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Something's eating my citrus

I live in Golden Bay near the coast. However, the garden is sheltered from the sea breeze and during the winter there is no wind at all. I have a problem with something eating the new growth on the citrus trees and I had noticed it before when I lived in Richmond. There is nothing to see, so it is not aphids, but the new branches become green bare sticks. I like to be organic so have sprayed with rhubarb spray and sometimes that seems to work. However, the trees are new last season, and after nursing them through the drought and then severe frosts, they are going to need all the help they can get to come away this spring. Can you suggest what might be eating new leaves? There are none forming yet, but I want to be ready for them when they do.


I do not know of an insect that will completely strip branches without leaving some evidence. Are there leaves lying on the ground or are they being eaten? I suspect possums are the culprit. You could try spraying your citrus with liquid sheep manure as a foliar feed or smearing raw lanolin (available from a pharmacy) over plants. Possums are deterred by the smell. Fish based liquid fertilisers may also be effective.

UnitecAdvice by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor of Resource Management.

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