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Removing Scale from Lime Trees / Plants
trog
AGN Admin
Brisbane, Queensland
33510 posts
So it turns out even growing plants is something that requires effort. I've got a couple lime trees that have been quietly chugging along happily. Until a couple months ago when they started getting invaded by ants. I tried Ant-rid and just blowing them away with spray but to no avail.

Closer inspection revealed some white fibrous stuff that they hang out around, and I finally bothered Googling it today and found out it's something called 'scale'.

Seems to be a relatively common problem with a variety of solutions, including spraying it with something called "white oil" and trying to block the ants by taping up the bottom of the tree and applying various things that stop them climbing it.

If it wasn't a stupid public holiday I'd just go out to Bunnings and buy white oil and/or talk to them but I thought I might ask if anyone else has encountered this problem.

(Also before you have kids I encourage you to try growing plants for a couple of years, because it's one of those things that you think should be really easy but at every step there seems to be something new you need to learn to combat some other problem. I assumed I would just have to water the freakin' things!)
01:09pm 22/04/11 Permalink
system
Internet
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01:09pm 22/04/11 Permalink
WetWired
Brisbane, Queensland
5470 posts
your tree is possessed and requires an exorcism
01:13pm 22/04/11 Permalink
Spook
Brisbane, Queensland
31763 posts
01:19pm 22/04/11 Permalink
Storm
Brisbane, Queensland
327 posts
I had a quick look on the Yates forums - this link suggests using a stiff brush to remove the scale before applying oil - so maybe you can be productive today :)

http://www.yates.com.au/garden-expert/answers/fruit-citrus/1776-white-louse-scale-citrus
01:20pm 22/04/11 Permalink
trog
AGN Admin
Brisbane, Queensland
33511 posts
first hit on google

http://www.daleysfruit.com.au/forum/scale-on-citrus/
Hey, that's the one I found with the solutions I outlined in the OP!
01:44pm 22/04/11 Permalink
Spook
Brisbane, Queensland
31764 posts
and you tried the vaseline trick?
01:47pm 22/04/11 Permalink
trog
AGN Admin
Brisbane, Queensland
33512 posts
I had a quick look on the Yates forums - this link suggests using a stiff brush to remove the scale before applying oil - so maybe you can be productive today :)
I think its a different scale there- the one I have comes off easily just with a wet cloth.. I've been trying to get rid of as much of it as I can so will see if it comes back.

Just curious to see if anyone else has any other suggestions (ie, can I rent an ant eater?) along totally different limes. I mean lines.
01:48pm 22/04/11 Permalink
Outlaw
Gold Coast, Queensland
336 posts
Cool question. I have 2 plants that have recently died from a white scaley desease. I have not looked into it yet.
Whats the plant?

I just finished painting a fence and I used Pea Beu to kill the masses of ants.
01:58pm 22/04/11 Permalink
trog
AGN Admin
Brisbane, Queensland
33513 posts
and you tried the vaseline trick?
Gonna give it a go once I find some tape... unfortunately i don't think it'll work on one of the trees because the branches fork too low on the base
02:00pm 22/04/11 Permalink
Outlaw
Gold Coast, Queensland
337 posts
To control white louse scale, spray with Lime Sulphur in winter, other scale outbreaks can be controlled with Pest Oil, which works by smothering the scale.

http://www.greenharvest.com.au/greennotes/Organic_Citrus_Care.html

Some soft scales, including white wax scale and black scale, secrete large amounts of ‘honeydew’, which causes problems by sticking to the lower leaves where it is fed on by a fungus called Black sooty mould. Honeydew also attracts ants, which feed on it. The ants can ‘farm’ the scale, protect them from predators.



Keep ants out of your trees by banding the trunks with horticultural glue. Prune any low branches that are touching the ground and make sure tall stems of grass aren’t providing an alternative route for the ants.
02:28pm 22/04/11 Permalink
Seven
Wollongong, New South Wales
1401 posts
Scale Gun from Yates at Bunnings
03:12pm 22/04/11 Permalink
E.T.
Queensland
3559 posts
Belt sander will do it :)
06:31pm 22/04/11 Permalink
HerbalLizard
Brisbane, Queensland
4895 posts
white oil I think from memory is what you are after
06:45pm 22/04/11 Permalink
copuis
Brisbane, Queensland
210 posts
as for the ants

http://www.basic-info-4-organic-fertilizers.com/companionplants.html

peppermint and/or lavandar might be the ticket long term and both smell better than insect sprays

oh, and why not make your own white oil?

http://www.aila.org.au/canberragarden/maintenance/white_oil.pdf
10:27am 23/04/11 Permalink
deadlyf
Queensland
1636 posts
White oil is basically vegetable oil, detergent and water.
http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s2281115.htm

You have to get the quantities right though, I ended up making my Lime tree lose most of it's leaves when I used home made white oil to control aphids. I never bothered to look up a recipe and just guessed, I guessed wrong. Little guy is back in business now but it was touch and go for a while there.

