mandarine orange bark problem

We have a mature tree that during about three months ( we were on vacation) has lost the bark on parts of the tree. It looks like something has eaten the bark away and the tree is dying above the damage. Before cutting the parts off i would like to know what is causuing the problem so I can prevent it elsewhere. I can send a jpg if anyone can help on this urgent problem. Thank you. PS the tree is in Santa Barbara CA.
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motor man wrote:

Even without a picture, I strongly guess that the tree was attacked by brown snails (Helix aspersa). This is a serious problem in the commercial citrus orchards here just south of you in Ventura County. They climb lemon trees and eat the bark, leaves, and fruit. They can kill a tree by girdling the trunk (eating the bark off completely around).
There are several ways to control brown snails. See <http://axp.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/r107500111.html .
I would start with a combination of copper and poison bait. Use copper foil as recommended in the above Web site; I have also heard of using copper mesh. Use the bait through February. Hand pick any snails that are up in the tree; carefully check for small, young snails that might hide in the leaves.
In the spring, feed the tree well to promote new growth. The injuries should heal, but it might take a year or two. Keep checking the copper to ensure it wraps around the tree without cutting into it.
In April, when the bait has not been used for at least 6 weeks, distribute canivorous decollate snails (Rumina decollata). You may have to hand pick the brown snails for a year or two, but the copper should protect your tree.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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David E. Ross wrote:

Sluggo and this keeps the snail population down. I will go out and look at night to see if I can find the beasts. I noticed that there are ants that seem to be eating at the newly removed bark. I will use some kind of physical barrier, tanglefoot? on the trunk and also a copper spray .. hope this does the job. The problem in using the decollata snails seems to be that this means I cannot use sluggo and waiting several years fro the decollatas to become established also is too long. Sluggo seems to be safe and not harmful environmentally but I am open to more comments on this.
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wrote:

Hmm.. I wonder if this is related to what I was seeing earlier in the year on my plum tree.. The slugs on it were really small (perhaps no larger than 1/4 inch -- more like 1/8 inch) and all over the leaves on the entire tree -- eating away at the foliage.. I didn't notice any eating either the bark, branches or the fruit which was never touched.. Is this a related pest perhaps?
If it matters, I'm in Torrance not too far from Ventura or Santa Barbara..
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Rick F. wrote:

Slug-like leaf-eaters on a plum or other stone fruit might be soft scale or the grub of some other insect. Unlike snails, which have shells to keep them from drying out, slugs rarely venture far from the ground.
In your case, you might take an infested leaf to a nearby nursery for them to identify the pest.
--
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Climate: California Mediterranean
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