Pest and Disease Guide for your Fruit Salad Tree

You have purchased one of our amazing Fruit Salad Trees, now it is important to protect your precious tree from nasty pests and diseases. Correct care and maintenance of your Fruit Salad Tree will ensure your tree stays healthy and balanced, and will give you years of delicious fruit from your special tree! 

Choose your tree type below to view our pest and disease guide specific to your tree.

Green and Black Peach Aphids

APHIDS (a common backyard species is the Black Peach Aphid - don’t be fooled by the name they will attack ALL stone fruits).

Plant Part:  Whole tree

Season: Spring - Summer

Symptoms: Aphids are sap-sucking insects that are found mostly on the underside of leaves. Aphid-infested leaves can turn yellow and eventually fall. Aphids excrete honeydew which can cause sooty mould  on the fruit and on the tree.They are will also attract ants to protect them against natural predators.

Control: If caught early, aphids can be just hosed off the plant or you can apply an organic spray made from chilli or garlic or a horticultural oil (remember not to apply sprays in temps over 32’); control any ant infestations to allow natural predators of the aphids access to these little pests. 

Prevention: Remove weeds from underneath the fruit tree. Promote beneficial insects like ladybirds to your garden. If you do notice aphids on the new growth of your fruit tree - if your fruit salad tree is young, act fast to prevent long term damage.

References: NSW Department of Primary IndustriesDepartment of Agriculture & Food, Western Australia, and of course our FST team

Bacterial Canker

Bacterial Canker (also known as Bacterial Gumosis) is a disease that loves wet and windy weather.

Plant Part: Whole tree

Season: Spring (Budswell) - Summer (after harvest)

Symptoms:  Keep an eye on any open wounds on your fruit tree as the bacteria will enter via any wounds or weather damage around budswell and Autumn. Leaf symptoms first appear as brown irregular spots and gummy resin may weep from the trunk.

Control: Prune and dispose of infected clipping in summer.

Prevention: Good balancing/pruning methods. Avoid winter pruning when possible and practice good garden hygiene, always using sharp clean secateurs and keep weeds, cuttings and plant debris cleaned up and dispose of this material away from your fruit tree. Check out the Care instructions in the annual winter pruning section. Applying a copper spray at leaf fall and repeating if necessary is a great preventative.

References: NSW Department of Primary Industries,  Sustainable Gardening Australia and of course or FST team.

Bacterial Spot

This disease grows in warm, humid weather.

Plant Part: Whole tree

Season: Spring - Summer

Symptoms: Leaf symptoms first appear as small greenish yellow angular (V-shaped) spots and when the spots dry out the center will drop out. You will notice an oily sheen on the spots.

Control: Prune out and dispose of infected clippings, keeping a close eye on new growth.

Prevention: Good balancing/pruning methods. Avoid overhead watering. Practice good garden hygiene, always using sharp clean secateurs and keep weeds, cuttings and plant debris cleaned up and dispose of this material away from your fruit tree. Check out the Care instructions in the annual winter pruning section. Applying a copper spray at bud swell and repeating if necessary is a great preventative.

References: QLD Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry, NSW Department of Primary Industries and of course our FST team

Freckle

Freckle is a fungal disease that likes warm wet weather.

Plant Part: Fruit.

Season: Fruiting cycle

Symptoms: Fruit symptoms appear as greyish spots on the fruit, generally near the stem.

Control: Removal of infected twigs that have raised lesions on current years growth will help in controlling the fungus. A preventative fungal regime is recommended - A spray of copper oxychloride at bud swell will help.

Prevention: Good balancing/pruning practices allowing good air circulation will help discourage this fungus. Don’t over water your stonefruit tree over winter. Keep weeds, cuttings and plant debris cleaned up and dispose of this material away from the tree to keep from spreading spores accidentally. Check out the Care instructions in the annual winter pruning section. Applying a copper spray at bud swell and repeating if necessary is a great preventative. 

References: Agriculture Victoria, Sustainable Gardening Australia and of course the FST team.

Fruit Fly

Exotic fruit flies like then Queensland and Mediterranean fruit fly are among the most serious pests of fruit tree gardeners in warmer regions everywhere.

Plant Part: Fruit

Season: End of Spring - Summer

Symptoms: These pests burrow into the soil. The brown pupal cases are about 5 mm long and look like somewhat elongated hens’ eggs. They become active around the end of winter, when the weather begins to warm. The flies lay their eggs in small groups just beneath the skin of the fruit. When the larvae hatch, they generally make their way to the centre of the fruit.

Control: Infested fruit must be removed from the ground or from the tree and destroyed by burning or boiling. Maggots will also be killed if the fruit is sealed in a plastic bag and left in the sun for several days. It must NOT be buried as this simply continues the normal life cycle of the insect. Traps will only kill the adult fly but used in conjunction with sprays is generally effective – you need to remove all infected fruit straight away. If the infestation is extreme, then consider using a mixture of systems to control the fruit flies; fruit fly traps set up with Lures and MAT cups work in conjunction to kill the flies.

Spraying can kill eggs and larvae in the fruit. If choosing to use a chemical spray avoid sprays with Fenthion (particularly toxic to birds). Previously, suitable fruit fly baits were a mixture of Maldison and protein (lure) but you need to be careful using Maldison as it is harmful to bees. Naturalure™ fruit fly Bait concentrate is a good all in one product to try. Apply per the manufacturer instructions.

Prevention: Good garden hygiene is critical to controlling these pests. The most effective way to prevent fruit flies damaging your produce is to use fruit fly or insect proof netting. Such netting can be bought from some specialist garden centres and online retailers. Insect proof netting can be draped over trees and other crops or supported by a frame. Netting needs to be put up after pollination has occurred.

Bugs for Bugs have some great fruit fly traps and sprays that might help.

Reference: QLD Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, WA Department of Agriculture & Food,  Bugs for Bugs Sustainable Gardening Australia and of course our FST team.

Grasshoppers and Locusts

Grasshoppers or Locusts – are transient pests that can attack all fruit trees; they are prominent from Summer to Autumn.

Symptoms: You will notice that you Fruit Salad Tree has bite marks in the leaves or has skeletonised foliage.

Control: A great solution is Dypel (An organic powder). Check with your local nursery for other regional treatments.

Prevention: Grasshoppers hate Cilantro & marigolds so maybe try planting some in your garden.

Leaf Curl Peach

This is a fungal disease that infects peaches, nectarines and apricots

Plant Parts: Leaves

Season: Spring and early Summer.

Symptoms: Leaves become lumpy, curled and deformed, becoming redish/purplish in colour. The leaves are infected when they are bursting from the new buds.