We had a bay tree with scale and found pruning the s*** out of it helped, supposedly if you have good air flow and plenty of sunlight helps to keep it from coming back.
11:00am 23/04/11 Permalink
copuis
Brisbane, Queensland
213 posts
on deadlyf, peter cundal (sp) doesn't use detergent in his mix, but it requires you to cover the plants for a few days

grandma used to go 4 part sunflower oil, 1 part hand soap, and 50:50 with water, but there are a s*** load of different ways to make it, however i wouldn't got with the anti bac hand soap,

sunlite dish washing soap might be the best go
11:18am 23/04/11 Permalink
Whoop
Brisbane, Queensland
18328 posts
02:03pm 23/04/11 Permalink
copuis
Brisbane, Queensland
215 posts
also, supercheap has it on their shelves (just came from there, thought it odd they would have it) plus 20% off
04:01pm 23/04/11 Permalink
trog
AGN Admin
Brisbane, Queensland
34230 posts
OK, because no-one on the Internet seems to know how to fix this goddamn problem by installing a patch (seriously why is gardening not like computers), here's what I have discovered.

What I have is probably cottony cushion scale and/or mealybugs.

These things are really goddamn annoying and hard to get rid of.

I have tried white oil but it doesn't seem to do anything. Perhaps I am not spraying it right.

I have been manually scraping this stuff off; it seems to be having some effect but they definitely keep coming back. I think to really get rid of them manually it is going to require a LOT of repeated manual effort and visual inspection to get rid of these things - there are a lot of leaves on trees and each one needs to be looked at really to get rid of it.

HOWEVER, some good news - I have learned that there are a variety of ladybirds that eat these things for breakfast! Literally, they eat them. Even more awesome you can buy these things by the punnet or tub from various places that specialise in selling insects on the Internet (seriously).

I have asked those guys if they think pursuing a biological warfare solution will help me out here. I have read in a few places that eventually these ladybirds will turn up on their own, but it's been a few months and as I'm a few stories up I doubt their ability to find me.

Stay tuned for more in this epic saga of me trying to keep these things - which allegedly only need water and sunlight to live - alive.
06:25pm 10/08/11 Permalink
Murderer
Tasmania
1722 posts
Do you have kids trog?
07:13pm 10/08/11 Permalink
blahnana
Brisbane, Queensland
686 posts
Don't wait for ladybirds to turn up on their own.
07:17pm 10/08/11 Permalink
defi
Wynnum, Queensland
2674 posts

Confidor - (Not so good if you want to eat the fruit though) but will kick the s*** out of scale / most other insects.

White Oil for you Lime / Edibles.

Black sooty mould / Ants are basically the stage that you have before the scale, so if you can use ant baits / ant dust away from the affected species and control the black sooty mould (You could use a Generic fungicide (Banrot / ask Bunnings whats commercially available if its not on your edibles) you should be sweet.

Also once you kill the scale they should go from almost a moist pinky colored creature to a flaky white kind of shell (This is how you know they are dead). You need to break the reproduction cycle, so smash it the first time to kill them, then hit it again in like 2 weeks time.
08:00pm 10/08/11 Permalink
defi
Wynnum, Queensland
2675 posts
Also fertalise the s*** out of the trees. Coming into spring, they are going to flush really nicely and hopefully this will help reduce the sooty mould = less ants and less scale. If you can get a product call Seasol, boost the s*** out of everything really nicely.
08:05pm 10/08/11 Permalink
sleepy
Sunshine Coast, Queensland
1960 posts
Don't wait for ladybirds to turn up on their own.


ladyboys might be more of an issue just quietly. still waiting for the rose garden thread featuring Trog.

ps.
my lime tree is going ok.
went through a rough patch there for a while.
due to neglect and growing the little sucker in a pot.

now i have a palace this little f***** is cranking in open soil and pasture.
problem is growing enough potoatoes to make the spirits.

pps. putting fruit in your beer is like having a apple martini in a bikers bar.
it just aint right.
08:16pm 10/08/11 Permalink
ara
Sydney, New South Wales
3352 posts
Where are the pictures already?
10:14pm 10/08/11 Permalink
Imperial
Brisbane, Queensland
456 posts
09:18am 11/08/11 Permalink
Pinky
Melbourne, Victoria
10752 posts
Hi5 fellow gardener.

