Q: Do my citrus and avocado trees need any special care in the summer?
Carol P., Arroyo Grande
A: It’s a good idea to keep an eye on these valuable trees, making sure they have sufficient water and aren’t overwhelmed by pests and diseases.
Citrus and avocado trees may require extra water to offset excessive evaporation during periods of hot dry weather. At the same time, avoid overwatering, especially near the trunk, which can lead to root and crown rots.
Healthy citrus trees can withstand most minor pest invasions with the exception of Asian citrus psyllid. The tiny, mottled brown insect carries huanglongbing (HLB),a bacterial disease can kill all commonly grown citrus varities. There iscurrently no known cure for HLB.
If you suspect you have this insect among your citrus trees, call the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s pest hotline at 1-800-491-1899.
Avocado trees also have their share of pests, including the pesky persea mite. Feeding damage causes visible spots on leaves which can lead to leaf drop and sunburned fruit.
Reduce minor infestations in home gardens with strong water sprays and less frequent fertilizing, and by encouraging natural enemies. Treat heavier mite populations with insecticidal soap and water sprays.
Tips for growing healthy citrus and avocado trees will be covered during Saturday’s free Advice to Grow By workshop, presented by UCCE Master Gardeners. Informational handouts will be available at the three-part workshop, and audience questions are encouraged following each presentation.
The outdoor workshop runs from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Garden of the Seven Sisters, 2156 Sierra Way in San Luis Obispo. Docents will be available after the workshop to answer questions until 1 p.m.
Remember to bring a hat, sunscreen and water, and join your fellow gardeners in the garden.
For more information about UCCE Master Gardeners, or to register for workshops, visit http://ucanr.edu/sites/mgslo.