Lemon Tree wrinkled leaves

mgrandinOctober 12, 2013


I'm in Bangkok Thailand and planted three lemon trees from some sunkist lemons I bought at the market. I think they are just over a year old now. Some trees are doing better than others, but all of them tend to have some leaves with wrinkling.

I've never fertilized them; just dug a whole in the ground and threw a few bags of potting soil in and let them grow.

I'm wondering if they need fertilized or this might be some type of disease? Any help would be much appreciated.

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Here is one of the three trees - the medium sized one.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 3:47AM
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Some of the leaves have some browning underneath.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 3:50AM
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Here are some more photos. I don't think the ant or caterpillar are responsible for the wrinkled leaves. I've also included a photo of the smallest and largest of my three trees and the wrinkled leaves can be found on every tree.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 4:12AM
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This is the biggest leaf I could find and it looks like potentially it has some first stage symptoms of wrinkling. My main concern is that on the smaller trees (this picture is from the one that is the strongest), this is keeping them from sprouting new leafs as they aren't keeping pace with the largest of the trees. On those trees, when I started to see the tree attempting to sprout new leaves (around the tips) I noticed small black ants around that area and new sprouts did not develop. Can ants be a pest?

I'm also curious if there is anyway to identify this as a Lisbon, Eureka, or anything else. They are just from Sunkist store bought lemons and I read somewhere that means they are probably Lisbon or Eureka but I am not sure there is a way to tell what type of lemon trees I have just based on the leaves?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 1:51PM
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This ant is certainly not the cause of this damage as I had not seen this ant before (only small black ants previously not this queen). But it is a nice picture to show the wrinkled leaf problem.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 2:01PM
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And another

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 2:22PM
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Another queen that likes this tree ( I spotted four walking on the biggest of my lemon trees today )

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 2:29PM
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This is the lemon tree that is doing the best. Although it has some wrinkling leaves, in comparison to the the others it is much stronger and has fewer of the wrinkling leaf problems (this one must be nearly 8 feet tall with a fair amount of foliage compared to the others which I guess are around 5.5 and 4 feet tall) yet it was planted at close to the same time (all planted in 2012). No flowers on any yet. While I do not anticipate fruit at this point,I just think the other trees should be keeping up with this one and the wrinkling leaves are holding them back.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 2:43PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

The problem with the leaves are an insect called a leaf miner. And the 'ants ', aren't ants. They look more like small beneficial, predatory, or even gall wasps, to me.

Not sure about the ID, other than tbey aren't ants.

This post was edited by rhizo_1 on Mon, Oct 14, 13 at 15:56

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 3:49PM
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Thanks Rhizo. I initially dismissed leaf miners as I didn't see any tracks, but after a closer look after your suggestion that it is leaf miners, I was able to find a telltale track on one of the leaves.

I still believe the photos above are queen ants. Shortly after those pictures, they lost their wings. I later spotted them hiding under a leaf; I believe they were creating what looked like eggs and they did have pinchers.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 2:45PM
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