Citrus scale

I’ve been spending the day answering gardening questions and thought some of these are worth sharing.

Question from Marblehead, MA: I have rust colored insects attacking my Meyer lemon tree plants. The leaves are sticky and blackening. Can you please recommend a treatment?

Answer: Citrus plants are susceptible to scale, which is the problem with your lemon tree. I have two approaches, both which are effective and non-toxic. The first is to wipe off the scale from leaves and branches with a piece of gauze soaked in rubbing alcohol. Depending on the size of the plant this may or may not be practical. Neem oil does an excellent job in treating scale. A small amount of oil is combined with water and applied from a spray bottle. We offer for sale and recommend Dyna-Gro Pure Neem Oil.