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Messages - jbclem

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Citrus General Discussion / Re: How to control a thrips infestation
« on: October 12, 2022, 07:51:20 AM »
I have what I think are thrip nymphs/larvae, visible with a handheld 10-15x LED microscope.  They are torpedo shaped, translucent enough so that you can watch their excrement go from inside to outside, dropping as lines of small dark green blobs.  They are on my seedling vegetable plants in an indoor growing area and are hard to find because there aren't that many of them compared to the number of lesions (and blobs) they create.  I'll occasionally  spot one or two in an area where there are lots of the dark green excrement blobs.  They are in the same size range as spider mites, but move around a lot more than the spider mites and are no where near as numerous.  I've never seen their eggs or an adult thrip.  Does it sound like these are thrip larvae?  I've looked them up and some photos seem to confirm this.

I've been spraying them with Safer's Soap and that seems to work...but they keep coming back. Would Safer's Soap act as a safe surfactant if I mixed it with fertilizer to use in the soil as mentioned? 

Pagnr, could you tell me which spray nozzle you've found most useful for reaching the underside of leaves?

Citrus General Discussion / Re: T-Bud grafting of citrus
« on: September 22, 2022, 09:49:52 AM »
Kumin, a very useful tutorial. And the photos really enhanced the description which I didn't quite get until I scrolled down and saw the photos.  I have a few questions:  first, what's the size (diameter) of the looks like about 1/8" or less.  Second,  from the photo it looks like you've lined up the scion with the left side of the cut so the cambiums match up, but to also match the outer side of the scion are you tilting it a bit?  And third, since you've made the downward cut on the rootstock with a knife, why do you say the bark needs to be slipping?

For my situation, with only small/thin scionwood and buds available, it's definitely worth trying.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: T-Bud grafting of citrus
« on: September 21, 2022, 06:24:37 AM »
kumin, thanks for the descriptions.  Since I haven't achieved much success with citrus grafting, they are very useful.  When I used to buy budwood from the UCR(UC Riverside) collection (before they doubled their already high price), much of it came as very angular wood and I always wondered if that was contributing to my lack of success.

Not having access to budwood, but having a number of young citrus in containers (and a few older in ground), I've been cutting buds from the middle of live branches where the small branch is at least round.  No success yet and I don't know if this is because my designated trees don't seem to have slipping bark, or the buds are small, or because it's a bad way to collect buds.  Do you have any thoughts about this?

Citrus General Discussion / TDS levels and gray water watering
« on: September 21, 2022, 05:59:26 AM »
With the drought restrictions here in S.Calif, I've been watering my citrus with gray water.  I've also started checking the TDS (total dissolved solids/salts) levels to make sure the gray water isn't harming the trees.  But I don't have any reference levels as to what levels are too high.  I have some old citrus trees in the ground and also some young ones.  The soil at my house is silty sand/sandy silt and drains well.

My tap water is showing about 310 on the TDS meter.  Since I've started using soap nuts instead of laundry detergent,  the laundry gray water levels have been 300-350.  With regular detergent I get 400-500, and the highest I've measured so far was 650 from a 5 gal bucket of Oxiclean and water.

I'm also watering a loquat and a pear tree with the gray water.

I've read that citrus is sensitive to salt but haven't found any TDS reference levels.  Does anyone know what I should be watching out  for?


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Help me understand plant feeding
« on: July 13, 2022, 04:41:45 AM »
"Were they selling fertilizer?"

That was the first thing that popped into my mind.  Wouldn't they love having customers coming in and ordering 5 different brands of fertilizers each time.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Help with ID'ing Passiflora
« on: July 13, 2022, 04:30:19 AM »
My suggestion is to call the nursery and speak with their buyer.  He/she'll know which supplier it came from, and either the buyer or the supplier should be able to tell you the variety.  Also, the label might have the name of the supplier. 

I have a Frederick passiflora, which is very common here in S. Calif.  I don't have any flowers right now to compare, but your photos don't quite ring a bell.  When you get some fruit, if they are purple that could be a passiflora edulis variety (Frederick, Purple Possum).

Go to and search for passiflora, you'll find many photos of passiflora flowers.  I see one named passiflora belotti that looks like your flower photos.

What's the shipping cost for 10 seeds to 90290?


Citrus General Discussion / Re: What is this bug on my blood orange tree?
« on: September 04, 2021, 03:14:13 AM »
Thanks for the id guys...a pretty bug that doesn't seem to do much that's eats tropical milkweed seeds.  And I have some tropical milkweed that's been producing seeds lately, so they must have come for that.  Interestingly, the same tropical milkweed attracts orange aphids which are the prettiest looking aphids I've ever seen...although they are a pest and multiply too quickly on the milkweed stems.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Yellow splotches on citrus leaves
« on: September 03, 2021, 07:27:59 AM »
Have you tried to contact Four Winds, they should be interested since it's one of their trees.

