Every time I listen to gardening talkback on the radio (about weekly) someone rings in with a question about looking after citrus. I think this is partially because they do need some maintenance and partially because people really value the plants and don’t want to lose them. Personally I am a huge fan and have quite a number of young citrus plants in the garden. Mostly they are dwarf citrus in pots. These plants are something of a mixed bag at the moment. The Washington Navel is flowering nicely (and the smell is lovely):
The Tahitian Lime has set a good number of fruit:
As has the Kaffir Lime:
On the other hand, the Mandarin set absolutely none, despite having had a heap of flowers in early Spring:
Worse though is the Meyer Lemon which is really struggling with Citrus Gall Wasp. When I lasted posted on Citrus Gall Wasp I described a method I was using that I was hoping would control them. I sliced part of the gall off and when the air contacted the wasp larvae it killed them. Well that was the plan anyway. The trouble is it hasn’t really worked. Many wasp larvae died but some wasps have still emerged through the other side of the gall:
The pinprick holes in the photo above are signs that they have emerged. Also the process of cutting off some of the bark seems to have weakened the Meyer Lemon plant in particular (it had the more galls than the other infected plants) thus making it more susceptible to further attack.
From my understanding I have a couple of options remaining. Leave the new galls and hope the tree continues to grow, or hard prune to remove all galls and hope the tree recovers. The wasps shouldn’t emerge again until the start of Spring (according to any number of Google searches) so I have a fair while to contemplate it. My feeling is that the best way to go is to leave the branches on until late winter and hard prune then, unless growth has been so good that I don’t think pruning is necessary. Perhaps putting some sticky strips in the trees to try and prevent future attack will also help.
Doing much better than the Meyer Lemon though is my Finger Lime. Finger Limes are native to Australia and would, prior to the introduction of other citrus, have been the citrus gall wasp’s normal habitat – naturally it has no galls at all. The finger lime is doing so well that it has set fruit for the first time. About 6 of them so far! I am very excited. I’ve never eaten a finger lime and I am exceptionally keen to try one.
A little more time to wait but they are looking promising so far.