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Suckers, mites, snails: summer troubles for citrus.

Suckers, mites, snails: summer troubles for citrus

As summer progresses, be alert to signsthat your citrus is suffering maladies.

The photograph at top shows an unusualproblem: undesirable fruit produced by a rambunctious rootstock that is taking over the main plant. Rootstock varieties have sturdy, disease-resistant root systems but usually bear thick-skinned, undersize, poor-quality fruit. Prune out the invader's branches and watch for new growth from below the graft line on the trunk. If the entire plant yields this undesirable fruit, the rootstock has taken over, and you may want to replace the plant.

Snail damage, like that shown aboveright, is a commoner problem. In hot-summer areas, much of the damage now apparent on fruit occurred in spring, when snails are more active. Snails become inactive during hot weather. Knock them off foliage and other hiding places before using controls. Apply a bait or nontoxic spray (for information on snails, see page 122 of the April 1986 Sunset).

For mites, hot weather is paradise. Mostsuck sap from leaves and fruit, causing pinprick-size yellow dots on leaves and brown or silver blotches on fruit. You may also spot their gossamer webs on flower buds or between leaves. (Citrus bud mites cause fruit distortion, described on page 230 of the June 1986 Sunset.)

Consider controlling mites with beneficialpredatory mites, or try washing them off with a strong jet of water. If the infestation is severe, spray with kelthane. Once the weather cools off, you can use an oil spray (at the growing-season dilution). Oil is particularly effective against all types of mites.

Photo: Bumpy, thick-skinned lemons withinsipid flavor resulted when rootstock overwhelmed a "Meyer' lemon plant that had been grafted onto it

Photo: Ready for another meal,snail rasps holes in lemon fruit and leaves
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Aug 1, 1987
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