Control: If left untreated, the problem will get worse year after year, seriously weakening your tree. Once this fungal disease has appeared on your tree, you need to take action immediately – Remove all infected leaves and place them in a bag to be placed in your Red Bin for disposal. You will need to wait until next May to apply a Winter spray application. Keep up a good water and fertilising regime.

Prevention: Keep the area around your Fruit Salad Tree clean; Spores of this fungal disease are formed over winter. As recommended in the ‘Care Instructions’ apply a Lime Sulphur spray to your multi-grafted Fruit Salad Tree; this needs to be completed around early May at “Leaf Fall”, paying close attention to any cracks in the bark and buds. If your stone fruit tree has been attacked by this nasty fungal disease in previous years, it is beneficial to also apply a Copper Oxychloride Spray at bud swell (when the buds are beginning to get plumper – before bud burst). Warning: do not apply any sprays after the buds have burst on your tree; it will just burn the new leaves. 

Rust

Plant Part: Leaves

Season:Spring - Summer 

Symptoms: Leaf symptoms are commonly seen late summer and Autumn but the fungus disease does affect the branches and fruit. Yellow spots will appear on the leaves with what looks like a rusty-red dust (spores) underneath. When a tree is affected and it prematurely loses its leaves, it can weaken the tree exposing the trunk and branches to sunburn.

Control: Removal of the infected leaves and some of the infected twigs will help in controlling the fungus. A preventative fungal regime is recommended - A spray of copper oxychloride at bud swell will help. If the tree is still showing signs of infection, you can also apply a spray of wettable sulphur (Manutec) at petal-fall, 4 weeks after petal fall and then 8 weeks after petal fall. (always read the product instructions).

Prevention: Avoid overhead watering, since the spores travel by rainfall and splashing water. Where possible, avoid planting your fruit tree in a valley as humid air can collect in this area. Keep weeds, cuttings and plant debris cleaned up and dispose of this material away from the tree to keep from spreading spores accidentally. Check out the Care instructions in the annual winter pruning section. Applying a copper spray at bud swell and repeating if necessary is a great preventative. 

Shot Hole

Shot hole is a fungus

Plant Parts: Leaves, buds and fruit.

Season:  At the end of Spring - Summer

Symptoms: Leaf symptoms first appear as reddish spots that enlarge until the centre of the spot becomes a tan colour and the centre of the spot will eventually fall out producing a hole. Infected buds will turn black and fruit will have similar coloured lesions to the leaves.

Control: Removal of the infected leaves and some of the infected twigs will help in controlling the fungus. A preventative fungal regime is recommended - A spray of copper oxychloride at bud swell will help.

Prevention: Avoid overhead watering, since the spores travel by rainfall and splashing water. Keep weeds, cuttings and plant debris cleaned up and dispose of this material away from the tree to keep from spreading spores accidentally. Check out the Care instructions in the annual winter pruning section. Applying a copper spray at bud swell and repeating if necessary is a great preventative.

Sooty Mould

Sooty Mould is a fungal bi-product of the honeydew excreted by aphids/mealy bugs. It will weaken your fruit salad tree if  it is stressed.

Plant Part: Leaves

Season: Spring

Symptoms: Black soot like substance found on the leaves.

Control: By removing the aphids; the sooty mold will eventually dry and flake off.

ANTS attracted to the honeydew excreted by aphids, scale and mealy bugs or if you have left your fruit on the tree to long and it is over-ripe.

Symptoms: Ants in your plants

Control: Generally, removal of the honeydew producing pest will do the trick with a dose of soapy water. If the infestation is quite bad then consider ‘tree-trunk banding as easy method to stop ants in their tracks. (see your local nursery). 

Prevention: Keeping your orchard clean and free of weeds and encouraging beneficial pollinators and insects like bees, parasitic wasps, ladybirds and hoverflies. 

Reference: Sustainable Gardening Australia, NSW Department of Primary Industries and of course of FST team.

Stone Fruit Mites

Two-Spotted Mite are one of the most consistent pests in deciduous fruit tree orchards. 

Symptoms: Mites damage your fruit tree by causing the leaves to turn brown and fall. Fine webbing can be seen on heavy infestations and trees can be defoliated. The overall effect is to reduce yield and fruit quality. 

Control: If your Fruit Salad Tree has a mite infestation then on this occasion we would recommend watering the affected plant from above, remove and destroy badly infested leaves. Encourage natural enemies like ladybugs to your garden. You can use natural soaps/oil based sprays to combat this spidery little pest that can be purchased from your local nursery.

Prevention: Conditions that are favourable to this insect include: dusty areas in and around your home garden; hot, dry conditions, and excessive use of sprays that reduce the number of beneficial insects. 

Wildlife and your Garden

Stopping wildlife attacking your fruit tree

Remember wildlife love fruit salad trees too!  (Flying foxes/possums/mice/birds/wallabies etc)

Depending on the animal eating your fruit there are a few deterrents: Barriers/Companion Planting/Sensory repellents/Covers

Wildlife love fruit trees as much as we do. Remember possums are a protected species and they can be easy to deter with a bit of perseverance.

Barriers: Wire should be planted about 30 centimetres into the ground (small mesh may be used for mice) or a removable metal collar placed around the trunk can also be used as a deterrent.

Fencing: Erect a fence with loose wobbly wire to surround your tree. This gives the possum nothing to firmly climb on.

Tree Cover: Protect your fruit tree with a piece of shade cloth attached with pegs or garden ties.

Cover the fruit: Just get a paper bag or make one from some shade cloth and cover the fruit as it starts to grow.

Netting: You can add shade cloth or white bird netting with a maximum mesh size of around 10 mm. Set up a frame with bamboo or tomato stakes so that your netting is taut. Remove the netting each morning so that the bees and other pollinator insects have access to your fruit tree.

Motion triggered lights: Possums like to scavenge for food under the cover of darkness.

Companion Planting: Possums dislike daises, chrysanthemums, lavender, rosemary, grevilleas and citronella varieties.

Sprinkle blood and bone fertiliser around the base of your tree: Possums hate the smell and will be less inclined to eat if they can't stand the smell!

Spray garlic: try two tablespoons of crushed garlic in one litre of hot water, leave to stand overnight, strain and then spray directly onto your foliage. This also works with chillies or Tabasco sauce.

Spray tea: boil two litres of water; add four heaped teaspoons of Lapsang Souchong tea and leave to cool. Strain liquid and apply from a plastic spray bottle directly onto affected plants. Reapply every two weeks and always after rain. Make a fresh brew every time. 

