Roots, Shoots, Fruits & Flowers: Trees, Trees, Trees


Leaf curl caused by citrus leafminer.
Photo: Dr. Dale Pollet, LSU AgCenter (ret.).

Satsumas with leaf curl

Merritt emailed RSFF to ask, “Is it too hot to spray a dormant oil on my satsuma [trees] to kill for [the cause of] leaf curl?”

Merritt is referring to an infestation of the tender, young leaves of his satsumas by a juvenile form of an insect called the “citrus leafminer”. Dr. Dale Pollet, a retired insect specialist, shared this advice for homeowners, “Homeowners who have a few citrus trees in the backyard may obtain excellent control of citrus leafminers by using spinosad formulated for citrus in home gardens. Homeowners may obtain spinosad at local garden centers under different commercial names such as Conserve™, Naturalyte Insect Control ™, Green Light Spinosad™, Success™, Fertilome Borer ™, Bagworm, Leafminer & Tent Caterpillar Spray™, etc.”

The use of dormant oil is usually effective on mites and scales infecting citrus. Damage to a plant may occur if a dormant oil is applied when temperatures are above 90 degrees F. or if the plant is stressed by drought.


Figs ripening.
Photo: Dr. Allen Owings, LSU AgCenter (ret.).

Rooting a stem from a fig tree

Esther called the AgCenter and described her success of rooting a stem from a “brown turkey” fig tree and it became a productive tree. However, she did not recall how she accomplished her feat because some time had passed since her successful rooting. Her question was, “When is the best time to root a fig tree?”

AHA researched Esther’s question in a free, downloadable publication entitled, Figs for Commercial and Home Production in Louisiana. This publication covers many topics for fig gardeners including varieties, propagation, planting & spacing, pruning & training, and much more. The short answer to Esther’s propagation question is, “Cuttings may be taken at the time of pruning or whenever the tree is fully dormant.” In Louisiana, the dormant season is from the last frost of the current year until about middle February.


Baldcypress trees.
Photo: Ashley R. Edwards, LSU AgCenter.

Baldcypress Trees

A homeowner called the AgCenter and was concerned about baldcypress trees encroaching into her yard and under her home. She is resigned to have the offending tree to be removed so her question was, “Will the tree sprout after the stump grinder is finished removing the stump?”

Dr. Hallie Dozier, an AgCenter specialist on urban trees, shared her thought about grinding out a cypress stump, “I think grinding the stump will prevent future sprouting…trim knees and cover [with mulch or soil].”


The cover of Louisiana Home Citrus Production.
Photo: LSU AgCenter.

Fertilize Orange Trees

Loretta asks, “When is the best time to fertilize orange trees?” Again, AHA checked with another free, downloadable AgCenter publication, Louisiana Home Citrus Production.

This publication answers Loretta’s question with this narrative, “Newly set trees should not be fertilized until they show signs of growth, usually six weeks after they are set in the spring (mid-March) …. After the second year, fertilize citrus trees in late January or early February.”


Ripe peach.

Grafting Peaches

Mary Ann is interested in starting her own home orchards and wants to know, “I have a botanical question for you. Is the Elberta Peach an own root stock or is it grafted? We were hoping to be able to propagate it from seeds. Is that possible?”

Fruit and nut trees purchased at nurseries and garden centers are grafted. Grafted trees tend to bear about five years earlier than trees started by seed. In general, a tree from seed started to produce in ten to fifteen years. Yes, propagating from seed is possible so patience will be necessary for fruit or nut yields. Dr. Randy Sanderlin, AgCenter pecan specialist, wrote about the genetic advantage of grafted trees, “…Because ungrafted trees are the result of genetic recombination, it is not possible to predict what the nuts will be like. Grafted trees are used to produce nuts of the same cultivar in a planted orchard.” The same would be correct for grafted fruit trees.

If you want to contact Roots, Shoots, Fruits and Flowers, please send your questions and pictures to Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent (AHA), 337-463-7006 or Also, you can be on the “green thumbs” email list by emailing your request to the address above.

“Before you buy or use an insecticide product, first read the label, and strictly follow label recommendations. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by Louisiana State University AgCenter.”

“This work has been supported, in part, by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Renewable Resources Extension Act Award, Accession Number 1011417.”

7/24/2020 5:20:12 PM
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