Using paint strainer bags against Citrus Leaf Miner?

jbclem(z9b Topanga, Ca)October 5, 2012

I have a one gallon paint strainer mesh bag and am thinking it could be used to keep CLM away from young citrus leaf flushes. I measured the mesh opening at 1/32" and the CLM moth is around 2mm in length (about 1/16"). This bag is about 10" long and 9" wide. You can also buy 2 and 5 gallon size bags, the cost is between $1-2 apiece, less than $1 if you buy more than 20.

Has anyone tried using these mesh bags? I'd like to know if the opening is small enough to keep out the CLM moths. And how many days does it take a young citrus leaf to develop a surface tough enough to discourage leaf miners?

If this works it would be very useful on small young trees. I've read that after a citrus tree is four years old the CLM can't create enough damage to harm the trees development.

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It was recommened to me to use neem oil if not too hot (cooks the leaves) and/or spinosad, prior to the infestation. I would think that a bag would work, but would also rob a pretty high percentage of the light from the plant.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 11:29AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Blocking the light was the first thing I thought of, too, dog.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 1:19PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Yup, too much light blocking, I think. And, good luck trying to get the bag tied tight enough around each branch. With a sizable citrus, I think this would probably be an awful lot of work. For now, either imidapcloprid applied systemically at the appropriate time (for us out in the West, first of July, after bloom time, and imidacloprid does NOT travel well to the blossoms, to alleviate fears of bee toxicity), or Spinosad + Volk or Neem oil sprayed starting in July, and sprayed every 3 weeks through October are the best solutions. I only treat my young trees (under 5 years). I just allow for the ugly leaves on the rest of my older citrus.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 4:13PM
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jbclem(z9b Topanga, Ca)

I just went outside with the paint strainer bag, and made a comparison. I checked the light on my open palm under a 70% shade cloth canopy, then on my open palm in direct sunlight, then on my open palm in direct sunlight but inside the 1 gal paint strainer bag. The bag is unused, so there is no left over paint or anything else blocking the mesh.

It seemed to me that the 70% shade cloth was blocking more light than the paint strainer bag. This is very unscientific, but until I can find batteries for my Luna Pro light meter it'll have to do.

My citrus are small, in containers, and when they flush there aren't that many new branches...which is why I thought it wouldn't be too hard to try to put some of these bags over the flushing leaves. I don't know how persistent the CLM moths are, so I'll be tightening the bags around the branch using clothing pins and see how that works. The key questions are whether the mesh is small enough to keep the moths out, and how long I'd have to leave the bags on.

Looks like I'm going to be the alpha tester.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 7:03PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

A 70% shade cloth would block waaaay too much light, of course. You really don't want to block any light from the new growth. But it's a worthy experiment. Contact your local extension people to find out when the CLM activity is in your location.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 12:38AM
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jbclem(z9b Topanga, Ca)

I put up the 70% shade cloth after weeks of 100 degree weather, and too much wilting from other plants (vegetables, banana, etc...). I have three citrus in containers under the shade cloth. Do you suppose that could be retarding their growth? The citrus(in containers) I have in direct sun has to be watered much more often or they will wilt.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 6:49PM
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Yes, that shade cloth could be retarding their growth. What is recommended here where I am is to spray new growth in spring with spinosad one week, and neem oil the next. Don't mix them. I think the idea is to keep them from becoming immune to either. Spray in the evening when the bees have left.

Are your pots mulched? I grow a lot of my veggies in containers and mulch makes a difference.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 8:01PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Citrus simply should not be grown in the shade. They are workhorse plants and require the energy from the sun to keep them going. Frequent watering for container grown plants is part of the deal!

I'll remind people, again, about a kaolin clay product called 'Surround '. Natural kaolin clay has been formulated in such a way that it forms a suspension when mixed with water....and has a sticker added so that it doesn't wash off in the first rainfall.

It's used to prevent sun scald on fruits, veggies, and foliage. It reduces heat stress and improves fruit and veggie quality. I first saw it used in apple orchards many years ago and it is widely used in agriculture. Some insects are repelled by it.....I'll check to see if CLM is one.

Surround is recommeded for citrus. It is now available in homeowner sizes and not just for the commercial trade. I've used it on my veggie garden for several years, on tomatoes and cucurbits.

I dont know if there are other such formulations than Surround. I'll look into that.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 8:15PM
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jbclem(z9b Topanga, Ca)

I just saw a list of pests that Surround is used against, but not mention of CLM. Here's the list:

Surround can help control pests such as: pear psylla, cutworms, pear midge, pear slug, apple sucker, climbing cutworm, eastern tent caterpillar, gypsy moth, japanese beetle, june beetle, grasshoppers, green fruit worm, leafrollers, lygus bug, mormon cricket, cicada, stink bug, tarnished plant bug, thrips, fabria leafspot, apple maggot, codling moth, plum curculio, rose chafer, aphids, naval orangeworm, husk fly, blueberry maggot, blackberry psyllid, flea beetles, orchards, grape leaf skeletonizer, bean leaf beetle, mexican bean beetle, powdery mildew, cucumber beetle, boll weevil, armyworm, black vine weevil, and fruit flies.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 5:44AM
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Wow, Surround sounds like it will fit the bill at my house!!! Thrips are my number one pest all season long, not on citrus but on Blackberry, Blueberry and just about all the veggies. June bugs, aphids, stink bugs and horned tomatoe worms round out my known pest problems. Sounds like surround will take care of all of it. I use spinosad on the citrus for CLM but didnt know they will become immune to it.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 6:29PM
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