Saving the Lime Tree

This whole summer, our lime tree has looked sad. Its leaves are curled and the few limes that started were shriveled.

I took a closer look at it to see if there was something visibly wrong with it and….

AHHHHHH OH MY GOD ITS COVERED IN GROSS KNOBBY THINGS. I touched it. UGGGGGGGGGGG THEY WERE ALIVE! THEY ARE BUGS!!!!!

After a quick google consultations, my suspicion was right and it is scale, which is related to aphids. They suck the sap out of plants, depriving them of vital nutrients. Seriously, the poor tree was COVERED. It made my skin crawl and made me want to throw up a little. Sick.

Usually when I have a serious bug infestation, such as aphids on the broccoli, I pull up the whole plant and feed to the chickens. Quick annihilation, no major loss. I don’t like using spray in my garden. But this tree was EXPENSIVE!!! I was on a mission to save it. Google, and confirmed by my pest book “Whats Wrong with my Plant?”, gave ideas on how to rid the plant: wipe the infected areas with rubbing alcohol, and then spray with a horticulture oil.

The next morning, I went to Rite Aid and stocked up on the alcohol, and then went to my favorite nursery for the oil. The women there explained that the alcohol will kill the adults, and the oil spray will kill any larva or eggs. She asked if I had ants, as well, which OF COURSE I had, and she also suggested Tanglefoot to prevent the ants from crawling on the tree and spreading the scale. She also recommended to flood the container the tree was in, making it an inhospitable environment for the ants.

So this was my process of saving my tree:

gather up the alcohol & rags
wipe down every branch, leaf and stem with a rag drenched in the alcohol
remember that citrus have thorns. good times when you are working with burning alcohol.
gather up your horticulture oil (aka, anti-bug spray) and tanglefoot (aka, super sticky goo)
Spray down the tree and smear a wide swatch of tanglefoot around the trunk. Use a stick. Don’t use your finger. It won’t come off.
thoroughly water the tree

It takes about two weeks for eggs to hatch and go back to sucking the tree dry, so its recommended to repeat again in a few weeks.

Hopefully this works!

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7 thoughts on “Saving the Lime Tree

  1. Next time try a batch of lady bugs. They’d take care of your problem in no time. Voracious little sap-sucker eaters, they are – them and their offspring. They’ve not failed me yet.

    1. I did work! But sadly when we went to move the tree with us, the half wine barrel it was in fell apart, so we had to leave it at the apartment. 😦

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