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Citrus Tree Diseases: 4 Common Ailments and How to Treat Them

Citrus Tree Diseases

Think something is wrong with your citrus tree? Read on to find out the most common citrus tree diseases and how to effectively treat them.

Many types of citrus trees can provide delicious fruit over their lifespans. However, like all plants, they are not immune to diseases and pest damage. Knowing the warning signs of common citrus tree diseases and pest problems can help you treat them before they harm or kill your trees. 

Citrus Tree Diseases: Citrus Canker

Citrus canker is a disease that, as its name suggests, can affect your citrus trees. The name comes from the yellow scabs that grow on the affected branches. Transmission can happen through the air, through animals, or through insects, and can spread rapidly.

If you see a single scab on your tree, you may be able to save it by pruning or removing the branch. If there are several scabs, and if the health of your tree is declining, you should destroy the tree. This prevents the canker from spreading to other citrus trees you may have.

Some sprays and fungicides exist which you can apply to your trees to prevent canker infections. 

Citrus Tree Diseases:  Greasy Spot

Another common disease that can affect your citrus trees is greasy spot. While citrus canker will affect your branches, greasy spot will grow on your fruit and leaves. It takes on the form of black speckling or spots and will produce a greasy oil over the blackened areas. 

Greasy spot is not fatal or as destructive as citrus canker is. You can treat greasy spot by trimming and removing affected leaves and fruit, especially those that have fallen on the ground. You will also want to spray your affected trees with a fungicide that will kill remaining spores. 

Citrus Tree Pests: Aphids

Aphids are a small and relatively harmless pest so long as their population stays at low numbers. However, in large groups, they can eat their way through a large amount of plant matter in a short period. 

Aphids can be hard to spot because of their small size. They gather on the underside of your citrus leaves and will drip an oily substance onto the ground below. 

You can treat an aphid infestation with several types of commercial cleansers, or a mixture of dish soap and water sprayed onto the leaves. You can also introduce natural predators into your garden to cut down their population. Ladybugs are one of the most common predators, and you can buy them in bulk. 

Citrus Tree Pests: Snails

Snails are another common garden pest that can ravage your citrus tree. They will gather all over your tree, from the trunk and branches to the leaves themselves. 

You can remove snails by picking them up by hand and physically placing them elsewhere in your garden. You can also apply physical barriers around the base of your tree to prevent them from getting at your tree, and chemicals like iron phosphate on the soil to do the same.

Learn More About Caring for Citrus Trees

For more information about fighting citrus diseases, or other citrus tree topics, please check out our blog about all things citrus. We have a ton of useful content on all types of citrus trees and plants, including everything that has to do with their care. 

Can Dogs Eat Citrus? A Complete Guide on Citrus Poisoning

Dogs and Citrus Poisoning

If you're growing citrus plants or trees, you may find yourself wondering, "can dogs eat citrus?" We have the answer you need to know if you're a pet owner.

There’s a laundry list of “people foods” that dogs should never eat. This list includes everything from chocolate and coconut to nuts and onion.

A food that many people don’t realize dogs can’t have is citrus. If you have been wondering, can dogs eat citrus, you can find the answer here. It’s important to understand, as citrus can cause serious and dangerous effects.

Learn more about the danger of citrus fruits for your dog below.

The Dangers of Lemons and Limes

Not all citrus fruits are toxic, but two that can cause serious issues for pups are lemons and limes. While there are some limes with amazing healing powers for people, this isn’t the case for dogs.

Lemons and limes contain several essential oils, including linalool and limonene. They also contain a phototoxic compound that’s called psoralens.

While small amounts of this may not pose a serious threat, it may result in gastrointestinal upset. If a dog happens to ingest a larger quantity of these fruits or the trees they grow on, it can cause even more issues.

Both lime and lemon trees produce the phototoxic compounds mentioned above, and dogs should avoid ingesting them to prevent health problems.

Symptoms of Citrus Poisoning in Dogs

The symptoms of poisoning from lemon and limes, along with other citrus foods are caused by the combination of the compounds they include. Some of the symptoms of citrus poisoning in dogs include:

  • Weakness
  • Cold limbs
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Collapse
  • Tremors
  • Depression
  • Sudden death
  • Skin irritation and rash
  • Excessive drooling
  • Photosensitivity
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of coordination
  • Low blood pressure
  • Liver failure

If you notice any of these symptoms, or your dog is diagnosed by a vet with them, it is essential to think about future prevention and get care right away.