Citrus General Discussion / What is this bug on my blood orange tree?
« on: September 03, 2021, 04:11:34 AM »
Can anyone identify this bug, I just saw four of them on one leaf on a blood orange tree I have in a 15 gal container.  When I touched the leaf, they all ran to the underside of the leaf.  And when I wisked one of them into a plastic bag, the others seem to have dropped off the leaf and I couldn't find them they have a strong protective instinct.  I'm hoping they aren't a citrus specific pest.

As the photo shows, they are about 1/2" long, six legs, 2 feelers/antenna, and orange with black markings.  No obvious wings.

To check for spider mites, handheld pocket microscopes are invaluable.  Here are two that I use, they are about 10-16x magnification (ignore the 60x claims), which is just can see the spider mites waving their arms about, you can see the nymphs, the eggs, even the occasional thrip.  You can also put a sheet of white paper under a leaf (spider mites are mostly on the underside), tap on the top of the leaves and look to see if you get a bunch of black specks, some moving.  I run my finger over the specks and if I see a streak of blood I know it wasn't a piece of dust.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Pollination Under Screen Protection
« on: August 16, 2020, 08:27:54 PM »
 Have you measured the screen hole size to see if some insects will get through?  I've seen many ants on my citrus trees, but they are mostly there to tend to the aphids or the scale. I've never seen a photo of an ant covered with pollen.

Thanks for this link.  I found the original paper and it shows how they made the oak leaf extract and how they applied it.  It's looks pretty easy, although their lab had a machine that shook the mixture vigorously overnight at a certain temperature.  So your oak leaf tea may need a little modification.

Citrus General Discussion / Anyone using mosquito netting for CLM?
« on: August 16, 2020, 01:55:55 AM »
I'm trying to figure out the correct hole size in mosquito netting (or noseeum netting) used to keep citrus leaf miner off my flushing citrus.  I bought one type designed to hang over a bed, and it works great but I'm worried that the holes aren't small enough.

The CLM moth is said to have a 4-5 mm wingspan, and using that as a reference the body looks about 4mm long and 2mm wide.  So what size hole could this moth squeeze it's way through?  Taking a deep breath and holding it's wings tight, maybe it could get through a 2mm hole.  The netting I bought has 169 holes per square inch, and I tried to measure the holes with a caliper...they look like 1.5-2mm wide.  Other mosquito nettings are about 250 holes per sq inch.  Some noseeum nettings advertise 600 holes per square inch and I've seen claims up to 1800 holes per sq inch...but it's hard to know who to believe on that score.

I'd like to buy some more of the same netting I bought, and it's cheaper than the noseeum nettings and I have a bunch of container and small citrus that I need to cover...but I'm just speculating about the size of the CLM moth and it's ability(and desire) to squeeze through holes.  Does anyone have better information or experience using mosquito netting?

This is the one I bought:


Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Re: Avocado fruit
« on: January 25, 2020, 10:36:30 PM »
How would you compare the taste of Bacon, and Reed, to that of Fuerte?

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Wood chips for growing media
« on: October 14, 2019, 06:56:23 AM »
If you can find Earthgro Groundcover Bark, that was my favorite.  After Home Depot stoped carrying it, and OSH closed, I tried two types from Lowes.  I didn't like the pine bark mulch, but their Pathway Bark was better and I've been using it for a year now.  It sometimes has more heart wood than you'd like and it's as much shredded as chunks, but the only other solution I've found is to buy the larger Bark Nuggets and run them through an electric shredder.

If you have a pickup truck, landscape supply yards usually sell small bark by the yard or half yard, and it's much cheaper.  They call it Groundcover bark, pathway bark, or just small bark and I think the size is 1/4" to 1/2" though sometimes larger.

I've been using EB Stone pumice and the size varies between 1/8" and 1/2", but a lot of it is 3/8" and 1/2".  Do you think that's too large for soil mixes?


Brad, thanks for the're right, the shipping is the killer.  The Calcined Kaolin clay is cheap, there are online places selling it for 2.50/lb but shipping for a pound is high.  I've been calling around trying to find a crafts store or an art supply store that carries it locally, but haven't found anyone yet.  I've discovered that Glomax (Glo Max) is a brand name for calcined kaolin clay so I'll start looking for that also.

