Curling Leaves on Pomegranates. What is wrong?

We have some unique pests to deal with in Australia. Post your experiences and treatments here for others to learn from.
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Redsonic
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Re: Curling Leaves on Pomegranates. What is wrong?

Post by Redsonic »

Matt S wrote: January 22nd, 2021, 1:25 pm Hi Redsonic,

I know this is an old post but did you ever get a solution for treating the leaf curl? I bought a pomegranate earlier in the year and the leaf curl is quite bad. I have a couple in the ground that have always had the issue but I've never felt the need to treat them, but the one in the pot looks awful.

Matt.
Hi Matt,
Nothing I tried seemed to work. I used a systemic (imidacloprid, I think) and Mavrik plus white oil, but the curl kept coming back and eventually the plant died.
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Re: Curling Leaves on Pomegranates. What is wrong?

Post by Stu »

I posted some weeks ago (26 November) about a very similar looking leaf problem on Melaleuca linariifolia. I have a pomegranate which was also affected but I did not treat it, just cut of the leaves. I didn't know if it was coincidental or not. I would be interested to know how this ends up and if the same pest may be responsible.
Stu
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Re: Curling Leaves on Pomegranates. What is wrong?

Post by Redsonic »

Interesting Stu. I have a couple of linarifolia and they are fine. All I can suggest is you contact your department of biosecurity/primary industries and see if they are interested in investigating. I gather you have ruled out aphids?
Stu's other post is here: viewtopic.php?p=284824#p284824
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Re: Curling Leaves on Pomegranates. What is wrong?

Post by SquatJar »

I've hit my pome with imadacloprid two times, a week apart, so far all new growth is healthy but we will see how long that lasts, I will not keep spraying imadacloprid if it comes back. I'll also implement a dormant spray program with lime sulphur with it and see if it helps for next spring.
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Re: Curling Leaves on Pomegranates. What is wrong?

Post by Stu »

Yeh Red, it is not aphids. I can't see any culprit. I did report it online following your suggestion. Thanks. Hopefully they can provide some info.
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Re: Curling Leaves on Pomegranates. What is wrong?

Post by terryb »

Hopefully I can add a little more to this discussion.
Redsonic wrote: April 17th, 2018, 7:43 pm The plant pathologist had a look, the sample was sent to NSW, more opinions were sought, and finally last week I received confirmation that it is the Pomegranate curl mite (Aceria granati).

I am waiting to hear back from Biosecurity Qld regarding what to do. They haven't yet confirmed if the mite was considered exotic to Aus.

Aceria granati is not is the Australian faunal directory https://biodiversity.org.au/afd/home but seems to be very common given the posts here. It belongs to the family Eriophyidae which are largely plant parasites. If you believe wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eriophyidae, then we probably haven't uncovered the majority of the diversity that exists in this group yet. I can believe that because they are tiny, about 0.3mm long. I had a closer look at my pomegranates that were displaying the distorted leaves with a microscope and I found that these mites at the base of the leaf axils in and around newly developing leaf buds. I didn't see them anywhere else including under the edges of of rolled and distorted leaves. They obviously feed on the young buds which results in leaf distortion. Dispersal appears to be via wind according the references I have seen. If you want to try and find them, they are pink in colour.

Given where they live, I imagine that a systemic miticide would be the only way to get at these mites. This article implies that there are very few treatments available http://hyg.ipm.illinois.edu/pastpest/20 ... the%20body but it is quite old .I'm not sure where they might overwinter in colder climate where poms are deciduous. My plants never fully lose their leaves, so they could remain in the leaf axils full time. However, from memory I think the first emerging leaves were OK and distortion happened later. If I remember I'll have a hunt again in mid winter and see if I can still find them.
Stu wrote: January 22nd, 2021, 9:26 pm I posted some weeks ago (26 November) about a very similar looking leaf problem on Melaleuca linariifolia. I have a pomegranate which was also affected but I did not treat it, just cut of the leaves. I didn't know if it was coincidental or not. I would be interested to know how this ends up and if the same pest may be responsible.
Not saying this is the issue but there are Eriophyid mites that have been found on Melaleuca linariifolia and other natives too. Here is the abstract from a paper published in 2003. Not sure if you will be able to get to the full text or if it is behind a paywall but I have included the link to the journal.

Knihinicki, D.K. and Boczek, J. (2003), Studies on eriophyoid mites (Acari: Eriophyoidea) of Australia: A new genus and seven new species associated with tea trees, Melaleuca spp. (Myrtaceae). Australian Journal of Entomology, 42: 215-232. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1440-6055.2003.00346.
"One new genus and seven new species of eriophyoid mites from Australia are described and illustrated. Scutalophus mallacootensis gen. and sp. n., Calepitrimerus maddoxi sp. n., Aculus campbelli sp. n. and Phyllocoptes ballinensis sp. n. are all free‐living vagrants on Melaleuca alternifolia, an important essential oil crop in which Eriophyes melaleucae (Keifer) severely distorts the new growth. A redescription of E. melaleucae is supplemented with an illustration of the male genitalia. In addition, C. maddoxi sp. n. occurs on Melaleuca linariifolia in association with E. melaleucae. Scutalophus mallacootensis gen. and sp. n. also inhabits Melaleuca armillaris along with Eriophyes armillaris sp. n. Eriophyes quinquenerviae sp. n. forms round, pepper‐shot galls on foliage of Melaleuca quinquenervia and Eriophyes leucadendrae sp. n. builds elongated, ridge‐like galls on leaves of Melaleuca leucadendra"
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Re: Curling Leaves on Pomegranates. What is wrong?

Post by Redsonic »

Thanks for the research and the update, terryb. Very interesting to have mites confirmed in your Pomegranates; it seems likely that they are widespread if this thread is anything to go by. Also interesting re the melaleuca mites. May be a research paper in this for some Australian entomologist somewhere.
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Re: Curling Leaves on Pomegranates. What is wrong?

Post by terryb »

An acarologist I spoke to indicated that no-one in Australia was working on this family of mites but I assume they meant "specialising in the group". There may be students beavering away somewhere.
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