Aphid free lemon ice cubes
Fighting ants all summer and pruning extensively in November seems to have rid the lemon tree of black sooty mold and aphids. Never been responsible for a tree before. Fighting ants has become my life’s mission.
I learned that ants and aphids have a symbiotic relationship, with ants protecting the honeydew excreting aphids from their natural predators. Not wanting to use chemical pesticides on the tree made the job more difficult. Picking off the aphids and brown scale with a stick and hosing down the tree with as much water pressure as my garden hose could muster must have helped. I tried soapy water in a spray bottle but it is a big tree. Finally read about Neem oil which seems to be the best solution to continue with as it kills aphids and is a fungicide as well. Just need to buy a bigger sprayer.
After fighting my natural inclination to reject ugly fruit (supermarket brainwashing) a quick wash of the skin to get rid of spots and black dust was all that was required. Storing a lot of lemons calls for lemon ice cubes for G&Ts which is a lot more fun than fighting ants.