A spray made from Quassia chips: add 100g chips to two litres of water and heat for one hour before straining. Add one tablespoon detergent. Dilute one part of the solution to four parts water and apply as a spray. Quassia chips are available at many nurseries, and are pretty effective, forming the base ingredient of many commercially available possum repellents.

Commercially available possum deterrents such as Poss-Off or Scat, work by emitting an unpleasant odour, so, when used according to the instructions on the products, claim to deter the little blighters! Just remember if you use any of these options that you will need to wash your produce before eating!

It should be remembered that no one solution is guaranteed, and re-application of sprays should be a regular and on-going activity. It is recommended that most sprays be re-applied every two to three weeks, and after rain. Persistence is the key! Possums are creatures of habit, and habits are not easy change, so keep up the spraying, and over time the possum will move away and seek food elsewhere.

Reference: Possum Repellent Fact Sheet - Wildlife Victoria

Winter Spraying

Winter dormancy is a fantastic opportunity to spray Stone fruit trees for leaf curl and other fungal diseases which in fact, cannot be treated at any other time of year! Lime or Copper spays should be applied to your tree either at leaf fall (Autumn) and/or at bud swell (this can be as early as June - depending on the varieties on your tree). If your tree has shown signs of leaf curl in previous seasons, it is a good idea to spray in Autumn AND at bud swell to ensure through treatment and good coverage. Sprays should be repeated about 1 week apart, and can be applied using a hand sprayer following the product label.  Sprays for leaf curl are available from most plant nurseries and hardware stores.

Florda Prince (the yellow peach variety we use on our trees) is the first of the stone fruits to ‘wake up’ from dormancy. This ‘waking up’ can be seen as a swelling of the blossom buds, long before any leaves emerge. Development stages for stone fruit are shown on right. (Source: Orchard plant protection guide for deciduous fruits in NSW 2017 – 18 NSW Department of Primary Industries).

Disclaimer: The material contained within this table was prepared from the most recent information available at the time it went live on our website. It is intended as a guide only.
Bronze Orange Bug

These prolific pests also known as 'stink bugs' will damage you citrus Fruit Salad Tree sucking the sap from the tree, causing flowers and fruit to fall and new shoots to wilt.

Plant Part: Leaves

Season: Late Winter - Spring

Symptoms: These bugs suck on the stalks causing flowers and fruits to fall prematurely and they will also affect new growth shoots.

Control: If you are able to tell in Winter that your citrus tree has been infected you will notice the young green bugs (nymphs) under leaves, applying a soapy spray will help remove these smelly critters. If you don’t notice the bugs until they have matured (turned orange-black) then the next step will be to apply Eco-neem and then treat the foliage with a horticultural soap to deal with the eggs left behind. Do not touch these bugs with bare hands.

Preventative:  Setting up a preventative spraying program in winter/early spring can help deter pests like the stink bug and scale. Applying eco-oil routinely around this period will destroy the eggs and smother any small nymphs.

Reference: NSW Department of Primary Industries and of course our FST team.

Caterpillars

Caterpillars from the moth family attack all fruit trees. They have a distinct looping action when they move. They are more abundant in the warmer weather.

Plant Parts: Leaves and fruit

Season: Spring

Symptoms: The eggs can be found on the under-surfaces of the leaves. They attack foliage and as they grow move up the plant. Sometimes attacking flowers and fruit parts - they grow to about 35mm long.

Control: They can be removed by hand or if you decide to spray, you can use a product called 'Carbaryl'. Do not harvest any fruit for at least 3 days after application. Read all directions on the packaging. Check with your local nursery for other treatment suggestions. 

Prevention: Attract beneficial insects to your garden to pick off these critters.

Reference: Department of Agriculture & Food, Western Australia, NSW Department of Primary Industries and of course our FST team.

Citrus Aphids

There are several species of aphids that are found on citrus trees, including brown citrus aphid, black citrus aphid, melon aphid, spiraea aphids. Aphids are small (2mm) long, soft-bodied insects. 

Plant Parts: Whole Plant

Season: Spring - Check young shoots in early September - late October and February to April for Summer-Autumn Flush.

Symptoms: Aphids produce a sticky substance (honeydew) as they feed on the plants (similar to scale insects). This honeydew attracts ants and can also encourage sooty mould. In 'payment' for the honeydew, ants protect the aphids from parasitic wasps. Any of these symptoms... honeydew, mould, ants or the aphids themselves indicate an infestation. Aphids can be a threat to young citrus trees by suck sap and decreasing vigour.

Control: You can efficiently get rid of small aphid colonies by simply crushing the insects by hand or pruning the affected area of the plant. Organic sprays can also be applied to the trees (use horticultural/pure soap or garlic/chilli-based sprays mixed with water). Be sure to rinse the undersides of leaves because aphids hide there. For severe infestation, use a spray with horticultural oil (don't apply when the weather is over 32*C as plant leaves can burn) or insecticidal soap like Pyrethrum dust or spray.

Prevention: Be mindful of applying products that will destroy beneficial insects that are natural enemies of the aphid such as lady beetles, lacewings and parasitic wasps as they will devour aphids. 

Reference: Department of Primary Industries NSW

Citrus Bud Mite

These little mites cannot be seen with the naked eye. Citrus bud mites live in the flower and leaf buds. They don’t like hot and dry conditions. This microscopic mite is a tiny 0.17mm in length, creamy colour and worm-like.

Plant Part: Blossoms and leaves

Season: Autumn

Symptom: You may notice rosette-like growth of leaves at the tips, blackening of the buds and distortion of flowers. Feeding damage to developing fruit causes fruit deformation. There will be no gum staining or branches dying off.  Lemons and navel oranges are especially susceptible.

Control: Applying a white/pest oil when your citrus tree is coming into flower may help or you can apply wettable sulphur two to three months before the bloom that is to be protected. Control can be difficult as the mite is protected within the leaf or flower bud.

Preventative: Encouraging beneficial bugs to your garden will help control this little mite. They travel in the wind.

Reference: Reference: Department of Primary Industries NSW and of course our FST team.

Citrus Canker

Citrus canker is a serious bacterial disease caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri. It commonly appears after heavy rain and high temperatures. It can be spread by wind and rain and, can also be spread over longer distances by people moving infected plant material or equipment.

Plant Part: Leaves, fruit and stems

Season: Spring - Autumn

Symptoms: Infected plants have lesions that increase in size to 5-10 millimetres (mm) over several months. Eventually the lesions collapse forming a crater-like appearance. They become surrounded by characteristic yellow halos. The raised edges of the lesion may appear slimy. Plants with the disease may have sluggish growth and reduced fruit quality and quantity and will eventually die.