I have about 20 mostly young dwarf citrus in containers, and some of them are heavily infested this year and some not at all.  I go out at night and  find the mines/instars and rub them out, but with small leaves it takes a very light touch to unroll the tiny leaf and rub out the mines.  Most of the small leaves stay soft and flexible, but with some varieties(ie a Moro blood orange)  the leaves get stiff and crumbly and break when I try to unroll them. 

And even if the trees can survive the infestation(s), they can look so ugly and I really like a healthy looking citrus tree. 

I didn't know it took that much (6 cups/gallon) Surround to make a batch.  But since I'm only spraying the new very young leaves, I'm not going to use very much of this clay mix, especially since this is an experiment and I don't know if it will even work.

I'll keep looking for art and scupture supply stores.  Los Angeles is a big city, there has to be a source somewhere.

Citrus General Discussion / Calcined kaolin clay and Citrus Leaf Miner?
« on: September 30, 2019, 07:32:55 AM »
I was reading an article on an Australian fruit site where they were discussing dealing with a citrus gall wasp problem they have over there.  One of the treatments they tried was spraying Surround on some of 10 young trees in an experiment.  And they  noticed that none of the trees sprayed with Surround has any sign of CLM, although other adjacent trees had plenty of it. 

I'm going to try this if I can find a source of Surround in small quantity, a pound or less.  Has anyone tried this, and does anyone know where to buy Surround in small size bags?

Here in S.Calif, Fuerte has always been one of the most popular and best tasting avocados, comparable to Hass.  For some reason, I haven't seen Fuerte fruit in the stores for the last few years.  But the trees are easy to find at nurseries and big box stores.

I have a seedling Fuerte in a container and a store bought Fuerte I planted this past spring.  They can take the occasional 28F that I get, and if they can handle mid 20's F they should survive here.  But I don't think I'd plant a Fuerte if 15F was common every few years.  I'd be looking for some Duke seeds (which I am anyways) since Duke trees grow in a town just  north of Oroville, Calif where it's a lot colder than where I live.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: new growth flushes turning yellow/white
« on: September 24, 2019, 12:36:39 AM »
I've been dealing with spider mites on vegetable plants for years, fortunately not yet on my citrus.  But you guys seem to be guessing about the spider mites and the effect of the various treatments.  By the time you see webbing, you usually have a huge population of spider mites and their eggs.  By the time the leaves are all stippled, you have many many spider mites.

Here's an easy way to know exactly if you have spider mites and how many are left after you've soaked yourself trying to wash them off the trees (where do they go when they are washed off, and are the eggs also washed off?):

Try a hand held microscope, somewhere between 10x and 20x.  Here are links to the two kinds I've been using for about 5 years.  They work really well.  The first one isn't anywhere near the advertised 60x, but it gets you close enough to count the eggs, see the really young spider mites, watch them all wiggling their feelers/whiskers/front legs as they suck the life out of the plant.  The second one is a little less powerful than the first, but has a larger field of view and is better made.

Myself,  I don't use pesticides, so I'm stuck with Safer Soap which kills them dead but you have to be very persistent since the eggs will keep hatching if you don't come back every 3 or 4 days.  I'm also experimenting with a handheld vacuum cleaner, trying to find a way to do it without damaging the leaves. Citrus leaves are much tougher than vegetable leaves, so vacuuming might be easier to use on Citrus.

Ilya, thanks for the photos.  They are very useful.  I made my way through the French and looks like it's not recommended for containers.  I wish they had given the percentage in the mix of each ingredient (bark, vegetable compost, vegetable matter and fiber).  For my potting mix I'm using aprox 1/3rd groundcover bark, 1/3rd peat moss, 1/3rd compost, but I often kick up the percentage of bark.  Since my bark isn't composted, the mix isn't as fine as the one in the photo.

This looks much better than just adding peat moss to the soil.  I think I'll try a variation of my mix with a citrus tree and see how it works.  I wonder how much I should add in a 3'x3' hole, 24" deep.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Leaf miners
« on: September 23, 2019, 11:22:25 PM »
Would horticultural oil work as well as the neem oil?  Or does the neem oil have a repellent component?

I do have some 100% neem oil but it's at least 5 years old, and I don't know if it's still good to use.  And I just bought horticultural oil (Bonide).  I've also read that when you mix a batch of neem oil it's only good for about 6 hours, though I'm not sure why. 

Any opinions on my adding small bark chunks to the soil to help with water retention?


Do you know how that pine bark compost is made...and if it's mixed with anything else.  i make my potting soil mix with what's called Groundcover Bark, which are small pieces of bark usually pine or fir, and compost, and about 1/3rd peat moss.  It provides more air space than peat moss would.  The question is how much it has to be composted.  I've been using it straight out of the bag for my potting soil mix.

If you know the brand name I might be able to look it up, depending on which language the information is in. 


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