Winter is citrus season. The supermarkets and fruit shops are full of oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, tangelos, cumquats etc.
But every self respecting gardener in our area has a citrus tree of some sort.
Our neighbours have oranges, limes and grapefruit and next door Gail makes some of the best double cooked marmalade in the state, maybe even the country.
We have three lemon trees just loaded with fruit this year.
There is one problem with our lemons though.
They look a little funny. They are a bit distorted with spiky skins and scabby marks.
This is a result of being infected with citrus scab (Elsinoe fawcettii). This fungus causes the fruit to distort and
grow very thick skins.
It also attacks the leaves and twigs of the trees.
To combat the disease, regular sprays of a copper based fungicide are needed. Our Ag Department says that by neglecting to spray the trees they will eventually stop producing and eventually die, probably after 10-12 years.
But really, the juice and flesh of the fruit are unaffected and it is such a hassle spraying against this disease ie. getting the timings right, I just don't bother. Our trees have been flourishing for 20 years plus!
And surprisingly some fruit is completely unaffected.
Gail says she is too busy to make her marmalade this year (a young son just at school plus a one year old can do that to you) but she has agreed to give the co driver her marmalade recipe plus some oranges so she can have a try.
Will keep you posted on the result.