Contributing Compounds to Citrus Poisoning in Dogs

The toxicity of citrus plants is found in the essential oils’ linalool and limonene, along with psoralen. Learn more about these here:

Limonene

This is a terpene produced in every citrus fruit, which is the primary component in the aroma of various citrus fruits. It’s often used in cleaning products, flavoring compounds, and cosmetic products. The d-limonene substance is commonly found in shampoos and fragrances for dogs.

It’s important to note that while the high amount of this substance in shampoos is typically safe for the majority of dogs, it may be lethal to cats.

Linalool

Another terpene found in citrus fruits that contributes to the floral scent in citrus fruit, linalool, is typically used as an insecticide in lotions and soaps.

Psoralen

This is a compound that’s found in many plants, which include citrus plants, such as lemons and limes. While it’s effective as a treatment for skin disorders, it may also induce phototoxicity in dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Citrus: Now You Know

If you are wondering, “can dogs eat citrus,” the safest answer is no. It’s best to avoid these foods for your canine companions.

While this is true, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this tasty treat. Check out our blog to learn about all the citrus trees you can grow indoors or in your backyard!

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Pruning Citrus Trees

Pruning Citrus Trees

There is a right and a wrong way when it comes to pruning citrus trees. Read on to get all the tips you need to know before pruning your citrus plant.

Like all fruit-bearing trees, citrus trees require regular pruning. Removing branches and growth improves the health of your tree, and ensures that they continue to grow fruit. Understanding the benefits and basics of pruning citrus trees can help you maintain your crop. 

Benefits of Pruning Citrus Trees

Keeping your citrus trees pruned can help their overall health. By maintaining a smaller size, you can keep rows of trees from interfering with each other. 

Additionally, removing branches and leaves improves air circulation and sunlight penetration, which encourages growth and fruit production. Getting rid of plant matter also means that the buds and branches that remain will receive more nutrients, growing larger fruits. 

By preventing branches from rubbing against one another, you also prevent fruit from being damaged or falling off the tree. 

How Much Should I Prune?

The exact amount you should remove when pruning a citrus tree will depend on the tree itself. You should consider removing specific parts depending on the age of the tree.

For example, older trees should have their new shoots removed, allowing more nutrients to flow to existing branches. You can remove these by hand, or with hand pruners, depending on their size.

Newer trees should have thinner branches removed so that the stronger and thicker ones can continue to grow. Hand pruners are the best and quickest way to make a clean cut, but you may need larger trimmers for thicker branches. 

You should also pay attention to where the fruit is growing on your citrus tree. If fruit only appears around the edges of your tree, you need to thin the interior branches to allow more air and sunlight in. 

If part of your citrus tree is no longer shaded, you may want to consider covering it with tree paint, available at most hardware stores. This will prevent burning and sun damage until the tree can adjust. 

Removing Diseased Branches

Another common reason to consider pruning your citrus tree is if you have spotted signs of disease. Black spots on your leaves or fruit, yellow scabs on the branches, and peeling bark can be symptoms of health issues.

Have a tree professional diagnose the disease before taking drastic measures. Sometimes, discoloration is nothing more than an aesthetic change. 

However, if your citrus tree has become diseased, you will have to remove the affected branches and leaves. Trim entire branches off of the tree to prevent the disease from spreading. For mature branches, you'll need to make three separate cuts - twice on the branch to remove it and leave a stub, and on the stub itself - to prevent the bark from peeling. 

You'll also need to dispose of any and all diseased plant matter. Leaving it in your yard can allow the disease to spread to other trees.

Learn More About Citrus Tree Care

Check out our citrus blog for more information about pruning citrus trees, citrus disease, citrus tree care, and more! We provide all sorts of insightful guides and articles about citrus trees, fruit, and related topics.

Everything You Need to Know About Caring for an Indoor Orange Tree

Caring for an Indoor Orange Tree

Searching for tips on how to care for your indoor orange tree? Continue reading below to get all of the facts you need to help your orange tree thrive!

Fun fact: Oranges don't grow in the wild. They've been around for literal ages. But they're a domesticated hybrid between the pomelo and mandarin.

So when you think about it, growing an indoor orange tree is your duty to humanity. 

Of course, now you're probably asking yourself, "But how on earth do I even grow an orange tree indoors? There's not enough light for a citrus tree indoors! Isn't that why they're grown in Florida and South Texas?"

We hear you. But not only is growing oranges indoors possible, but your tree can also thrive — you just need to know a few tips about how to grow an orange tree indoors.

