Problems With Lime Trees: Getting Rid Of Lime Tree Pests

Lime Tree Leaf Damaged From Pests
lime leaf miner
(Image credit: Gavin Anderson)

Usually you can grow lime trees without much trouble. Lime trees prefer soils that have good drainage. They do not tolerate flooding and you have to make sure the soils are right for them or you could run into problems with lime trees. 

Make sure when you plant lime trees that you plant them on the south side of your home. This helps to take advantage of protection from winds and cold. They prefer full sunshine just as with any citrus fruit tree. Even under the best of circumstances, however, you can run into lime tree problems, like lime tree pests.

Common Pests of a Lime Tree

When is comes to lime tree pests, these are no more than the same pests that bother all citrus fruit trees. Leaf miners, scale, citrus mites, and aphids are the most common pests of a lime tree.

  • Leaf miner - The leaf miner attacks new growth on the lime tree. As far as lime tree pests go, they cause a lot of damage to new developing leaves. They leave trails on the leaves that cause a distortion to the leaf shape as well as stunted growth of the leaf. Insects on lime tree fruit and leaves can cause mining in the fruits and trails on them too.
  • Scale - Citrus scale insects will cause lime tree leaves to fall off. These insects can be removed from the leaves with a sharp knife, your fingernail, or a cotton swab soaked in alcohol. If you find that there are too many of these insects, you can spray the tree with alcohol, or if you want to go a more natural route, use neem oil.
  • Citrus mites - Citrus mites are not damaging in small numbers, but large infestations can cause damage to young lime trees, with leaf stippling and deformed fruit. The leaves of lime trees infested with citrus mites have an etched, silvery appearance or become spotted with yellow necrotic regions. Use a miticide spray or neem oil on all parts of the tree to control these lime tree pests.
  • Aphids - Aphids are also common pests of a lime tree. These insects seldom cause serious damage, but they may cause premature fruit drop and blemished fruit. For small trees, a strong blast of water from a hose will knock the insects from the tree, and insecticidal soaps or neem oil sprays are effective in controlling them.

During the spring, the crop of limes expected is always better because there are not as many lime tree pests. This is because these things do not overwinter well. However, later in the growing season, when another growth spurt is occurring, you could have a devastating attack by insects on lime tree fruit and leaves. This is because these pests flourish in warm weather.

Solving Lime Tree Problems

You shouldn't use chemicals to get rid of lime tree pests. You can, however, try organic approaches like citrus sprays and neem oil. Sometimes these can prevent an infestation of lime tree pests before they get out of hand. 

In some cases, you can just ignore any damage you see because many problems with lime trees won't kill the tree. Further, some pesticides can kill the bugs that help keep these pest populations down. You don't want that. Some insects on lime tree leaves and fruit can be ignored because they won't affect anything except appearance. 

Otherwise, the fruit inside the peel will be perfectly acceptable. If you come to a point where you feel it necessary to spray your lime trees, you should make sure you choose the right spray for your trees and spray at the right time of year or at the right time to kill the common pests of a lime tree you want to kill. Otherwise, it is pointless.