Control: Citrus Canker was found in the Northern Territory in early 2018 and has nearly been eradicated in 2020 through extensive control procedures that still must be adhered to in aiding the control of this highly contagious bacteria. If you see infected plant tissue with citrus canker or anything unusual, report it to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881. This will put you in touch with the Department of Primary Industries or agriculture in your state or territory.

Preventative: This disease is a great example of why you should keep a tidy garden – remove all garden waste correctly and keep your gardening tools clean. Garden waste comprises of leaves and fallen fruit, removing it (do not place diseased waste in your compost but dispose of it in your red bin) and freshening up your mulch regularly will prevent fungal and bacterial diseases taking hold.

When it comes to your secateurs and spades, sterilising them between trees will only take a minute by dipping your tools in either a watered down mixture of either eucalyptus oil or tea tree oil. When you have finished for the day, clean your tools in a watered-down solution of household bleach and dry your tools thoroughly before putting them away.

References: NT Government/Agriculture, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Department of Agriculture and of course our FST team

Citrus Gall Wasp

Citrus Gall Wasp (Bruchophagus fellis) is native to Queensland and northern NSW, with the Australian Finger Lime as its natural host. Unfortunately for citrus trees, particularly lemons and grapefruits are now part of its diet. This pest has spread south (and west) in recent years where it can survive the cold and has no natural predators. Drat!

Plant Part: Branches

Season: Summer - Spring

Symptoms: Living up to its name, Citrus Gall Wasps trigger a reaction in the host causing it to produce large lumps or ‘galls’. Heavily galled trees lose vigour, which can result in reduced fruit size and yield. Sometimes the gall causes new growth at right angles.

12 Month Life Cycle of the Gall Wasp in Fruit Trees

Understanding the Citrus Gall Wasp life-cycle is very helpful for control. Adult gall wasps begin to emerge from their galls in Spring (from late August – October depending on area & season) to coincide with Spring growth, and can continue until mid-December. Most wasps emerge around the same time – within 20 days or so. After emerging, females take 5 – 7 days to mate. Then they begin laying eggs just under the bark, preferring soft, lush Spring growth. Larvae hatch in 2 – 4 weeks and feed within the stem for 9 – 10 months. The resulting woody gall becomes visible from December and expands until the cycle repeats in Spring.

The wasps themselves are tiny (2-3mm long) so they can’t fly far. Upon exiting they leave tell-tale exit holes. Galls with such holes do not require removal.

Control: Currently there is no chemical control registered for home gardener use to control Citrus Gall Wasp. Effective control therefore relies on strategic timing of both pruning and fertilising, augmented by traps. Correct disposal of gall prunings is essential to stop the spread .

Timing - When to Prune and Fertilize your Fruit Tree for Gall Wasp Control

Traditionally the recommendation for gall wasp control is pruning in August before the wasps emerge. This is suitable in the short term, if your infestation is small and on the end of branches, or if you have only noticed the galls in Winter. On the down side, August pruning can trigger the tree to put on a flush of Spring growth – which will then be targeted by any Gall Wasps present, perpetuating the cycle. Expected Spring growth can be protected to some degree by traps.

For longer term control and tree heath, gardeners with significant infestations should aim to reduce susceptible Spring growth flush by:

pruning galls from trees in Summer as they become visible (from about December). General maintenance pruning should be done at this time also; andfertilising in Summer and Autumn. Heavy ferrtilising in Winter and Spring will only encourage “tasty” Spring growth.

 To maintain vigour, only remove 30% or less of your citrus tree at any one time.

Preventative: Regular monitoring of galling throughout the year will assist in pruning and avoid nasty surprises. Cutting galls open in late Winter to see keep an eye on wasp development may be helpful... after a few years you will get the idea.

Insect Traps for your Fruit Salad Tree

Used on their own, these traps are unlikely to be effective. When their use is in conjunction with pruning; timed to wasp emergence (August – October); for protection of young trees, or some unavoidable Spring growth, then 2 – 4 traps per tree will contribute to control. The attractant used is not specific to Gall Wasp so removal in October, after wasp emergence is a good idea – you don’t want to trap beneficial insects or small birds as well.

Slicing open the Gall

Some gardeners have had success by slicing open the gall and exposing enclosed larvae to the elements – thereby killing it. This is worth a try, particularly if you have dwarf citrus or the gall is located on vital part of the tree’s branchwork. The trick here is again in the timing and depth of cut. Don’t wait until galls are big and surrounding tissue is brittle and there is no need to cut too deeply as the stem needs to continue supporting its own weight.

Stop the Spread to other Fruit Trees

Gall Wasps cannot fly far and are mainly transported by wind or sadly, by prunings. It is vital to dispose of any removed galls in a manner that will not allow the wasp to emerge. Methods suggested include burning (I’ve heard of gardeners roasting them in the oven!), burying (1m), cutting up into tiny pieces (mulching), or soaking in water for 2 weeks. They definantly cannot be disposed of via council green waste or garbage collection services – this is known to spread the problem.

Help is on the Way!

NSW Department of Agriculture has conducted some trials using Kaolin clay (Surround®). This product is registered for sunburn and unfortunately cannot be used for Gall Wasp control yet. Results however look promising for the future.

References: Vasali’s Garden Video on slicing galls, Melbourne article on pruning galls, Sustainable Gardening Australia, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Green Harvest Insect Trap, Deep Green Permaculture – includes description of cutting galls/exposing larvae to elements, WA Department of Primary Industries and of course our FST team

Citrus Leafminer

The little moths are attracted to the new growth on your citrus tree and lay their eggs at night. The larvae are known as Citrus Leaf Miner, they leave a trail on the leaves. They don't suck the sap like aphids and mites. Instead, they tunnel through leaf tissues as they grow.

Plant Part: Leaves

Season: Summer

Symptom: Silvery snake-like trail on leaves, the leaves become twisted and distorted

Control: Petroleum/white oil sprays can deter egg laying moths. Once the larvae have tunnelled inside the leaf, control can be a little tricky for the rest of the season. It is best to remove the infected leaves and place them in the bin to stop the leaf miner. You can also spray with Dipel - an organic treatment. If you have a bad case of leaf miner this season then it can help to avoid applying growth stimulating fertilisers during summer, as this limits the amount of new growth at the time when moth numbers are at their highest so less damage occurs.

Preventative: Look at applying a horticultural spray to new growth, White oil is commonly used.

Most citrus trees can tolerate leaf miners to an extent, and they are generally tricky to get rid of, so stay patient and keep up the treatments.

