30 January 2014 By Billy Hawkins
It’s happened to all of us here at Alitex this year. In a fit of citrus plant love we all embraced this pretty fruit tree and with encouragement from one of our morning lectures, we have enjoyed delicious lemons.
However, in our Victorian glasshouse over the past month or so we have noticed sticky leaves and brown marks on the leaves. Then the leaves have started dropping until the plant looks very sad indeed.
We have taken advice and what we have are either aphids or scale – insects which suck the juices out of the plant. All plants produce sugar and it is this which is being dropped on the leaves as a by product of the insect “eating”. This in turn, goes black and develops into a kind of fungus. Check the underside of the leaves for aphids, small bugs that are either green or black. Ants often bring them onto plants, then stay around to feed on the sugary stuff.
The best treatment, is to wash the bugs and the stickiness off (and the bits which look like small blobs of glue, which are the baby bugs) with warm water and washing up liquid (really rub the leaves) rinse well and re pot in new soil. You can repeat this treatment if necessary, without re-potting the next time. Once you knock the bugs are off, aphids can't climb back up by themselves and you have removed the attractive sticky stuff for the ants.
Get the best harvest from your lemon tree with our heating tips, read our fruit houses blog.