Keep the Temperature in Check

As a rule of thumb, your indoor citrus tree will die if the temperature gets below 10 degrees F for 10 hours or 20 degrees F for 20 hours. It's OK to place your tree outside for some light, but when the winter weather starts getting rough, it's time to pull it in. 

Just note the exact temperature citrus houseplants thrive in might vary from variety to variety. So check with your citrus seller. 

Let There Be Light

The light for a citrus tree is very important. Your indoor orange tree needs at least five or six hours of direct sunlight a day. A south-facing window is a sweet spot when growing citrus indoors. 

But note that your window has to be physically hot to the touch to provide enough light. For times when it's not, you can buy a special grow light for citrus trees. 

It's Not a Dry Heat

Orange trees also like humidity. It keeps them cool and encourages orange blossom growth.

Naturally humid rooms like the kitchen or bathroom are great places if you can swing it. If not, put your indoor orange tree on a pebble tray and mist the leaves with cool water to raise the humidity. 

Speaking of Water

Believe it or not, indoor orange trees' water needs aren't too different from another more boring houseplant. 

In the summer, they'll need regular watering. Once or twice a week should do. During the winter, however, do make sure you let the soil dry out between waterings.

Overwatering is no better than under-watering

Pro tip: Put a bucket outside to catch rainwater. That's their favorite treat. 

Feed Me, Seymour

Citrus trees are hungry little buggers. Feed them regularly — every second watering should do — with a high-potassium feed during spring and summer. If you take care of them, they'll return the favor with better fruit.

We recommend Nelson Plant Food

Don't Forget to Prune

Indoor orange trees do need a lot of pruning. You don't want the branches to get overcrowded. If they do, make sure you get them pruned by February. And it may seem counterintuitive, but cutting back the tallest branches actually encourages better growth. 

Buying an Indoor Orange Tree

From Valencia to blood orange, mandarin and more, there is a wide variety of indoor orange trees to choose from. They all have different uses. So think of how you'll likely eat them when making your decision.

Or get more than one! It's OK to be greedy. Now, let's go pick out your indoor orange tree!

Citrus Tree Lifespan: What's the Average Life Expectancy of a Citrus Tree

Citrus Tree

How long will your citrus tree live for? Check out this guide to learn about the average life expectancy of a citrus tree and related tree care advice.

Are you thinking about growing your own personal lemon tree? Have you wondered what kind of care a citrus tree may need to grow strong and produce delicious oranges in the future? How long do most citrus trees live for anyway?

These are all really important questions to consider before going out and purchasing a citrus tree. There are a lot of different factors that go into maintaining healthy trees. 

Read on to find out more and to find out which tree might be the right fit for you.

Lifespan vs. Productivity Lifespan

For most citrus trees, the average lifespan of a growing tree is 50 years. This applies to lemon, orange, and even dwarf citrus trees. Fruit production generally begins between ages 2 and 5

Most trees will produce throughout their entire life once they reach maturity. If your tree has healthy foliage, this is the biggest indicator of its health. 

Can Citrus Trees Thrive in Cooler Climates?

There are many different types of citrus. The ones that thrive the best in North America are lemon, orange, and dwarf citrus trees. These trees can be put in planters or planted in the ground. 

For those in cooler climes throughout the country, it's important to keep an eye on the weather and your tree. Just because you live in Michigan doesn't mean you can't have fresh orange juice all year around! 

Taking care of your tree and keeping it in warm, sunfilled rooms during the winter will ensure its production and health.

How to Keep Them Healthy 

When you plant a citrus tree, especially in a place it may not naturally grow, it's very important to make sure you're keeping it healthy. 

Using citrus fertilizers will ensure the soil is kept nutrient rich for your plant. It's also important to prune it regularly. But only prune it during off seasons. Usually when the tree loses its leaves. 

Do not over water any of your citrus trees. This can lead to detrimental rot. Rot will eventually kill your plant. If you plant your tree in the ground, make sure the soil drains well. 

Containers vs. Ground 

Citrus trees do great either in planters or in the ground. For those of us lucky enough to live in warmer states, having a small grove of citrus trees may be the best dream. 

Citrus can do very well in planters. Making sure you keep the soil fertilized and move the trees in when it's getting cooler will help maintain their lives. 

Need More Advice on Citrus Tree Care?

Still thinking about picking up a couple of citrus trees? Great! 

Citrus trees are great investments, and as long as you take care of them, they'll take care of you. Keeping them healthy will one day lead to you having fresh citrus that you can then turn into delicious citrus recipes

Check out the US Citrus tree collection today if you'd like to start growing your own citrus trees!