My citrus need help

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by Flatland, Nov 7, 2016.

  1. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Ants farm the scale on the citrus branches & tip growth.
    Deal with the ants to stop the scale.
    A general application of permethrim (artificial pyrethrum) as sold in dog or horse wash or more expensively as Eco oil or Eco Spray will solve your ant & scale problem but will also kill any good bugs on your trees.
    I also wonder if you drenched the trees, (branches & trunk in particular) with it, it might have an effect on the snails too by making the bark unpalatable.
    I recon it might also have an affect on their slime producing capacity.
    Soapy water will also render snails incapable of using their slime to get around & will desiccate them.
    You can easily spray the citrus trees with soapy water as that is one treatment for scale.
     
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  2. Flatland

    Flatland Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    The trees haven't got scale now. I treated that some time ago but the damage was done by then. I read that pyrethrum doesn't have any effect on snails. The soapy water is worth a try. If nothing else I could try it on my verandah which has 100's of snails on it most I have squashed but every morning there are more. This place really is snail heaven at the moment probably because we had really heavy rains early in spring. There was flooding all around so I assume that allowed the snails to breed up really well
     
  3. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Did you say you were going to try ducks @Flatland ?
     
  4. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I only just saw this thread...how're the snails and citrus going? It's like a little soap opera! So I'm waiting now for the next installment...
    I was so fascinated by your plague of snails I went searching to find out what could cause it....from your description, the snails might be Theba pisana, a European (mostly Meditteranean) snail (blame the Italians apparently). They climb things and go into dormancy...usually in large numbers and hidden from view. They supposedly often climb their way into freight/plane holds, and this is how they're transported. They apparently also have a particular penchant for citrus! They can be as dense as 3000 snails per tree (what!?) and breed at explosive rates. So, what's the advice for treating them? Sadly no one (inc the uni sites I checked) seems to have a good answer...some are trialling biological contrls....but this would require importing more (but different) snails! The best advice seems to be to remove any hiding places they could use...and then keep doing more of what you're doing.
    Wish I could be a bit more positive...but they sound awful!
     
  5. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Flatland where are you? I just came across a blurb that said these shouldn't be too much of a problem in the tropics, and are more problematic in southern states. Maybe it's some other snail...
     
  6. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Oooo even better (sorry, worse) could be an "Asian tramp snail"...whitish to pale brown, but only 15mm diameter max. (Still no sensible answers on controlling them)
     
  7. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    There's also quite a bit of info around on Indian Runner ducks which apparently like snails and don't eat your veggies!
     
  8. Flatland

    Flatland Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I'm at Milang down on the lower lakes of the Murray so definitely not the tropics. The snails are the type that go up posts etc to go to sleep for the summer. They are white with brown markings. At the moment there are thousands of them up one of my tanks I normally try not to kill things but these snails are truly getting to me so I think I am going to brush them off of the tank sweep them up into a pile & put on heavy boots & dance up & down on them. It should at least reduce their numbers a bit. I would like to get runner ducks but before I do I will have to build a fox proof house for them as there are foxes around. Not a plague of them like the snails but the neighbors have lost chooks to them. If I get ducks & they eat snails I will have very fat ducks. The covered citrus trees continue to put out new leaves so the netting is working. There is a booklet put out by the dept of ag called Burn'm bash'm & bait'm which I think I will get to learn a bit more about theses beasts. The fact that they have printed a booklet on snails says that they are a real problem in some areas & it seems as if I am in one of those areas. In US there are predictory snails that eat other snails sound really good but I understand there has to be a lot of investigations before they can be brought in. Maybe we need a snail man I have met the dung beetle man he is a fanatic lives breathes dung beetles & has been very successful with importing species of dung beetles. I would still love to know why two of my citrus are doing so well & not being eaten by the snails. I think that is really where I should be. There is obviously something that makes those two trees repulsive to snails. Interestingly these two trees are bush like that is they have lots of low branches all touching the ground instead of a single trunk. You would like this would give the snails more access but they don't take it.
     
  9. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Ahhhh, then I think in southern aust you're in the right region for the Theba pisana.
    They like to climb posts particularly to aestivate (once up off the ground, they seal their shell with mucus and go dormant over even really hot summers by preserving their moisture in their shell) at the first sign of water they spring back into life and (being hermaphrodites) can shed a few thousand eggs each. They're any colour form unbanned white, to white with brown band to white withs lots of brown markings (almost lik
    Perhaps the bushier plants aren't attractive to them as their natural preference to to climb things like posts and cereal stems. (This is info from my little research frenzy last night...I never knew this much about snails!) eggs are deposited a few inches into the ground, hence the burn, bash bait policy...I think the idea is to dig up the farrow (turning over soil), then burn and...well the rest is obvious!
    Without being too pessimistic, I think this would need to be a concerted effort in your area....otherwise you'll just keep getting snails in from your neighbours. Perhaps the bags are the way to go in the interim!
     
  10. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I tried to copy some pics over from the university of Florida...but my old iPad won't cooperate...they have som good identification pics
     
  11. Flatland

    Flatland Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Mine are white with brown bands. My neighbours tell me this year has been really bad for snails because of the heavy spring rains we had. They definitely like my citrus over anything else. I see them in the veggie garden but while there may be a nibble or two they are not a problem there.
     