We love our garden and vege patch in particular. Gardening is so much fun.

White Oil is definitely the go-to for this - just make sure you get the mixture right. I think it's only 5mL per litre of water for citrus plants (compared to 20mL for most other stuff).

Citrus plants have a waxy leaf, so make sure you get the underside of the leaves covered well. Best to wear gloves - White Oil is just petrol basically.

Additionally you can use a mild mix of soapy water (just dish-washing detergent) and spray that on the tree trunk. That will stop things crawling up it.

Keep using White Oil once a week for a month, you will clear it up in no time, and it shouldn't come back quickly. Should require White Oil once every couple of months after that to keep it basically scale free.

Best to apply when you know it won't rain anytime soon (i.e., 24h).

How are your limes coming along? Do you get gall wasp up there? That's the annoying one down here. You have to prune out the deformities where they breed inside the branches.

The other thing you should do is make sure your lime is pruned properly so that good air-flow can get through the main branches. That will help with fruiting and also make it harder for things like scale to live on the tree.

I have a few of these for different chems. One for applying fertiliser to foliage directly, one for white oil, etc.

http://www.maximumpower.com.au/images/products/C-M-S1.jpg

You can get them from Bunnings.
10:39am 11/08/11 Permalink
trog
AGN Admin
Brisbane, Queensland
34260 posts
10:24am 13/08/11 Permalink
Sc00bs
Brisbane, Queensland
7594 posts
i got that white s*** on my lime tree aswell :(

tried scale remover but doesnt seem to work, think i might go get some white oil and peruthrium? i think its called
01:04pm 13/08/11 Permalink
Mantra
Crusty old man
Brisbane, Queensland
3012 posts
(Also before you have kids I encourage you to try growing plants for a couple of years, because it's one of those things that you think should be really easy but at every step there seems to be something new you need to learn to combat some other problem. I assumed I would just have to water the freakin' things!)
I am so looking forward to when you have kids...
02:32pm 13/08/11 Permalink
justrev
Melbourne, Victoria
336 posts
Ah them, a nearby goldfish pond will get rid if those in my experience. they go down to drink and don't come back.

the black soot on a different plant required repeated hand removal. is now clear. persistence.
04:55pm 13/08/11 Permalink
trog
AGN Admin
Brisbane, Queensland
34263 posts
Ah them, a nearby goldfish pond will get rid if those in my experience. they go down to drink and don't come back
orly, because the goldfish eat them or because they drown?
04:59pm 13/08/11 Permalink
trog
AGN Admin
Brisbane, Queensland
34314 posts
How are your limes coming along? Do you get gall wasp up there? That's the annoying one down here. You have to prune out the deformities where they breed inside the branches.
F***! Yes. blahnana dropped over yesterday and pointed it out - I had seen those lumps and just thought it was how the tree was growing.

I've read a few things about it this morning - sounds like my options are pruning the s*** out of it (it's everywhere on one of the trees) or attempting to cut them out manually(?), and then possibly using traps that I can just get from Bunnings.

HOLY S*** THIS GARDENING CRAP IS COMPLICATED
08:04am 20/08/11 Permalink
Chakas
USA
3402 posts
It's ok trog, I don't know how to grow plants either.
08:10am 20/08/11 Permalink
justrev
Melbourne, Victoria
338 posts
orly, because the goldfish eat them or because they drown?

yes the goldfish eat them
der
08:25am 20/08/11 Permalink
trog
AGN Admin
Brisbane, Queensland
34353 posts
So I ordered 80 ladybirds which arrived the other day; I've put mosquito netting all over one of the trees and have unleashed them inside. All started off well and they were happily running around, but when I came home tonight most of them were having a break parked on the mosquito netting. Hopefully they'll get back onto the tree tomorrow!

Was pretty neat watching them all run around and poke at stuff. I hope they eat all these stupid little things.
10:10pm 24/08/11 Permalink
Mantra
Crusty old man
Brisbane, Queensland
3025 posts
and have unleashed them inside
Can you actually use the word "unleashed" in the case of Ladybirds?
10:12pm 24/08/11 Permalink
ara
Sydney, New South Wales
3364 posts
Was pretty neat watching them all run around and poke at stuff. I hope they eat all these stupid little things.


where are the pictures of the blood bath!?@?
11:44pm 24/08/11 Permalink
Pinky
Melbourne, Victoria
10854 posts
I've read a few things about it this morning - sounds like my options are pruning the s*** out of it

Unfortunately, yes, this is the only option. The good news is though that the tree will respond well.

