee from leaf cutting, just cover affected plants to discourage the bees from removing their little circles. Besides, you do not want to kill these very important pollinators. When I lived in Indiana, Leaf Cutting bees seems to like my rose bushes in my yard. I just lived with the minor damage.

Now, if the leaves are just being chomped severely, it may be grasshoppers, which are out and about right now. Hand picking is your best bet with grasshoppers, or again, covering your tree.

Patty S.

Here is a link that might be useful: CSU: Leafcutting Bee

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 4:22PM
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Someone mentioned leaf miners. I understand there is a small fly that lays eggs and the larvae mine around between the upper and lower dermal layers of the leaf so they are very difficult to control as larvae. Seems like I read that the best way is to control the adult fly laying eggs but it seems to have a long active period here in SE Texas.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 4:51PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

John, CLM will not cut out circular parts of a leaf. CLM is actually a tiny moth, and it does lay its eggs in this fashion. The larvae hatch, make tunnels in the leaves and then eventually exit. The tunneling damages the leaves so the curl up and look very ugly, but does not do more than cosmetic damage to mature trees. Very young trees, however, can have stunted growth due to all their leaves being tender enough to all be affected, especially in areas of heavy pest pressure (as is where I live). CLM shows up for us here in S. California in late June/early July and continues through until the Fall. Some areas of the country have two episodes, one in May and again in later summer. The best controls are either with Imidacloprid systemic (which unfortunately in some areas of the country, they are finding CLM becoming resistant to Imidacloprid), or by using Spinosad. I am having a very bad time with CLM myself, now. Even though I treated with Imidacloprid, I'm still having trees affected. CLM seems to be attracted to certain types of citrus more than others. I am spraying with Spinosad as well, now, and I can't use a hort oil (to make it last longer), as our temps are hovering in the low 80's, so I fear I might burn my leaves. So, I will have to do more sprayings that I would like. CLM is mainly cosmetic, except with very young trees as mentioned. the UC Riverside Citrus Variety Collection doesn't even treat for CLM (as nearly all their trees are mature).

Patty S.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2013 at 8:51PM
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Thanks Patty. My temps pretty much stay in the 90s from July through September so I can't use the oils. Most of my trees are mature and it's just a visual nuisance for me but I'm growing a potted lemon that I would like to have pretty leaves when I bring it indoors during the winter. There is always the hunt and smush method :>)

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 6:13PM
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