Citrus Tree Care – Lime paint (1 of 2)

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Saturday 20 June, 2015 by Uncle Spike

Continuing on with the repair and care programme for our citrus trees… this year it’s time to ‘paint’ the trees! Now before you start commenting on how daft that sounds, allow me to explain.

Citrus fruit trees, like many others, can be afflicted with a fair degree of lichen and even moss if too damp, although that’s rare. Mostly it’s the yellow lichen we get here, plus that green/grey dusty sort of mildew. It doesn’t do a heap of damage, but keeping it at bay helps to keep the tree in better general health, and therefore more likely, but not guaranteed, to yield more fruit – which, of course, is the whole point of growing them.

So every two years, I paint the trees with a mixture of white slaked lime, Ca(OH)2), water, and of course, some copper sulphate (CuSO4).

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First of all, I would normally do this in early May, once the rains have stopped, but of course, it’s been a month later this year. I buy 20kg (44lb) bags of sloppy, wet lime as used in construction. There it is used as an additive, in varying amounts, to mortar for stone/brick work, pointing, and of course for sand plastering walls and ceilings. We’ve used a few hundred bags over the years, but just three bags (60kg, 132lbs) will do for this job

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Then I add the copper sulphate – not much, just enough for a slight blue tinge when mixed in, and I then add water to get the right consistency (which is down to luck, depending on the bag having slimy gunge, or very watery lime when opened – you can’t tell beforehand).

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And then starts the painting…. I use a large big fat brush which holds a fair amount of liquid. It’s a messy old process, and by the end of the day, I’m pretty much covered in splatters of lime. Whilst it dries the skin, it does no harm, and stops any crustaceans of course 🙂

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As you can see here, the olive trees also get the same treatment.

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12 thoughts on “Citrus Tree Care – Lime paint (1 of 2)

  1. David Pierce says:

    I have been wondering why people in Turkey painted trees white. But why street trees, such as an ailanthus I saw painted white here in Istanbul the other day? Is it a habit people have brought from the village without thinking about it?

    Like

    • Uncle Spike says:

      Possibly David, but even in cities, trees are afflicted with the same diseases, polus it kpps the sap cool, and if done neatly, can brighten up a dull street 🙂

      Like

      • David Pierce says:

        OK! But when I lived in Ankara, I saw large trees get killed by municipal trimmers who evidently did not know what they were doing. Other trees in Ankara were murdered by deliberate girdling. In the spring, grass that had grown up over the winter (in the few patches where this was possible) would get turned into the soil. Maybe this made sense back in the village, where grass was a weed taking moisture from the crops, but I never understood it in the city. I figured people were continuing a habit without questioning it. Or maybe they just liked the look of bare dirt better than grass!

        Like

  2. ssgt leslie says:

    Now I understand the painting. Does it help?

    Like

  3. Colleen says:

    Very interesting ..science is such a wonderful thing and to top it off you get to paint!! Something I wish I had more time to do paint though painting purely for leisure!

    Like

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