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Potted Mandarin Tree

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Carol starts with ...
Can anyone tell me:
1) how often one needs to fertilize a potted mandarin tree which is growing in a 1/2 wine barrel??
2)Do I need to alternate feeds with something like a seaweed solution??
3)I continue to battle leaf miner despite pest oil sprays from Bunnings which proved too strong and damaged the foliage. I then tried a homemade solution of water, dishwashing liquid and oil which was a lot kinder to the foliage. However, I STILL do battle with leaf miners.
Any ideas???
4)The foliage has become a little stunted although still a healthy green colour. Is this just lack of feeding? To date have only used dynamic lifter and spray on seaweed solution.
Would appreciate the advice of my internet gardening friends. Thanks so much. Carol
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Carol9
Gold Coast, Qld
1st December 2008 9:40pm
#UserID: 1718
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Scott G says...
You need to spray the new shoots a few times with a pest deterrent to keep the leaf miner to a minimum. I resorted to a spray with pyrethrum (yes I know it is poisonous). I have read that the oil in oily sprays turns to an acid in the sun. This is especially the case here in QLD. My Pomelo dropped a lot of leaves when I applied my home-made spray once. Make a mix with less oil or go for a spray where oil is not the active ingredient.

Many years ago my parents tried to grow a lemon in a half wine barrel without much success. I think the problem was that the wood shrinks so much that it leaves holes all around it. This lets the water out fast. If the soil was too dry then water applied to the top ran to the side and leaked out the cracks. I think lack of water was their biggest problem. With the pot in full sun it needs to be watered very often. Perhaps every day in summer! I think the edges of the pot should be lined with plastic and be sure to have a big layer of mulch.
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Scott G
The Gold Coast
2nd December 2008 6:16am
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Carol says...
Thanks so much for the advice Scott. I'll try the pyrethrum spray and see how that goes. I'ld better keep an eye on wine barrel "shrinkage" too!!! Many thanks and happy gardening!!! Kind regards and merry christmas, Carol
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Carol9
Gold Coast, Qld
4th December 2008 3:22pm
#UserID: 1718
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