  12. Flatland

    Flatland Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Down loaded the burn m bash m & bait m. Very informative Had lots of info about snails plus farmer's experiences.. As it turns out if I go round knocking the snails off of their posts & my tanks they have to use moisture to get back up to get away from hot ground in summer. So even if I don't squash them many die from running out of moisture. So this is really worth doing to decrease the numbers that survive summer. So this what I am going to do around the house & in the veggie garden & orchard. In the paddocks as we slash & graze these mean that there isn't long grass to get the snails up of the ground. In autumn it is worth baiting so that those that survived summer don't get to bred. It's useless baiting in summer because they don't eat in summer just spend their time trying to get away from the heat. Interestingly many of the farmers don't bait just use bash & burn to keep the numbers down.
     
  13. Flatland

    Flatland Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    the citrus are still in the nets and are now growing quite a few new shoots. Lots of watering and lots of fertilizing. I think I will keep them in their nets until they out grow them hopefully I will have the snails in some sort of control by then
     
  14. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    As I read these previous several posts, I also get a better picture of the little blighters & also I remembered some images I saw years ago of snails up fence posts & dead trees in salt affected ground & up the dead stalks of grain crops. I think it was to do with the ground becoming more salt affected from too much cropping or irrigation along the Murray.

    So that got me thinking about why those 2 fruit trees are not affected.
    I wonder if the thinner branches are too thin & weak for the snails to effectively stay attached plus seal themselves. Maybe when the branches bend down to the ground from the weight of snails or move in the breeze it is too hot near the ground for the snails or simply the branches move too much.

    A fence post or dried cereal crop are very sturdy so the snails can both form a seal & stay attached to the post, etc.

    The citrus trees that are taller & sturdier make a better place for the snails to eat then hibernate. So food with extra moisture in it is right there on tap.

    That is a good idea to brush them down from their high roosts. I would also rake them up & bag them in some form of compostable bag so they couldn't shed eggs back into the soil. The whole bag could be added to a large slow compost heap so the heat killed the snails then composted the bag along with the flesh & shells into amazing fertilizer. That might promote soft growth that the next generation of snails might not prefer to roost in.

    Gosh between all of us here, surely we must be able to come up with a fix for this mind boggling & unusual plague that Flatland is suffering through. :dunno::idea:
     
  15. Flatland

    Flatland Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I like the idea of turning the B's into fertilizer. a bit like Charlie Carp made from the carp in the Murray. Don't know if my compost bin gets hot enough though. Wonder whether you could drown them in water & turn it into liquid manure. That may be dangerous as far as breeding nasty bugs.


    This place is a bit like the seven plagues of Israel. Still I am sure I will get there. I remember back on my old place when we were first there each year we had another weed out of proportion until we got some sort of balance.
     
  16. Flatland

    Flatland Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Update on the citrus. Now that snail season has ended the citrus trees are growing really well. I am feeding them seasol every week with their watering & they are responding by growing lots of healthy leaves. My hope is this summer they can grow enough to cope come the snails. I plan to be very active baiting the snails as soon as they appear next autumn. I have bought iron based snail bait that is supposed to be less toxic than the normal stuff. I would prefer not to have to bait but that I think is unrealistic at least for a few years.
     
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  17. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Flatland, the seasol is very good but actually not a fertilizer.
    It is a restorative & planting aid & you can overdo it.
    Once your plants are responding well you should change to green Power Feed which is actual fertilizer made by the same company.
    The two go together & are often sold in a hose-on 2pack.
    Then, several weeks later once your plants are growing rapidly & not showing disease signs, it is time to change to a flowering or vegetable powerfeed which contains more potassium so you'll get copious flowers for fruit development.
    The green powerfeed is high in nitrogen for lots of growth.
    Or you can simply buy a bottle of liquid potassium & make up according to directions & spray it onto your trees. They don't need much, certainly not as much as the volume required to produce run-off. Just a quick misting is enough & done fortnightly & you don't even have to get it too the underneath of the leaves although that will produce even better results.

    For your citrus, diseases might include canker or rotting of the bark, various leaf problems such as pale new leaf growth, dying or crisp edges of mature leaves, curling leaves, wilting new growth, early leaf fall, squiggly lines on the leaves.

    Using 100% lucerne hay as a mulch in your sandy soil will provide a regular supply of lucerne tea everytime you water around the drip line & will boost the organic matter to build up the sandy soil as the worms & microbes break it down. This process seems to work best using lucerne rather than other types of mulch or hay. Seems more expensive but the results are worth the extra $ input. I remember you said you use your horse poo but I think a good thick layer of lucerne around the drip line would give fantastic results with the poo put ontop to hold the hay down & keep it moist. You might be surprised how quickly the microbes, slaters, etc eat the hay. That tells you the soil is hungry & time to add more hay.
     
  18. Flatland

    Flatland Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    At the moment I am not worrying about getting these poor wee things to flower and fruit all I want is green growth so thank for the thoughts about potassium. I will store that away for another year.

    I have been thinking of using liquid manure tea on them as a fertilizer. Do you think this would be good? Talked to a lot of gardeners down here and everyone seems to use a LOT of seasol. I have noticed that the gardens/orchards that look the best here are the one's who's owners put the seasol on by the bucket load every watering. Maybe it is something about the soil/sand down here.

    I have actually just started mulching with Lucerne hay. Must have read your mine. Had not thought about putting horse poo on top but I can see that would be a good idea too.
     
  19. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I do this sometimes and it does give good results.
     
  20. Ismail

    Ismail Member

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    I have imperial madrine tree, it is 9 years old and still has no priduction of fruits. Si what is the problem?
     
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