Help with my Calamondin tree please! Whiteflies and other problems.

Discussion in 'Citrus' started by slbchdch, Apr 7, 2020.

  1. slbchdch

    slbchdch New Member

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    Hello everyone,
    I am new to the forum, found it while researching the many problems I have with my Calamondin orange tree. Hope you can help!
    The tree was given to us as a house warming present by my grandmother so I am quite attached to it. Unfortunately I have a few problems:
    1) The primary problem I have is, it has whiteflies! I have used an organic insecticide before (since I do use the fruit to make jams) but it is quite expensive to use since I practically have to use one bottle a month. It worked fine, but was wondering if there is an alternative. The whiteflies problem has now grown (much more whiteflies) since I have not used the insecticide for a while. Some leaves have black mold, some branches have no leaves, some leaves are yellow... you name it, I probably have it! The good news is, it is still producing flowers and fruit and new leaves, so maybe it is still not too late! Help? I don't mind cleaning it by hand or even using something that is not organic... as long as it is not something I have to fear for my health while applying.
    2) Based on the problem above, I would love to put the plant inside to save it (after I can kill all the critters). My questions here are: Can I put it in a smaller planter? Can I try reducing the roots, you know like bonsai style, to reduce the planter size? Can I prune it significantly to try and create a fuller tree? When can I do the pruning and repotting? I do live in a quite hot climate so the weather is never too cold (temperature varies from maybe 10 celsius in December to 32 celsius in spring/summer and we live in an apartment facing north (so little to no direct sun most of the year) and the tree currently receive direct sun only from April to maybe August.
    I am including some pictures of everything described above. Thanks in advance for all your comments and help!
    IMG_3254.JPG IMG_3255.JPG IMG_3256.JPG IMG_3257.JPG IMG_3258.JPG IMG_3259.JPG
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 7, 2020
  2. Will B

    Will B Active Member

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    re: 1) I would suggest using an edible oil spray, such as one made with canola oil (often used for cooking). I have not used it myself since I have not had whitefly, but oil sprays are effective against mites. Since oil sprays work by clogging the breathing holes of tiny bugs it should also be effective against whitefly. Here is a link on using canola oil as a pesticide: How to Apply Canola Oil As a Pesticide

    re: 2) Yes, roots can be reduced and citrus can be grown like a bonsai. However, keep in mind damaging the roots can allow infection. Also, when the roots are disturbed you need to trim some of the branches or at least remove quite a few of the leaves. Since the roots will not be able to absorb as much water if there are too many leaves you can create an imbalance that could potentially kill the tree, so be sure to trim the plant when you trim the roots.
     
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  3. slbchdch

    slbchdch New Member

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    Thank you, Will! I will be looking at the aforementioned link and investigating on options in my location, and thank you for your recommendations!
    What I did do (in case the plant dies because of the diseases) is I made a few seedlings... so at least I can continue my grandmothers gift with a smaller "child" of my tree.
     
  4. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    There's not enough light in that location to sustain the tree indoors unless you invest in artificial lighting. If the tree is to remain outside, then there's no need to reduce the root mass and to repot.
    Yes. I had a problem with thrips and spider mites with my calamondin. The tree was rather sparse looking so I took the opportunity to stump it, leaving a bare stem of about 18". It grew back beautifully. The pests were easy to deal with once there was no foliage left in which they could hide. The stump was sprayed with insecticidal soap a number of times. You should be good to go as long as there are no infected plants nearby to reinfect the tree. I suggest you buy concentrated insecticidal soap and dilute it yourself as it will be much more cost effective.

    You would be better off to propagate some cuttings rather than raising seedlings. The cuttings will be clones of the plant, already mature and ready to produce flowers once established.
     
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  5. slbchdch

    slbchdch New Member

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    Thank you, Junglekeeper!

    I will definitely look into insecticidal soap too... just the period in which we all are will make it difficult but will definitely search for it from home. Meanwhile, I did go to the supermarket to pick up some food and proceeded to buy canola oil, I will try with that in the meantime.

    With regards to cuttings, I have tried but have been unsuccessful at it... the first time I was not successful at all, the second time, some tiny leaves began to grow but later died, the third and last time roots never seemed to form... if you have some tips please let me know!
     
  6. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    Of course there are many ways to propagate cuttings but this is what I do. I use a propagation tray with a plastic dome to raise the humidity. For 'pots' I cut up a thin, flimsy tray insert with 2.5" x 2.25" compartments. Look up Jiffy for an example of what I mean. Take semi-hardwood cuttings, those that are not too young and not too old. Apply rooting hormone to the cutting and plant into a peat based medium with extra perlite added. It's easy to check for roots by looking through the drainage hole or even popping out the planting, medium and all.

    You're in a hotter climate so take care to not cook the cuttings in the heat and sun.
     
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  7. slbchdch

    slbchdch New Member

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    Thank you, Junglekeeper! I will check everything you say and try again! I think I figured a few problems I might be having based on your comments.
    meanwhile, I leave you with a picture of one of my seedlings (I think I started it about 16 months ago).
     

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  8. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    You're welcome. Don't forget to treat your cuttings for pests.
     
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  9. slbchdch

    slbchdch New Member

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    So, a small update... I trimmed off the majority of infested branches and leaves... There are new leaves coming out!! A few branches are dead (you can see they are turning brown without any green coming through) but at least it is getting better.
    The insecticidal soap worked wonders!! I can still see a few critters... turns out I did some digging, it is not whitefly but snow scale! Most of the white insects have gone (I believe those are the male insects) but I can still find a few brown insects (female?) in some branches. I will continue to apply the insecticidal soap and hopefully I will be able to eliminate it completely!
    Thank you Will B and Junglekeeper!
     
  10. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    You should be aware that insecticidal soap is ineffective against adult scale; they must therefore be physically removed before spraying. They will make a comeback if you miss even one. You may want to consider switching to horticultural oil sprays if you are unsuccessful with the soap.
     
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  11. slbchdch

    slbchdch New Member

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    Thank you! I will definitely check on horticultural oils! Because I have been trying to remove them by hand but the spaces between two branches and the wood texture does make it difficult.
     
  12. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Renowned Contributor 10 Years

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    Last edited: May 10, 2020
  13. slbchdch

    slbchdch New Member

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    Thank you!! Had not thought about using string! will definitely do that and I will check the link!
     

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