When you're pruning keep these in mind:
1. Remove branches which grow from the outside of the tree into the middle. These usually cross over other branches, potentially rubbing (with a breeze or otherwise) and disease/fungi will infect that rubbing location.
2. The tree canopy should be fairly sparse for best tree heatlh. Promote airflow through the tree leaves to prevent fungal spores.

How big of a lime tree are talking here? Human height?

Gall wasps secrete a hormone which is similar to growth hormone in the tree, hence the deformities. It definitely affects the tree. I had a substantial amount in my lemon tree and since I cut it all out the tree is massively happy.

Also, if you're into espresso like me and have your own machine, dump all your grounds around the base of the tree. The 'drip zone' is a circle of radius half the tree height around the base. This is roughly where the roots are - and limes and lemons have very shallow roots. Spread the grounds around here. The tree loves it. Ours didn't fruit in two years, I did this and ours has fully developed fruit everywhere now.
11:45pm 24/08/11 Permalink
trog
AGN Admin
Brisbane, Queensland
34364 posts
How big of a lime tree are talking here?
Human height? Nah not that high at all. In the pot it maybe comes up to my chest. I'll take some photos.
Gall wasps secrete a hormone which is similar to growth hormone in the tree, hence the deformities. It definitely affects the tree. I had a substantial amount in my lemon tree and since I cut it all out the tree is massively happy.
Yeh the f*****s got in everywhere. Wish I had known about them before, I could have gotten a head start on them. The good news is that (so far) they're only in one of my two trees so hopefully the other will stay clear - except it has its own problems with mealybug.
Also, if you're into espresso like me and have your own machine, dump all your grounds around the base of the tree. The 'drip zone' is a circle of radius half the tree height around the base. This is roughly where the roots are - and limes and lemons have very shallow roots. Spread the grounds around here. The tree loves it. Ours didn't fruit in two years, I did this and ours has fully developed fruit everywhere now.
ORLY, I don't drink coffee but my brother does and has his own machine.

Are "grounds" what is left over after you grind beans or something (I seriously know nothing about coffee)? Or can I just tell him "give me your leftover grounds" and he'll know what I mean?
12:08pm 25/08/11 Permalink
Pinky
Melbourne, Victoria
10861 posts
Are "grounds" what is left over after you grind beans or something (I seriously know nothing about coffee)? Or can I just tell him "give me your leftover grounds" and he'll know what I mean?

Yeah. You grind the coffee, chuck it in the group head and smash water through it into a cup, then tap out the used grinds into a container. That's what you want. Doesn't matter if they get mouldy, s'all good.
12:22pm 25/08/11 Permalink
Saint
Cainer
Brisbane, Queensland
3086 posts
* Pinky is now known as Greeny (in this thread). Awesome infos!
02:56pm 25/08/11 Permalink
Tollaz0r!
Brisbane, Queensland
11506 posts
Hi5 for Pinky, QGL's resident gardening expert.
03:27pm 25/08/11 Permalink
Pinky
Melbourne, Victoria
10865 posts
Yeah, I've watched nearly every episode of Gardening Australia in the last three years, and they are mighty repetitive at times. Hard not for at least some info to sink in!
04:11pm 25/08/11 Permalink
Tollaz0r!
Brisbane, Queensland
11507 posts
Ausgamers needs a new achievement. Green Thumb, those who have grown or at least attempted to grow plants, preferably vegetable or fruit.
04:20pm 25/08/11 Permalink
trog
AGN Admin
Brisbane, Queensland
34375 posts
Hmm, yeh, my ladybirds definitely seem happier just hanging on to the mosquito netting. I've manually transplanted a few of them from the netting back onto the tree, and they seem to just get on the tree and walk around happily there, but I guess they get bored at some point and try to fly to freedom. I wonder if they'll get hungry and then go back to the tree to eat or if they'll just die hanging on to the netting :|

Also for hilarity value when I went out to check it after getting home from work, there was a mosquito parked on the mosquito netting. That s*** really works!
06:05pm 25/08/11 Permalink
Saint
Cainer
Brisbane, Queensland
3088 posts
When do we get pics of the ladybirds?
10:27pm 25/08/11 Permalink
Pinky
Melbourne, Victoria
10869 posts
Posted this in the other thread but it belongs here - this is our lemon tree as of today ;) Except I mowed the lawn after I took this photo. It's not really lawn, as you can see. This is in the back corner of the block and all land slopes towards this point so when it rains the lemons love it.

http://img94.imageshack.us/img94/2425/dsc00012upc.jpg
10:41pm 25/08/11 Permalink
Sc00bs
Brisbane, Queensland
7634 posts
hmm im thinking i need to give my lime & jalapeno tree some loving.

