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Messages - jbclem

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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. 


I've read that you don't need to and shouldn't add any soil amendments when you are planting a citrus tree in the ground.  But my soil doesn't hold moisture that well and I end up watering a lot in the long hot summers.  Soil tests show that I have sandy silt and/or silty sand type soil.  And my own jar soil tests usually don't show any(or very little) organic matter.   So I'm thinking of trying what I've been doing with my vegetable plantings, adding peat moss to the soil.  For the vegetables I've also been adding compost from my compost piles when it's available.

I'd like to hear some opinions about this, especially why it might not be advisable.



Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Re: Red rover passionfruit plant
« on: July 12, 2019, 05:28:55 AM »
Hi Brad,  I'd like to get 4 Red Rover cuttings from you.  Also, do you have Avocado scionwood, or by any chance Loquat? 

How much do you need for shipping?

Topanga, Ca 90290

Tropical Fruit Buy, Sell & Trade / Re: Where to buy shade cloth?
« on: July 12, 2019, 04:54:32 AM »
I don't know how easy it will be to find 30% shade cloth, most that I've seen at stores and nurseries is between 50% and 70%, with 60% being the most common.

If you have a Harbor Freight nearby, go check out what they call Mesh Weave Tarp.  I've been using it for a couple of years, and buy more every time they have a 25%off sale.  I think it's 65% shade cloth, very good quality, comes in four or 5 sizes, has a reinforced hem with grommets.  I'm using the 8' x 16' size and it's $30 regular price so I've been paying $23-24 for it.  Harbor Freight has more sales than a dog has fleas.  Get on their mailing list and wait for the 20-25% off coupons.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Current UCR budwood prices ?
« on: May 19, 2019, 05:56:32 AM »
That's what I was thinking of doing.  I wonder if I can take a bud directly off a branch without cutting the branch off.  Would this harm the branch or will it eventually callous over and heal. 

Citrus General Discussion / Current UCR budwood prices ?
« on: May 18, 2019, 08:47:52 PM »
When I've ordered previously, the UCR (CCPP) budwood prices were $0.75 per bud.  And although it is still listed as this on one website, when I try to place an order, on their revamped order form site, the price is $1.50 per bud.  Which makes it too high for me given my low percentage of takes when bud grafting.
Could someone confirm this new price level?  I've tried emailing them twice but no one is answering.


If I can get some budwood, looks iike I'll be the first to try it here in S. Calif.

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Grafting Question: Advice Needed
« on: April 16, 2019, 07:19:59 AM »
Aren't you talking about buds in forks?  What I've read here is that the first 2-4 nodes on the branch (that is cut off to become scionwood) are the blind ones.  You count from the attachment point of this branch/cutting.  So if the CCPP is giving you cuttings that include the end that was attached to the trunk, or to a branch, then you are getting 2-4 blind buds.  If they are deliberately counting 4 buds away from the trunk or branch and then making the cut, they are giving you a cutting without blind buds.  That's how I'm understanding it.

I've been exchanging emails with Rock Christiano at the CCPP.  I'll ask him about this.


Citrus General Discussion / Re: Grafting Question: Advice Needed
« on: April 16, 2019, 04:46:52 AM »
Kelley, how can you tell that the buds aren't blind.  Do they look different from blind buds?

MrTexas said this: "You can usually tell if the lowest buds are blind or not by inspecting to make sure there is a bud there."  But this statement didn't make sense to me.  Unless "blind bud" literally means a junction (leaf junction?)  on a piece of wood without a bud in the junction. 

Citrus General Discussion / Re: Grafting Question: Advice Needed
« on: April 15, 2019, 08:40:49 PM »
I'm curious to know if the bud sticks that we order from UCR are entire branches, including blind buds, or if they make their cuts to avoid these buds.

Is anyone growing Femminello Siracusano 2KR lemon in the Los Angeles area.  I ask because I've read that it can't tolerate dry weather and wind.  And we are nothing if not dry in these parts, not to mention the yearly bouts of strong SantaAna winds.


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