Reference: SGA online, Department of Agriculture & Food, Western Australia , Department of Primary Industries NSW, and of course our FST team .

Citrus Rust Mite

Also known as Redmite; these tiny invertebrates attack the surface of your fruit (often around the stalk), not harming the juicy flesh inside.

Plant Part: Leaves, branches and fruit

Season: Spring

Symptoms: You may notice this pestie mite on the new growth of your citrus tree. They attack the outer exposed surface of the fruit causing it to look rusty/spotty in appearance. Rust mites can also cause bronzing of leaves and green twigs. Look for white cast-off skins on the leaf and fruit surface to confirm mite infestation. Thrives in dry conditions.

Control:  Eco oil or Eco Neem will help keep this mite under control.

Preventative: Attracting beneficial insects to your garden.

Reference: NSW Department of Industries, Department of Agriculture & Food, Western Australia and of course or FST team.

Collar Rot

Collar Rot is a fungus disease in wet soils.

Plant Part: Stems, leaves and branches

Season: Autumn - Winter

Symptoms: You will notice the foliage start to turn yellow and there may even by some gum ooze from the bark of the tree at ground level. Can be especially prevalent in clay soils.

Control: Make sure you have good water drainage as Citrus Fruit Salad Trees don't like wet feet for this very reason. Check out our Planting Out Guide and Information found in the Care Instructions that are sent with your Fruit Salad Tree.

Prevention: Don't over water your Fruit Salad Tree as this fungus grows well in damp conditions. Make sure that you keep the area around the trunk of your tree free from weeds and it is advisable not to grow any other plants to close to the trunk either. Good air circulation is key to decrease humidity. 

Reference: Department of Agriculture & Food, Western Australia, Department of Primary Industries NSW, QLD Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry and of course our FST team.

Fruit Fly

Exotic fruit flies like then Queensland and Mediterranean fruit fly are among the most serious pests of fruit tree gardeners in warmer regions everywhere. Adult Queensland Fruit Flies are about seven millimetres long and are reddish-brown in colour, with distinct yellow markings.

Plant Part: Fruit

Season: End of Winter - Summer

Symptoms: These pests burrow into the soil. The brown pupal cases are about 5 mm long and look like somewhat elongated hens’ eggs. They become active around the end of winter, when the weather begins to warm. The flies lay their eggs in small groups just beneath the skin of the fruit. When the larvae hatch, they generally make their way to the centre of the fruit.

Control: Infested fruit must be removed from the ground or from the tree and destroyed by burning or boiling. Maggots will also be killed if the fruit is sealed in a plastic bag and left in the sun for several days. It must NOT be buried as this simply continues the normal life cycle of the insect. Traps will only kill the adult fly but used in conjunction with sprays is generally effective – you need to remove all infected fruit straight away. If the infestation is extreme, then consider using a mixture of systems to control the fruit flies; fruit fly traps set up with Lures and MAT cups work in conjunction to kill the flies.

Spraying can kill eggs and larvae in the fruit. If choosing to use a chemical spray avoid sprays with Fenthion (particularly toxic to birds). Previously, suitable fruit fly baits were a mixture of Maldison and protein (lure) but you need to be careful using Maldison as it is harmful to bees. Naturalure™ fruit fly Bait concentrate is a good all in one product to try. Apply per the manufacturer instructions.

Prevention: Good garden hygiene is critical to controlling these pests. The most effective way to prevent fruit flies damaging your produce is to use fruit fly or insect proof netting. Such netting can be bought from some specialist garden centres and online retailers. Insect proof netting can be draped over trees and other crops or supported by a frame. Netting needs to be put up after pollination has occurred.

Bugs for Bugs have some great fruit fly traps and sprays that might help.

If you live in an area that is known for fruit fly then look at choosing our early cropping varieties that can be harvested before Christmas when fruit fly numbers are lower.

Reference: QLD Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry, Department of Agriculture & Food, Western Australia, Agriculture Victoria, Bugs for Bugs and of course our FST team.

Grasshoppers and Locusts

Grasshoppers or Locusts – are transient pests that can attack all fruit trees.

Plant Parts: Leaves

Season: Summer to Autumn

Symptoms: You will notice that you Fruit Salad Tree has bite marks in the leaves or has skeletonised foliage.

Control: A great solution is Dipel (An organic powder). Check with your local nursery for other regional treatments.

Preventative: Look at companion planting ideas; grasshoppers hate coriander & marigolds so maybe try planting some in your garden. 

Reference: Our FST team

Leaf Curling - Symptom

What is causing my citrus leaves to curl and how can I remedy this?

Windburn - Citrus trees exposed to wind will grow slower than those protected from strong wind. Leaves and fruit can be damage when rubbed against thorns, dead twigs and branches due to the wind. Symptoms of wind injury include misshapen and puckered leaves and the fruit will have irregular brown marks on the rind.

Drought stress - Prolonged heat and little to no water is the most common cause of leaves curling. If the leaves are still green, but curling inward, it is a sign of drought stress. If the soil at the base of the tree is dry, then you need to increase watering and add up to 10cm of organic mulch to the base of the tree to keep the moisture in. Don't place the mulch too close to the trunk of the tree.

Try to 'deep water' your tree by leaving the hose on a trickle overnight so that the water can penetrate and nourish the depths of the root system. Read more about watering your Fruit Salad Tree here.

Pests Sap-sucking pests like aphids and mites feed on the juice of the leaves. As their populations grow, they cause deformations including curling, cupping and discolouration. (For more information on these critters check out the aphids and mite sections on the table). Treat aphids and mites with Neem oil in the cooler part of the day. Repeat weekly until the pests disappear from the tree.

Citrus leaf miners leave a trail on the leaves. They don't suck the sap like aphids and mites. Instead, they tunnel through leaf tissues as they grow. It is best to remove the infected leaves and place in the bin to stop the leaf miners moving on to other areas of the garden. You can also spray with Dipel, an organic treatment. Most citrus trees can tolerate leaf miners to an extent, and they are generally tricky to get rid of, so stay patient and keep up the treatments.

Soil - When the leaves are slightly yellow and bent at the tip, it can mean that the tree is not receiving enough potassium. Check your soil pH levels and nutrients before treating. If nutrients are low, check with your local nursery for an appropriate fertiliser.

Fertilise your tree at least twice a year, in late Winter and late Summer. Older manure is better than younger manure. Your compost is also a great fertiliser. You can also try mixing a slow release fertiliser like Osmocote into the soil or Blood and Bone or Dynamic Lifter. But, limit to only one of two of these fertilizers each application. 