Lime tree Was in a pot and replanted it and its just not taking off like i expected, might have to trim it up a bit and give it some seasol food over the next month or so
08:55am 26/08/11 Permalink
trog
AGN Admin
Brisbane, Queensland
34385 posts
OK so did some probably-too-late research and discovered that apparently are Cryptolaemus scared of ants. Pussies.

So I need to try to de-ant a bit first. I've pulled all the ladybirds off and put them back in their original containers with some honey & mealybugs which will hopefully keep them alive for a few days while I de-ant the crap out of them.
03:45pm 27/08/11 Permalink
JohnnieD
Brisbane, Queensland
1704 posts
This thread is great. I've thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
06:08pm 27/08/11 Permalink
Pinky
Melbourne, Victoria
10878 posts
So I need to try to de-ant a bit first.

If you want to stop ants climbing up your tree then put vaseline around the trunk about 200mm from ground level. Ants can't cross that barrier. Depending on the ambient temperature it might not work for you guys - Vaseline might get too runny, but worth a shot.
02:58am 28/08/11 Permalink
trog
AGN Admin
Brisbane, Queensland
34387 posts
If you want to stop ants climbing up your tree then put vaseline around the trunk about 200mm from ground level. Ants can't cross that barrier. Depending on the ambient temperature it might not work for you guys - Vaseline might get too runny, but worth a shot.
yeh, I did that a while back and it seemed to work OK - until a few days later it pissed down rain and washed it all off. I'll keep at it this time though; already the effect is noticable.

I'm also de-anting in small groups by getting sticky tape and picking them off. Slow but effective!
03:38pm 28/08/11 Permalink
trog
AGN Admin
Brisbane, Queensland
34433 posts
OK update.

Project De-antification looks like it was a success. Ants are much less noticable everywhere. I almost feel sorry for them now, there's all these dumb stray ants wandering around the base of the tree that can't seem to figure out what is going on.

The ladybirds are now all happily scampering over the tree, tending to stay in parts where the mealybug seems to be most common - underneath leaves near where they join the branches. I'll keep a bit of an eye on them to make sure the ants don't figure out a way back up, but hopefully this will be enough to knock the mealybug back a bit. Cautiously optimistic!
05:43pm 01/09/11 Permalink
BillyHardball
Brisbane, Queensland
12842 posts
Hope you're taking pics.
06:22pm 01/09/11 Permalink
Pinky
Melbourne, Victoria
10915 posts
Hope you're taking pics.

He has no control though, amirite BillyH? Needs a tree next to it with no ladybugs. It's just not science.

Yeah, I want to see some pics too.

I ate our first lemon for the season last night on my fish. Good move. I want to preserve some this year: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_preserved_lemons/
06:47pm 01/09/11 Permalink
BillyHardball
Brisbane, Queensland
12844 posts
He has no control though, amirite BillyH? Needs a tree next to it with no ladybugs. It's just not science.

A control would be good, but not entirely necessary. You could see if over the next few days the fungus disappears, then get rid of the ladybugs, then see if the fungus comes back, then re-introduce the ladybugs etc etc... That's not entirely practical though either :) IMO the best thing to do is write down exactly what happens, and compare that with the next time it happens, or with someone else's similar problem.
06:50pm 01/09/11 Permalink
trog
AGN Admin
Brisbane, Queensland
34434 posts
He has no control though, amirite BillyH? Needs a tree next to it with no ladybugs. It's just not science.
Actually I do have another tree beside it with no ladybugs :) But its in a totally different state cuz it got smashed by the gall wasp.
06:55pm 01/09/11 Permalink
Pinky
Melbourne, Victoria
10916 posts
IMO the best thing to do is write down exactly what happens, and compare that with the next time it happens, or with someone else's similar problem.

Like on an online forum for example?
06:57pm 01/09/11 Permalink
trog
AGN Admin
Brisbane, Queensland
34946 posts
So I got rid of all those other things and one of the trees is looking great. The other is struggling and I've just discovered it has little white worm things in the soil. I just recently found a bunch of these in a strawberry plant that I assume they killed. Ffffffffffffffffuuuuuuuuuuu
07:34pm 24/10/11 Permalink
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