steffenland
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Lemon tree white stuff around the trunk

Hi,

Can anyone tell me what this white stuff is? It looks like thin candy floss, I think its salts or some fungus attack, but either way I will need some advice on how to get rid of the problem.
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applestar
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Re: Lemon tree white stuff around the trunk

Two possibilities that comes to mind are (1) fungal mycelia growing in the woody looking growing medium -- not necessarily attacking the plant (2) if this is summer or late summer for you, then wooly aphids (if there are aphids in the mass, they smear red when squished)

If fungal growth, then growing medium is being kept too moist. Allow surface to dry to touch before watering. How well draining is the growing medium? You can scrape them off if you want, but probably not necessary and wont eradicate the rest still underground.
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steffenland
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Re: Lemon tree white stuff around the trunk

I think I figured this one out for myself, its fungus growing the my trees scale insects sticky stuff.
Ive been fighting my scales all winter but nothing seems to help, what about cleaning off the soil and then submerging the entire tree in water for 12 hours to drown off the scales and then repotting with new soil?

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applestar
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Re: Lemon tree white stuff around the trunk

To hand-swipe and remove scale insects, I use a mixture of rubbing alcohol, a bit of light oil like canola or safflower, and a drop or two of liquid SOAP (I use Dr. Bronner's Peppermint). Cotton swabs as applicator for light infestations, a bamboo skewer or chopstick wrapped with torn piece of vitamin bottle cotton stuffing to make a longer handled giant swab for heavier infestations.

Don't apply the oily mixture on tender foliage or in sunlight.

...you could spray the fungus with alcohol.... but you know, usually, it's BLACK mold that grows on honeydew.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Lemon tree white stuff around the trunk

Yes, it really looks like the kind of fungus that grows on wood chip mulch. I doubt it is growing on the honeydew the scale insects exude. It isn't harming your tree. When I have it growing on mulch, I just stir the mulch around with a hoe or rake to break up the fungus and then be sure to let the mulch dry out well.

But if you have a serious infestation of scale insects, that could be harmful to a young tree. Applestar gave you good advice re treating the scale insects with the rubbing alcohol mixture.
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steffenland
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Re: Lemon tree white stuff around the trunk

Ive treated it 3 times during the winter with a similar mixture, 20% Pine Sol 10% methylated spirit and 70% water that I spray on, rub the tree and leave for 40minutes before I shower it off, it always seems to take all of them but every time it comes back within a week. I got a 200liter container, what if I showered off the soil and submerged the whole tree with the roots in it for 12hours and then replanted it? there is some people on the internet that swear by that method, but they submerge it in the container and im worried that my method would be too much for my tree.

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applestar
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Re: Lemon tree white stuff around the trunk

You need to break their lifecycle -- I would try dabbing and treating with the mixture twice a week if they come back faster. In particular, look for the "motherships" big ones that are pumping out the babies as well as treat all leaf nodes. The babies are very hard to see.

Also if you have ants climbing up and down the tree and around the base of the tree/rim of the pot, then it's those pesky ants that are BRINGING the scale insects to pasture on your tree. I use a bit of borax in sweet liquid as bait/poison for the worker ants to take back to the colony and feed to the queen and larvae.

I generally prefer not to use stressful treatments directly on already stressed plants.
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applestar
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Re: Lemon tree white stuff around the trunk

Subject: Taking photos can help you be a better gardener
applestar wrote:As many of you may have noticed, I like taking pictures of my garden and plants.

I suppose some of you can't "picture it" being any other way, but with the advent of affordable decent digital camera to present day, decent cell phone cameras with plenty of data storage, it's almost crazy not to take progress photos of your garden if you want to be a better gardener and improve your gardening techniques and your garden's performances from year to year.

You can take snap-shots of the garden design and progress through the seasons. You can keep visual records of plants you grew and crops harvested.

It's also useful to take close up photos of the garden so you can identify individual plants, and taking macro/zoomed in magnified photos of individual plants can be an eye-opener.