When using fertilizers, keep them away from the trunk of the tree, and top up the mulch when required.

And that's it! Happy harvesting your beautiful citrus Fruit Salad tree!

Leaf Discolouration - Symptom

Fruit trees are like energetic teenagers, they burn through energy, produce copious amounts of love and but if they're tired, they'll definitely show it!

Citrus trees are evergreen, which means that they keep their leaves all throughout the year. The rootstock that we use for our Citrus trees is Trifoliata; it has a deciduous growth cycle. During Winter the roots will reduce the amount of nutrition it provides. This can leave the evergreen part of the tree hungry for food. Leaves with a yellow border or mottled yellow indicate a nutrient deficiency. Just like a hungry teenager, give them food and they'll perk up!

If the leaves are a yellow tone during winter, wait until Spring to give your citrus tree a good feed with fertiliser to encourage new growth. This is because the deciduous rootstocks won't take up a lot of food during the winter months. Fertilising citrus in the cooler months can be tricky, as it is best to avoid encouraging a flush of tender new growth that could easily get frost or cold damaged. A great way to improve the nutritional elements in your soil in winter is to feed your tree with a mix of dolomite, lime and gypsum, which will increase nutrition and improve leaf appearance without stimulating a flush.

If it is nutritional deficiency, complete a pH test on your soil and respond based on the result.

It is worthwhile noting the type of yellowing of your citrus leaves:

Light green to yellow leaves all over the tree indicates a Nitrogen deficiency – Treatment Blood and Bone/Organic Matter Yellowish-green blotch at the leaf base that spreads outward - Magnesium deficiency – Treatment Dolomite or Epsom SaltsYellow leaves with green veins (generally soil high in alkaline - common in coastal areas) - Zinc/Iron deficiency - Zinc: foliar spray (zinc sulphate) on the spring flush leaves. Iron deficiency – you will need to look at your soil and reduce the pH (talk to your local nursery).

Reference: QLD Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry and of course of FST team.

Mealybugs

These sap sucking pests are extremely common around the garden, causing sooty mould on citrus trees.

Plant Part: Sheltered/confined areas of the branches and even young buds.

Season: All but more prominent in Summer and Autumn

Symptoms: You will notice these pests by the white waxy coating around their bodies. They thrive in warm moist conditions congregating in plant joins. Ants will be attracted to the honeydew secretions of this pest.

Control: Spraying with Eco oil or Eco Neem (always follow directions) will help keep mealybugs under controls.

Preventative: Attracting beneficial insects like lady bugs and wasps to your garden will help control these pests. As will keeping your Fruit Salad Tree well looked after as plants under stress are more likely to be targeted by this little pest. If at any stage your tree is looking a little worse for wear a dose of fish/seaweed mix will generally pep them right up.

Reference: Bugs for Bugs, NSW Department of Primary Industries and of course of FST team.

Melanose

Melanose is a fungus disease found in coastal and tropical regions of Australia. It strikes during humid and wet weather conditions.

Plant Parts: Fruit, leaves and twigs

Season: Autumn - Winter

Symptom: Rough and raised lesions that are dark brown or black and vary in size and appearance. Damage is superficial and will not affect the internal fruit quality. If your Fruit Salad Tree does get a dose of this disease when it is suffering from drought stress then look out for a discolouration on the branch work (cinnamon brown colour), often with streaks of yellow gum. Remove all of the infected leaf and branch work - do not dispose of any diseased cuttings in your compost.

Control: If you have caught the Melanose early then applying a copper spray at petal fall (always read the directions of anything you apply on your fruit tree), this will help with control. The copper spray protects the developing fruit. If your fruit tree is heavily infected on foliage, follow up with another spray of copper in late summer.

Preventative: Good balancing and removal of dead twigs on your fruit salad tree will help keep this fungal disease at bay as will an annual spray of copper in Spring and Autumn.

References: NSW Department of Primary Industries, QLD department of Agriculture & Fisheries and of course our FST team.

Possum Deterrents

Possum repellents may work through two chemical senses: smell and taste. The list below has been suggested as options to try by wildlife Victoria.

Fish based fertilisers: Charlie Carp®

Tabasco sauce: use as a spray

Garlic spray: Place 2 tblsp of freshly crushed garlic in 1ltr of hot water. Allow to stand overnight. Spray on foliage.

Blood & Bone: Sprinkle around the base of your fruit salad tree.

A spray made from Quassia chips: add 100g chips to two litres of water and heat for one hour before straining. Add one tablespoon detergent. Dilute one part of the solution to four parts water and apply as a spray. Quassia chips are available at many nurseries, and are pretty effective, forming the base ingredient of many commercially available possum repellents.

Commercially available possum deterrents such as Poss-Off or Scat, work by emitting an unpleasant odour, so when used according to the instructions on the products, claim to deter the little blighters!

Just remember to follow all instructions on the packaging of any products you use.

It should be remembered that sometimes no one solution is guaranteed, and re-application of sprays should be a regular and on-going activity. Persistence is the key!

Reference: Possum Repellent Fact Sheet - Wildlife Victoria

Sooty Mould

Sooty Mould a fungal bi-product of the honeydew excreted by sap sucking insects like aphids and mealy bugs. It will weaken your fruit salad tree if it is stressed.

Plant Part: Leaves

Season: Spring

Symptoms: Black soot like substance found on the leaves and branches.

Control: By removing the aphids; the sooty mold will eventually dry and flake off.

ANTS attracted to the honeydew excreted by aphids, scale and mealy bugs or if you have left your fruit on the tree to long and it is over-ripe.

Symptoms: Ants in your plants

Control: Generally, removal of the honeydew producing pest will do the trick with a dose of soapy water. If the infestation is quite bad then consider ‘tree-trunk banding as easy method to stop ants in their tracks. (see your local nursery). 

Prevention: Keeping your orchard clean and free of weeds and encouraging beneficial pollinators and insects like bees, parasitic wasps, ladybirds and hoverflies to your garden will keep these pests at bay. Companion planting a few tansy herbs nearby will also deter the ants.

Reference: Sustainable Gardening Australia, NSW Department of Primary Industries and of course of FST team.

Disclaimer: The material contained within this table was prepared from the most recent information available at the time it went live on our website. It is intended as a guide only.
Apple Dimpling Bug - Mainland

This bug is native to mainland Australia.  It is a greenish brown flying insect that is about 2-3 mm long. When squashed it has a very distinctive sweet odour.

Plant Part: Blossoms

Season: Winter – Spring depending on your climate and apple variety:

ALL Climates (Late June – early July) COLD Climate (Sept-October) just after budswell.

