Meyer lemon tree leaves being eaten

JGB624August 6, 2005

We live near Ocala, Fl and purchased a Meyer lemon tree from Home Depot about 4 months ago and planted it in the ground outside. We also got a navel orange tree and planted it about 20 ft away. The orange tree has no fruit or blossoms as of yet, but I can see new growth coming from the ends of the branches. The lemon tree has been doing pretty good and has 6 fruit growing and it has had a few small blossoms come and go within a few days. I have noticed that the leaves of the lemon tree are being eaten. The problem is I can't seem to find any insects on the tree. I was wondering if there was something that was safe to spray on the tree to help get rid of whatever is eating the leaves?

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One possibility is "slugs"...or snails. They are a bit of a problem for me in the greenhouse (on citrus). They feed after dark and retreat about first light. They usually feed at the leaf edge and inward, but not always. I use Corry's Snail and Slug bait. It looks similar to sawdust. It will withstand modest moisture and still function. Slugs eat it willingly and begin to die very soon after ingestion. You can also check your plant during the wee morning hours with a flash light, I've done that and found slugs munching on the leaves. If the problem is snails...removal of "hiding spots" or cover close by would also help. I suggest not spraying unless or until you can identify the pest. Good luck! Joe n CO

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 10:44AM
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Another way to rid Slugs is to use a cup saucer with beer in it. One of the old timers years ago told me. It may sound funny to some, but it does work very well...Dale

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 11:07AM
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tedlyxx(z9 LA)

Could be Giant Swallowtail Butterfly larvae. They love citrus and are sometimes hard to spot because they look like bird droppings.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 1:50PM
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I don't see any snails or slugs on the tree. I do see little bugs flying around, almost like gnats, and I also see a small web with a little red bug in it. Nothing is on our orange tree which is the closest thing to the lemon tree. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 10:40PM
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yearningone(6 NJ)

Any chances of posting photos?

The webs and red bugs might indicate spider mites, but from my very own experience, they really cause loss of chlorophyll in the leaves and do not appear to be eaten.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2005 at 12:47PM
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Slugs and snails are unlikely in Florida, on citrus. So far (knocking on wood) we have none that like citrus leaves, although they can be nasty pests elsewhere.

Orange dog caterpillars are a good possibility. In that case entire leaves should go missing, sometimes with just part of the midvein remaining. And it's almost entirely new, young growth that is affected.

If the damage is tiny half-moon-shaped notches along the edges of the leaves (mainly mature leaves), it could be one of our species of root weevil -- we have five: Diaprepes (a.k.a. Apopka weevil, sugarcane rootstock borer weevil), Northern bluegreen weevil, bluegreen weevil, Fuller rose weevil, and little leaf notcher.

If the damage is occuring mostly to mature leaves, and looks like something chewed irregular holes out of the sides of the leaves, it could be grasshoppers or katydids.

If whole twigs are being eaten, it could be deer.

The little flying insects you're seeing are likely psyllids, which can curl the young foliage, but won't eat chunks out of it. They're pretty bad this year.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2005 at 1:19PM
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Today I killed three large lubbers - grasshoppers - two katydids and one of those dog caterpillars . They were having a feast on my citrus trees . Lots and lots of lubbers in the grove this summer . Once you see one of those dog caterpillars you'll never forget it ! They are weird looking and BIG ! JGB-- Bet you've got all of the above at work on your trees .

    Bookmark   August 7, 2005 at 6:45PM
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I did see a grasshopper on one of the leaves this morning, but the little bugger flew off before I could catch it. I will get some pics of the leaves and try to post them. Other than that, the trees are getting new growth and doing well. Thanks for all the info.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 8:02AM
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We planted a Meyers lemon tree and a Persian lime tree in planters on our screened in patio this February. We also are seeing damage to our leaves. The screened area basically keeps out most pests, but I have noticed small ants, an occassional lizzard, and this morning a worm. I am suspecting the worm. I have heard of using soapy water in a spray bottle to control the problem of leaf munchers, any suggestions on this?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 4:21PM
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This topic is just what I'm looking for. My potted Meyer Lemon is being eaten by something - the leaves are eaten from the outside in, though a few have holes more toward the center of the leaves. I don't know if we have the same pests here as in Florida but I'd appreciate any information . . .

This post was edited by gigiann on Wed, Sep 4, 13 at 13:58

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 7:20PM
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No photos, no real chance at a good answer to your problem..

We try to help; but few of us here are magicians or mindreaders.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 12:38AM
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Sorry for the double post..

This post was edited by Johnmerr on Wed, Sep 4, 13 at 17:30

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 12:39AM
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