Looks like I killed my Satsuma Mandarin

I have this Satsuma Mandarin tree for about 6 weeks. It looked healthy form the beginning, but leaves had white residue on them - I thought it was some kind of spray. Now I see it covered with clear sweet drops and white pests. I would say the damage looks like the one from aphids, but pest do not look like that. What is it and what is the best way to remove it? Does it infects the room it self? How about soil? The plant is indoor plant and I do not want fight that bug forever. I would rather do some drastic measures like sterilizing the room with ozonator (after killing the pest on the plant and removing it from the room) if it helps.

I guess I found the answer I was looking for. Unfortunately not the answer I’d like to hear…
I washed every leaf(there are just 22 of them) and stem with alcohol using painting brush and then applied pyrethroid rated as house plant insect killer with the same brush to make sure I didn’t miss any spots. Not sure though what to do with soil surface…

Your ID of mealy bugs is correct.

Can phytotoxicity reaction appear 5 days after application? I applied alcohol and pyrethroid rated as house plant insect killer 6 days ago. Yesterday leaves on my mandarin started to roll and dry out starting with youngest. I didn’t water it for some time, it was almost dry, but not completely dry when I push my finger in the soil. I gave it some water. Today almost all the leaves rolled and dry, only the largest one still not completely rolled. Did I kill it?

I would think the alcohol has dissolved the wax on the leaf cuticle .resulting in rapid water loss and the leafs turned to toast.
Although defoliated, the tree may recover.
I would water a little and wait a month for a new flush of growth.
And how are the mealy bugs ?
I would think a high pressure water spray( garden hose ,outside)at weekly intervals,for a month or so would control them.

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I had a similar issue with scale on one of my satsumas a couple of years ago, I blasted it with some water from the garden hose (I’ve read of people doing this in the shower if it’s cold outside) to physically remove the majority of the pests and then afterwards I sprayed a light coating of neem oil on the leaves and stems, it took care of the scale issue. By that time the tree had extensive damage and dropped a lot of the leaves due to the scale damage but mostly the sooty mold that likes to take over when ‘honeydew’ is present on citrus leaves.

The tree lost the majority (I think literally every leaf) over the course of the next few weeks. I kept thinking I had killed it trying to save it but decided to keep treating it normally. To my surprise it recovered fully (it felt like it took forever to do so) and it is now the prettiest citrus tree I have out of ~30. My wife commented that it was the ugliest tree in my collection by far, at the time of the scale infestation, so just hang in there if you know your growing conditions and practices are right for citrus.

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I don’t see them anymore for now… Hose outside is not possible - we have 32 degrees outside now, it is strictly indoor plant(at least until may). It is also very small. I can probably take in to the bath tab and and spray with a sprayer, this is only close thing I can think of.

You gave me some hope! Unfortunately, timing is not good for my tree - I don’t expect any new grows before the spring, it didn’t grow at all since I got it in late October. But few leaves still OK, may be they will help the tree to recover…
@bopcrane, can we talk more about growing conditions? It is my first and only citrus, so I want to make sure I am doing it right. It is growing in root -pruning pot (which doesn’t matter now, as tree is tiny, but probably adds some aeration to the soil ). The soil is mix of large coir pieces, worm castings, perlite and promix with added slow release fertilizer by pot volume. I water when mix feels dry about two inches deep. It is in the room with about 75F day and night(that is condition I can’t fix), on south east window(that doesn’t help much this fall as it is very rainy fall) and shop light for 12 hours a day at 4500K. The pot surrounded(but not submerged) with water on very large pan to add humidity. Am I missing anything?

That actually sounds like a pretty good setup, to be honest.

I think the biggest concerns with containerized citrus are watering habits/aeration of the potting medium, the air and soil temperatures (esp. in winter, of course), and pests - in that order. I’ve noticed most citrus will brush off a pest infestation if healthy enough, but wet soggy roots (or bone dry for a while) will kill them quickly. I like to try and keep my citrus actively growing a little during the winter so I keep them on 16hrs ‘daylight’ a day and my temp ranges are similar to yours in my current indoors setup.

One thing I will mention, If you ever experience an apparent nutrient deficiency on citrus in the winter, it may be a ‘faux deficiency’ as citrus roots are very ineffective at up-taking nutrition at root zone temperatures < ~55f . Another phenomenon related to temperature/light/water balance is winter leaf drop

Regarding soil mixes, I currently use a mix of pine bark fines, a ‘local’ potting mix (Kellog’s raised bed), osmocote, large grade perlite and some coarse sand. It’s sort of the 5-1-1 mix but I still am not sure I will keep using it past when my trees need up-potted next, really depends on the results over the next grow season for me.

some other citrus and general tips,

Supposedly increasing the humidity locally around the tree can help ward off mites etc, apparently they do not like humidity

if you’re ever worried about perched water table in your containers on plants that despise ‘wet feet’ , taking some rope, twine etc ( some kind of wicking material) and placing it in a drainage hole (and partially out of the hole where air can hit the wicking material) will help dry out the problem areas of the container that air might have a hard time getting to.

Thanks a lot!

Hope yours pulls through Galina.
I just bought an Owari Satsuma from Four Winds Growers,when they donated all the proceeds on one day to the relief effort for the people affected by the fires in California.
The plant is the smaller one they offer,about 2 feet high and comes in a tree pot,about 10 inches,which I’ll probably transplant to a larger one next Spring.
I’m going to try 50% Coir-40% Peat-10% Rice Hulls.That is what a major wholesale grower in California uses for all their plants.
The Satsuma is in an indoor structure,with some other tropical and sub tropical plants.It was made from one of those cheap mini greenhouses with a vinyl cover.I added a reflective hood and hung a 450 or 600 watt LED grow lamp.bb


Update on my poor Satsuma. Two processes going in the same time and I feel it is a race. First, positive, some buds started to appear, but development is slooooooooow. They double sized in about 4 weeks, and still very tiny.
Second, negative, there is some necrosis on the end of some branches and I think it is growing.

So, two questions - should I cut dying parts(and if yes, should I cut well into live wood or just trim the end) and will some light nitrogen help the buds to pop up more quickly?

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There are buds growing just below those dead spots, I think they’ll be fine. That happens with my potted citrus, too.


I’m no expert but would cut the dead bits off and spray with dormant oil if the bug problem returns.

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Unfortunately, none of the buds took - toady last piece of green above rootstock become brown. In the same time new bud appeared on rootstock, so it is alive. Should I let it grow and try to graft?
I know nothing about grafting citrus - can it be grafted with scion wood? (Originally it was bud graft). How forgiving the citrus of novice grafter? What time of the year it has to be done( it is indoor plant)? And the last question - where to get scion wood of Satsuma Mandarin?