I don't know about you, but I can't always get down that close to a plant to look at them in detail. And sometimes, being able to see up close makes all the difference. Sometimes, when trouble shooting, you might even have to go further and take microscope images like 60X - 300X.

You can have the photos date and/or time stamped, and even if not marked on the photos, the digital photos have those information embedded in the files. You can choose to also save location data, if you like, and there are apps that will also attach weather info based on the location data. And if you prefer, there are apps that will not save these data when used to save a copy of the photo.

None of these photos have to be professional looking. Mine certainly aren't. They can all be for your own private use, or if you are a reckless exhibitionist like me, you can post and share them on the forum. :> ...and of course, when you are asking questions about a problem, etc. A couple of photos really makes a difference. Image

---

Here's what led me to start this thread --

I was taking pictures of the buds of the seed-grown lemon with our new clip on macro lens on the iPad. I've been getting a fair amount of practice from taking photos of the avocado blossoms, but it still takes several tries to get good, focused pictures, but with digital photo files and plenty of storage, that's not a problem at all.

For this, I'm not going to make a collage like I usually do, so you can really zoom in and see what I saw (click or tap on the photos to focus and zoom-in)

This is what the lemon tree branches look like to my unaided eyes:
Image

Then, when I was looking at these macro photos, I noticed the ants... Then the scale insects :x
Image

More tiny and well camouflaged scale insects :evil:
Image

...I've been busy treating the lemon and eradicating the pests all afternoon. :twisted:
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steffenland
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Re: Lemon tree white stuff around the trunk

I removed all the soil from the tree and submerged everything, 8 more hours (total 12) and ill take it back up, spray on the alcohol mix, shower it and replant it with new soil and isolate it away from the other trees. Fingers crossed:)
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steffenland
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Re: Lemon tree white stuff around the trunk

And then clean my garage floor...:D

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applestar
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Re: Lemon tree white stuff around the trunk

Wow.... I wasn't going to say anything -- you said this treatment method was advised to you from legitimate source who presumably have done it before... and I've never tried anything like that, so I don't know how effective it is. But maybe I will say this -- if I watered a potted citrus and next day, discovered I had overwatered and there is water in the drip tray, I would be worried that it might have suffered root damage and would keep it on the dry side for the next week or so. That would be about 12 hours max, and only the roots.

If you submerge the entire plant, won't it suffocate? And this is a solution right? Not just plain water.... I normally don't leave my mixture on the plants for longer than 10 to 20 minutes -- the solution is intended to smother or dry up the pests. I usually rinse the solution off the plant with water, along with dead bug bodies.

...and maybe it's just because its underwater, but that's your lemon tree? It looks pale and the branches look almost too spindly. Is it getting enough sun? Maybe I'm just used to seeing my citruses which are in their winter indoor mode and dark green from lower light inside... and with last year's semi-hard and hardwood branches....
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steffenland
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Re: Lemon tree white stuff around the trunk

I find a couple of different sources that use this method, only water.
My three have been fighting the scale insects for a year now and its taken its toll on the tree, i keep my trees in the same conditions but this one had massive leaf drop. I get that its an extreme method, but as my last effort it either works or ill buy a new tree.

steffenland
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Re: Lemon tree white stuff around the trunk

The submerged method worked, its been over a year and no sign of any scale insects! Getting the soild packed around the roots was a bit of a challenge and the tree looked a bit droopy for a couple of days but it recovered:)

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applestar
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Re: Lemon tree white stuff around the trunk

Thanks for coming back and letting us know. That was really extreme to my mind so it’s fantastic that it worked for your tree and I’m really happy for you. :clap:
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imafan26
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Re: Lemon tree white stuff around the trunk

The submersion method is a procedure for getting rid of bugs at the soil level like soil mealy bugs, scales, and it can be used hard to treat canopy insects like mites and thrips.

It involves submerging the entire plant, pot and all in very warm water until the root ball temperature reaches 115 degrees. It is hot enough to kill the bugs but not the plant.

https://www.extento.hawaii.edu/kbase/rep ... mealyb.htm
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