Systemic treatment of citrus

etherbunny(6)November 18, 2012

I have 2 dozen container citrus trees which have been taken into the house for the winter. Several have aphids on the growing tips.... Is it safe to use imidocloprid systemically? Bayer makes a product but I'm uncomfortable about using this product on fruit which I plan to eat.

I DID spray my "trees" with Avid and Volck Oil several times over the summer, but now I see a light infestation of citrus red mite!!!. I can't spray them in the house. Is there ANY safe systemic miticide? At what temperatures is it safe to take them out to spray and how long can they stay out there?

Thanks in advance

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On advice from my gurus/advisors from Texas A&M Citrus research center, I treat my trees twice per year with Bayer imidicloprid (you can use it foliar or soil drench); it protects against sucking and chewing insects, and is accepted even by the EU importers, who have the strictest tolerances for residual chemicals I know. At the same time I treat with Bayer Silvacur (not sure what form it is available for home gardeners in USA.. you could google it); it is a fungicide. Both are topically effective at application, then enter the plant as systemic. As for the aphids, they were probably there before you brought the trees inside; if you have aphids, you almost certainly have ants close by; control the ants, you will avoid the aphids. The aphids you have can simply be washed off using a hose sprayer or under the shower indoors; same with spider mites (what you call "red mites"); they like dry conditions and dirty leaves... a good wash weekly goes a long way to keeping them under control.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 3:11PM
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I suggest washing your leaves off just as John says.

Also, I would use a natural product to rid the critters crawling on your trees, that would suffocate them.

What works for me is Neem Oil and or horticultural soaps and or oils. I would not be afraid to eat fruit if I used these.

I can tell you that many I know of seem to have a worse mite problem when using systemics at this time of the year, but not during teh summer when plants can be left outside..
They say it is like 'cotton candy' to mites, but I am not sure.
All I know is that when I used it, my gardenia was infested with mites that same winter. I had to throw the plant out.
I know many people locally that will only use the systemic when all hope is lost, epsecially to mealy bugs, and only outside before their non-edibles in.


    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 3:25PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

Aphids are very easy to control. A hose with a strong stream of water will get rid of the majority of aphids, then a spritzing with insecticidal soap will take care of whatever is leftover. Keep ants out of your container citrus pots (ants love to make nests in potted plants), and you'll have less aphid issues.

Citrus Red Mite infestations occur for us here in S. California during the end of summer/beginning of fall, when our trees can get water stressed due to our hot, dry Santa Ana wind conditions. So, your best defense is to keep your trees well watered. For my container citrus, not only do I water well, I also hose them off. Imidacloprid has little to no effect with Citrus Red Mite. It is not treatment of choice and can, in fact, cause mite infestations. Neem or or a narrow range oil (Volk) will smother the mites. This is also the recommendation of John's gurus/advisors from Texas A&M (and University of Florida, Arizona State University, etc.)

Patty S.

Here is a link that might be useful: UC IPM: Citrus Red Mite

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 7:14PM
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Thanks for the advice..... Will try to get them out and spray with oil. I'm hoping that 50 degree temps during the day tomorrow and Thursday will let me get all of them sprayed and dried off. Hopefully, only one spraying will be needed because it will be getting cold over the weekend.

I'll try to post pix of my blood oranges.

Happy thanksgiving all

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 8:59PM
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