Kumquats: Spidery web, fluffy white spots, and Neem Oil...

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by jpasquini, Jan 30, 2018.

  1. jpasquini

    jpasquini Active Member 10 Years

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    Well, kumquats are my favorite fruit.
    Seeing as they're virtually impossible to find in the grocery stores here practically ever, I had the bright idea of having my own kumquat trees. All the kumquats you could want, right at home, right?
    After a couple hundred on the trees, another hundred on the pots, and maybe $75 on some quality LED grow lights, not to mention a lot of work and a fall sitting out in the yard and heaving them inside.... I now have 3 trees in pots which are weathering the Midwest winter in the basement under the 'hydroponic' red/blue lights, by a basement window.

    With these bulbs, which are new technology, Taotronics 36W '3 band' grow lights, I'm actually having some luck.... and the seemingly impossible is happening- it appears the trees are ripening fruits yellow to orange in the basement! They never did this inside until I got these bulbs. What's more they're even starting up new fruits.
    That's great. The only problem is, now I'm getting some fine spidery web here and there (surely spider mites) and some tiny fluffy white spots here and there, along with a few larger ones. And for the first time since they've gone inside some feeble new leaf growth, although the incoming leaves look somewhat curly which I'm not sure whether or not is a bad sign.
    But yes, spider mites have come to take care of that. The plague and often the end game of practically ANYTHING I've ever tried to grow indoors.

    This time I was somewhat prepared, with a Neem Oil mixture which I've tried at different strengths. I have upped it as I seem at best to be holding ground, while being careful not to burn the leaves.
    So what I've got now is kumquat trees that reek of neem oil, and have some white fluffy spots and spider mites. But are at least, hanging on and fruiting.

    Well, I can't say that looks particularly appetizing, and I feel all the more the fool for spending so much time and money on this project.
    I guess my question is, is it safe to eat fruit that has had neem oil, spider mites and possibly cottony scale or mealy bugs thoroughly washed off, or am I going to poison myself on top of busting the wallet? As kumquats are eaten with the skin on, am I eating spider eggs, if I wash them? lol
    Anyone have any thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2018
  2. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Contributor 10 Years

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    I like kumquats as well, the Meiwa variety. When I get spider mites or scale I spray with insecticidal soap until they're gone. It may take awhile but persistence pays off in the end. Haven't tried neem oil but I thought it was safe to use with edibles. Even so I wouldn't want to consume fruit treated with it without a through washing. As for eating spider mite eggs I'm sure you've eaten much worse with your vegetables. So, not to worry.
     
  3. jpasquini

    jpasquini Active Member 10 Years

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    The Meiwas are sweetened kumquat, from what I understand... and most Americans seem to want their fruits and veggies (and most everything else) sweet, sweet, and sweeter.
    You definitely get that impression from nursery and garden ads too.
    But I think the regular Nagami is perfect.
    As for the insecticidal soap, you think its superior/safer than neem? Do you spray it on and just let it sit, or do you physically clean off everything as it appears?
    Yes I was told neem oil was safe, I wouldn't go with anything not.
    I wonder if the curled new leaves are anything to worry about.
    I had been using PAR38 bulbs but the trees dropped a lot of lower leaves, and really seemed to be just hanging on. The new bulbs appear to be doing better, so if can get this new attack under control, could be in business....
     
  4. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Contributor 10 Years

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    Aren't Nagami kumquats sour? I remember eating them when I was young and puckering up.

    Insecticidal soap is all that I've ever used but others swear by horticultural oil. You just spray the soap on ALL plant surfaces and allow it to dry naturally. However it's not effective against adult scale - those should be physically removed before spraying. I suspect it may not be effective against mite eggs as well which may partly explain the need for repeated applications.

    I wouldn't worry too much about the curled leaves if they're not deformed. Perhaps it'll resolve itself once the pests have been dealt with. Do you maintain higher humidity levels in your grow room? I had a number of kumquat trees die on me until I raised the humidity in my room.
     
  5. wcutler

    wcutler Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Right - you need to spray or wash off and spray every generation until you catch them all before they reproduce.
     
  6. jpasquini

    jpasquini Active Member 10 Years

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    I've been occasionally spraying the leaves with water, don't know if that helps or hurts.
    Nagamis or I guess traditional kumquats are a complex taste. The fruit is sour, but the skin is sweet so it is both. Assuming of course its picked at the right time.
    Marvelous fruit. To coin an old phrase, "Like nothing you've ever tried".
    They don't ship or store well though, evidently, as they are very hard to find at grocery stores.
     
  7. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Contributor 10 Years

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    I wouldn't spray with water. Though there is some benefit in discouraging the mites there's also a chance you'll knock a few off the tree and thereby help spread the problem.

    Yes, I suppose "complex" could be used to describe the kumquat's taste. I like how the sweet rind combines with the not so sweet pulp. I've not seen the Nagami variety sold in stores for many years. Nowadays the Meiwa variety is what I'm seeing (judging by their shape) but I avoid buying them as they're from China. If they can be shipped all they way across the ocean, why can't they be shipped from the States which is much closer? Strange.
     

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