Here are some frequently asked questions and answers regarding growing and maintaining fruit trees.
What causes the distortion and curled leaf on the new growth of my orange and lemon tree?
This is caused by citrus leaf miner which attacks new growth by creating shallow tunnels and mines on the leaves. The night time tiny moth does not do the damage but its larvae. They curl the leaf over as they pupate for protection. This will not kill the plant but will reduce crop and stunt growth. The most vulnerable time for the plant is in summer, so prune flush new growth then.
Prune affected leaves and spray first thing in the morning with pyrethrum and neem oil which makes conditions unfavorable for the moth to lay her eggs.
To make a homemade solution; Pour 2 cups of vegetable oil and ½ cup of dish washing liquid into a jar, mix it well then add 1 tbsp of concentrate to 1 liter of water. Spray on to the top and bottom of the leaves.
I live in Townsville where there is dense heavy clay soil, how do I grow citrus on this?
Avoid just digging a hole and placing the plant in it with new soil. The larger and deeper the area you can prepare the better it is for the tree- It’s all about preparation! You will need to dig in gypsum and compost into this area. If you are on flat ground there is no harm in planting 1/2 the root ball below the soil level and back fill with some good soil, clay and compost. Always mulch regularly and stake the tree well to allow for the growth of good feeder roots.
I have tried to grow avocado trees but they keep wilting and dying. How can I remedy this?
Avocado trees need well-draining soil. If they become waterlogged anaerobic bacteria will rot the roots. Hass avocados have a deep taproot so prepare the soil as above. Young avocado trees are susceptible to sunburn, wind, and damage from frost so a small shelter while they establish is a very good idea. Mulch well over the surface area. You will need a regular supply to ensure humus is continually building in the soil and make them withstand insect and fungi attack. The feeder roots of Avocado trees will grow just below the leaf litter layer and so a good layer of mulch is the best way of ensuring these roots stay healthy and white. Fertilise with blood and bone, granulated chicken manure, and add potash as a side dressing once a year.