Symptoms: The bug feeds by taking sap from the blossoms and young fruit. This causes scarring and dimples when the fruit develops.

Control:  Put some sticky traps out around the tree if you are worried about this bug. This pest is generally not the type to hang around every year.

Prevention: You can use a pest repellent, but we would recommend avoid unnecessary spraying. As applying insecticides while your apple tree is in blossom can have a negative effect on bees, instead attract beneficial insects to your garden to help keep this pest at bay.

Resources: NSW department of Primary Industries, Department of Agriculture & Food, Western Australia and of course our FST team.

Apple Leafhopper

The apple leafhopper (Canary Fly) looks like a tiny cicada (3-4 mm long); greenish-yellow in colour with red eyes. During autumn female leafhoppers lay their eggs under soft bark which hatch in Spring. Infestation of this pest tends to be worse in dry years.

Plant Part: Leaves

Season: Spring - Summer

Symptoms: In the warmer months they are usually found under the leaves where they feed on the sap resulting in the leaf turning yellow and in extreme cases causing them to fall off. If your apple tree is heavily infected, then the fruit may appear speckled from the insects’ excrement – this is superficial and can be washed off.

Control: Look at trying sticky traps or try a soap spray like Natrasoap.

Prevention: Little can be done to prevent infestations of this pest; keep your apple tree well weeded underneath the canopy, properly watered and well ‘balanced’ to allow good air circulation.

Resources: NSW Department of Primary Industries and of course our FST team.

Apple Looper Caterpillars

Caterpillars from the moth family attack all fruit trees. They have a distinct looping action when they move. They are more abundant in the warmer weather.

Plant Parts: Leaves

Season: Spring - Summer

Symptoms: The eggs can be found on the under-surfaces of the leaves. They attack foliage and as they grow move up the plant. Sometimes attacking flowers and fruit parts - they grow to about 35mm long.

Control: They can be removed by hand or if you decide to spray, you can use a product called 'Carbaryl'. Do not harvest any fruit for at least 3 days after application. Read all directions on the packaging. Check with your local nursery for other treatment suggestions.

Prevention: Encouraging beneficial insects to your garden will help control this pest.

Apple Scab

Apple scab or black spot is a fungus that infects leaves, shoots, buds, blossoms and fruit. It is more prevalent in regions with high rainfall and relative humidity during the growing season.

Plant Part: Leaves, shoots, blossoms and fruit

Season: Symptoms will be noticeable from Late Spring

Symptoms: If your Fruit Salad Tree is infected the first symptoms will usually appear as small spots on the underside of young leaves or as spots on either surface of older leaves. The spots may grow into one another to form large patches. If the disease has spread to the fruit, it will develop black spots and go corky in the centre. 

Control: A copper oxychloride spray can be applied when your tree is at the green tip stage of growth. (when the buds are broken at the tip and about 1/16 inch of green tissue is visible - generally early to mid-September). If you have missed out spraying in September, then consider applying Mancozeb in the month of October.

Prevention: Keep the undergrowth area clean; The fungus usually survives over winter under the trees, in the dead, infected leaves from the previous season. Avoid use of overhead irrigation, which could begin or prolong scab infection periods.

Reference: NSW Department of Primary Industries, Department of Agriculture & Food, Western Australia, Agriculture Victoria and of course our FST team.

Caterpillars

There are a few different types of caterpillars that may be found on an apple tree. They range from budworms (helicoerpa), inch worms (loopers) and may also be the larvae of a variety of pests like the Codling Moth, Lightbrown Apple Moth, Oriental Fruit Moth or Fruit Fly.

Plant Part: The moths lay their eggs on the underside of leaves. The larvae of caterpillars hatch from the eggs and then feed on the leaves or fruit.

Season: Spring

Symptoms: Holes are seen in the leaves or fruit of the apple tree. You may also notice black or brown droppings.

Control: Until you know which larvae is attacking your multi-grafted apple fruit salad tree you can start to remove these caterpillars by trying a variety of sprays like Dipel, Eco-oil or Success Ultra. Always follow the application instructions.

Prevention: Remove any loose bark or branches from the tree. Keep the area around your apple tree clean and your mulch about 2 inches away from the trunk. Attract beneficial insects to your card to pick off these critters.

Reference: Department of Agriculture & Food, Western Australia, NSW Department of Primary Industries and of course our FST team.

Codling Moth

An adult Codling moth is a brown moth that has a wingspan of about 20 mm, the wing tips have a circular area. Eggs are laid on leaves or small fruit at dusk.

Plant Part: Bark, leaves and fruit

Season: Spring and Summer

Symptoms:  Fruit may drop prematurely. You may notice a small entry hole on the apple where the larvae entered the fruit, the larvae will feed for 3-5 weeks before tunneling out an exit hole. When you cut open an apple that has been attacked by this pest you will notice the tunnel is brown in appearance and filled with excrement from the caterpillar. When the larvae have finished with the fruit, they will find a bark crevice in the trunk to pupate and form a cocoon. Over the cooler months of the year you can notice these cocoons on the rough bark of the tree trunk.

Control: Destroy all infected fruit and any squash any pupae you may see. Remove loose bark, broken branches and leaf debris to reduce hiding places for cocoons. You can try tree banding or traps.

Prevention: Every winter clean up around your grafted apple Fruit Salad Tree by removing loose bark and making sure that the mulch is at least 2 inches from the trunk of your apple tree. Apply an application of Eco-oil or Dipel at petal fall and always follow the instructions on the container.

Reference: NSW Department of Primary Industries and of course our FST team.

European Red Mite

These mites are reddy-brown, with white spots and are about 0.5 mm long. Each egg looks like an onion, with a white stalk at the top as long as the egg is wide.

Plant Part: Leaves, fruit and the bark of the tree.

Season: Spring - Summer

Symptoms: Early signs of the mite are pale yellow spotting on leaves. Heavy infestations result in leaf bronzing and premature leaf fall. Prolonged feeding by the mite can result in reduced fruit size and colour and may affect fruit set the following season. In Autumn you will notice bright red eggs that the mite has laid along the bark of the tree.

Control: Applying a horticultural mineral oil spray in late winter can kill the eggs. If you still have these little mites around in the summer months’ then applying wettable sulphur during the cooler part of the day is a good back up treatment.

Prevention: Make sure you water your multi-grafted apple fruit tree adequately as trees under water stress are more likely to be infested with mites than those that receive proper watering. If the European Red Mite was a problem, last season then applying horticultural mineral oil spray around full bloom the following season.

