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Question: Citrus fruits besieged by cochineal do not bear fruit
Hi, my name is Danilo and I write from Salento.
For about 3-4 years I have been holding a young lemon tree and a red orange tree purchased from a local nursery.
The plants are perpetually sick because of the cochineal and have never produced fruit, not even a flower, in fact, only the lemon tree initially gave me someone but now it is no longer. I would like to point out that for the lemon, most of the branches have thorns, is it normal? Moreover the plants are in a not very sunny position, unfortunately (2-3 hours of sunshine a day), and are watered daily during the summer because of the lawn at their feet. As a neophyte it seems to me that the soil is quite heavy, clayey.
My questions are:
1) Why don't they produce fruit?
2) Are the lemon plugs normal?
3) What are the preventive treatments for cochineal, with what frequency and in what period should they be performed?
3) How to cure it now that they are full (of cochineal), how often and in what period should the treatments be performed?
4) Fertilization? How, when and how often?
I apologize for too many questions but I don't know what to do anymore. I had even considered the idea of cutting everything at 80 cm from the base and trying a new connection starting from scratch, but I turn to you in the hope that your experience can finally solve the problem.
Waiting for your kind reply, Best Regards,
Answer: Citrus fruits besieged by cochineal do not bear fruit
citrus fruits are trees of Asian origin, cultivated for thousands of years in the Mediterranean area; typically an orchard planted with citrus fruit is placed in a very specific place, or where all the plants can enjoy a large amount of sunshine every day; pruning is also carried out so that most of the foliage can receive direct sunlight. This is because, with little sun, citrus fruits tend not to bloom, and therefore not to bear fruit; this in fact does not only happen for citrus fruits, but for most of the flowering plants. These saplings need a fairly humid climate, especially in the warm months of the year, and therefore, although they bear the drought very well, they need regular watering, from April to September, to be provided only when the soil is dry; it is not necessary to drown the plants, it is enough to water them when it is very hot and the rains are scarce or null. Since we are going to water them often (considering that citrus fruits are typically equipped with a drip irrigator in Sicilian citrus groves) the soil in which we lay the roots of our citrus fruits is very important, because it must be decidedly not clayey, very light, porous and draining , otherwise the water supplied regularly stagnates and favors the development of fungal diseases, rottenness and others. The fertilizations are carried out in autumn and late winter, with a complex granular fertilizer, specific for citrus fruits, to be spread around the trunk of small trees, and every 4-5 months shredded lupins are spread on the ground, which in addition to providing mineral salts, they also improve the soil mix; in nurseries you often find bags of shredded lupins, especially for citrus fruits. In the spring vegetative period, foliar fertilizers can also be used, because the citrus foliage rapidly absorbs the mineral salts of these special fertilizers. As far as cochineal is concerned, it is an insect quite difficult to completely eradicate and in particular it tends to develop in areas with dry air and poor ventilation (both characteristics not very suitable for the cultivation of citrus fruits); the treatments are done at the end of winter, possibly when there are no flowers on the plants, and white oil is used, activated with an insecticide based on pyrethrum; in general, a couple of interventions are scheduled, at a distance of about fifteen days, during which the insecticide is vaporized over the entire foliage, and above all on the lower pages of the leaves. Thorns are not such an unusual trait in lemon plants, their presence, and also their size, depends on the variety of lemon you are growing. However, if they are present only in some branches, check that they do not come from below the graft, in which case they are branches of the rootstock, which must be promptly eliminated.