lukeblower
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Somethings eating my lemon tree

Hi there, I'm looking for help. I've recently planted a lemon tree and it looks pretty healthy with a couple of fruit on it. The problem is something is eating the leaves. I find plenty of large black ants and smaller red ants on the plant, could they be the culprits? Also I keep finding small white blobs on the leaves and stems - could this be another problem? I'm pretty new to gardens so any advice would be gladly received.

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applestar
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Re: Somethings eating my lemon tree

Ants are probably tending sucking insects, not causing the damage themselves.

When you say "eating" do you mean the leaves are chewed up? -- that would typically be caterpillars or beetles, sometimes slugs or snails.

How "small" are the white "blobs" -- tiny might be mealybugs, bigger and looking like bird droppings might be swallowtail butterfly caterpillars.

Photos and knowing your location would help to ID.
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lukeblower
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Re: Somethings eating my lemon tree

Thanks for the swift reply! Sorry I should have given more details. I'm based in central Japan. I'll attach some images to show the damage and the white blobs.

Thank you for any advice you can give.
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imafan26
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Re: Somethings eating my lemon tree

The white blobs look like mealy bugs. They suck plant juices and are tended by the ants. Put out ant bait to get rid of the ants the mealy bugs can be killed with alcohol on a cotton swab.

The chewed leaves look like the work of slugs or snails. You will have to check it out in the evening or early morning. Slugs will hide in the bottom of the pot and chew on the roots in the daytime. Pull the lemon out of the pot and check the roots for slugs. You don't have to take the root ball apart, they usually are on the outside. Line the pot with window screen to keep them from coming in the drain holes.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

lukeblower
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Re: Somethings eating my lemon tree

Thank you very much. I'll follow your advice.

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