Reference: NSW Department of Primary Industries and of course our FST team

Fruit Fly

Exotic fruit flies like then Queensland and Mediterranean fruit fly are among the most serious pests of fruit tree gardeners in warmer regions everywhere.

Plant Part: Fruit

Season: End of Spring - Summer

Symptoms: These pests burrow into the soil. The brown pupal cases are about 5 mm long and look like somewhat elongated hens’ eggs. They become active around the end of winter, when the weather begins to warm. The flies lay their eggs in small groups just beneath the skin of the fruit. When the larvae hatch, they generally make their way to the centre of the fruit.

Control: Infested fruit must be removed from the ground or from the tree and destroyed by burning or boiling. Maggots will also be killed if the fruit is sealed in a plastic bag and left in the sun for several days. It must NOT be buried as this simply continues the normal life cycle of the insect. Traps will only kill the adult fly but used in conjunction with sprays is generally effective – you need to remove all infected fruit straight away. If the infestation is extreme, then consider using a mixture of systems to control the fruit flies; fruit fly traps set up with Lures and MAT cups work in conjunction to kill the flies.

Spraying can kill eggs and larvae in the fruit. If choosing to use a chemical spray avoid sprays with Fenthion (particularly toxic to birds). Previously, suitable fruit fly baits were a mixture of Maldison and protein (lure) but you need to be careful using Maldison as it is harmful to bees. Naturalure™ fruit fly Bait concentrate is a good all in one product to try. Apply per the manufacturer instructions.

Prevention: Good garden hygiene is critical to controlling these pests. The most effective way to prevent fruit flies damaging your produce is to use fruit fly or insect proof netting. Such netting can be bought from some specialist garden centres and online retailers. Insect proof netting can be draped over trees and other crops or supported by a frame. Netting needs to be put up after pollination has occurred.

Bugs for Bugs have some great fruit fly traps and sprays that might help

Reference: QLD Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry, Department of Agriculture & Food, Western Australia, Bugs for Bugs and of course our FST team

Lightbrown Apple Moth

The larvae are yellow-green and slender – up to 200mm long; once mature the moth is around 10mm long when the wings are folded in a bell shape. You will notice this moth activity more around the new moon phase and during a full moon.

Plant Part: Fruits and leaves

Season: Spring - Summer

Symptoms: Chewed and skeletonised leaves; you may notice webbing in rolled leaves. Fruit will have chew holes from the larvae near the stem end.

Control: Good early-season control is essential. Pheromone traps will help to contain the moth in flight stage and Dipel when in the caterpillar stage.

Prevention: Generally, the beneficial insects like spiders and earwigs in your garden will keep this grub at bay.

Reference: NSW Department of Primary Industries, Department of Agriculture VIC and of course the FST team

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is a prevalent fungal disease which forms a white powdery cover on the apple tree. It flourishes in humid mild conditions (with no rain), especially in shady spots with little air circulation and damp conditions.

Plant Part: Whole tree

Season: Summer - Spring

Symptoms: White powdery coverings on buds, shoots, leaves and fruit. If the buds are affected the leaves may develop abnormally, appear brittle and curled. They may also drop prematurely. On red skinned Apples, symptoms are easy to identify as they develop a pattern of fine, yellowish criss-cross lines.

Prevention: When planting your Apple Fruit Salad Tree, allow for plenty of space around the tree to help create adequate air circulation. Having a good watering routine will help reduce the risk of this disease. Ensure water is delivered to the roots and does not get on the leaves. Using a seaweed/fish based plant tonic once a fortnight can also be helpful.

Control: To control the spread of Powdery Mildew, remove the affected leaves from your tree to stop it spreading. Dispose of any leaves you remove (and any prematurely fallen leaves) in your red bin - not in your compost or green bin. Apply a spray with wettable sulphur (we suggest Manutec, and to follow the directions on the packaging). Or you can try an old home remedy by making up your own simple organic spray with 1 part full cream milk to 10 parts water. When applying any sprays/chemicals to your fruit salad tree, do so in the early morning – not in the hot sun! We recommend applying sprays that won’t kill off the good insects like black and yellow ladybirds. Beneficial insects like these two will help control fungal diseases and other nasties in your garden.

References: QLD Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry, Department of Agriculture & Food, Western Australia and of course our FST team

Possum Proofing your Fruit Salad Tree

Possums love fruit trees as much as we do. Remember they are a protected species and they can be easy to deter with a bit of perseverance.

Fencing: Erect a fence with loose wobbly wire to surround your tree. This gives the possum nothing to firmly climb on.

Tree Cover: Protect your fruit tree with a piece of shade cloth attached with pegs or garden ties.

Cover the fruit: Just get a paper bag or make one from some shade cloth and cover the fruit as it starts to grow.

Netting: You can add shade cloth or white bird netting with a maximum mesh size of around 10 mm. Set up a frame with bamboo or tomato stakes so that your netting is taut. Remove the netting each morning so that the bees and other pollinator insects have access to your fruit tree.

Motion triggered lights: Possums like to scavenge for food under the cover of darkness.

Companion Planting: Possums dislike daises, chrysanthemums, lavender, rosemary, grevilleas and citronella varieties.

Sprinkle blood and bone fertiliser around the base of your tree: Possums hate the smell and will be less inclined to eat if they can't stand the smell!

Spray garlic: try two tablespoons of crushed garlic in one litre of hot water, leave to stand overnight, strain and then spray directly onto your foliage. This also works with chillies or Tabasco sauce.

Spray tea: boil two litres of water; add four heaped teaspoons of Lapsang Souchong tea and leave to cool. Strain liquid and apply from a plastic spray bottle directly onto affected plants. Reapply every two weeks and always after rain. Make a fresh brew every time. 

A spray made from Quassia chips: add 100g chips to two litres of water and heat for one hour before straining. Add one tablespoon detergent. Dilute one part of the solution to four parts water and apply as a spray. Quassia chips are available at many nurseries, and are pretty effective, forming the base ingredient of many commercially available possum repellents.

Commercially available possum deterrents such as Poss-Off or Scat, work by emitting an unpleasant odour, so, when used according to the instructions on the products, claim to deter the little blighters! Just remember if you use any of these options that you will need to wash your produce before eating!

It should be remembered that no one solution is guaranteed, and re-application of sprays should be a regular and on-going activity. It is recommended that most sprays be re-applied every two to three weeks, and after rain. Persistence is the key! Possums are creatures of habit, and habits are not easy change, so keep up the spraying, and over time the possum will move away and seek food elsewhere.

Disclaimer: The material contained within this table was prepared from the most recent information available at the time it went live on our website. It is intended as a guide only.

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