Disease Prevention and Management for Custard Apple

Custard apples are a delicious and nutritious tropical fruit but can be susceptible to various pests and diseases.

In this article, we’ll explore common pests that attack custard apples and discuss organic pest control methods to help you protect your precious fruit trees.

Potato leaf hoppers on the backside of custard apple leaves
Potato leaf hoppers on the backside of custard apple leaf.

Common Pests That Attack Custard Apple Trees

Several pests can infest custard apple trees, including:

  1. Whiteflies
  2. Scale insects
  3. Mealybugs
  4. Potato leaf hoppers
  5. Annona seed borers
  6. Aphids


Whiteflies are tiny, white-winged insects that can cause damage to custard apple trees by sucking the sap from the leaves.

This sap-sucking weakens the plant and can lead to yellowing leaves, stunted growth, and reduced fruit yield.

Additionally, whiteflies excrete a sticky substance called honeydew, which can promote the growth of sooty mold on the tree.

Custard apple help by Garden Florida Annonaceae fruits
Garden Florida is holding a ‘San pablo’ custard apple (Annona reticulata) fruit.

Scale insects

Scale insects: Scale insects are small, sap-sucking pests that attach themselves to the stems, leaves, and fruit of custard apple trees.

They can cause leaf yellowing, leaf drop, and reduced plant vigor. Heavy infestations can lead to decreased fruit production and even tree death.


Mealybugs: Mealybugs are small, soft-bodied insects that feed on the sap of custard apple trees, causing leaf distortion, yellowing, and premature leaf drop.

They excrete honeydew, which can lead to sooty mold growth and attract ants, further complicating the infestation.

Potato leaf hoppers

Potato leaf hoppers: Potato leaf hoppers are small, greenish-yellow insects that feed on the sap of custard apple tree leaves.

As in this photo, leaves attacked by potato leaf hoppers will appear curled in yellow and distorted.

Their feeding can cause leaf curling, yellowing, and necrosis, ultimately reducing the tree’s overall health and fruit production.

Annona seed borers:

Annona seed borers: Annona seed borers are larvae of certain moths that tunnel into the seeds of custard apple fruits.

This infestation can lead to fruit drop and damage to the seeds, making the fruits unappealing and reducing their market value.


Aphids: Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that feed on the sap of custard apple trees.

They can cause leaf curling, yellowing, distortion, and a reduction in tree vigor and fruit production.

Aphids on custard apple tree with ants
Aphids feeding on soursop leaves with ants.

Like whiteflies and mealybugs, aphids also excrete honeydew, leading to sooty mold growth and attracting ants.

These pests can cause significant damage to your custard apple trees and reduce your fruit yield. Luckily, there are organic pest control methods to help you manage these pesky invaders.

Organic Pest Control Methods


Pyganic is an organic pesticide derived from chrysanthemum flowers. It is effective against various pests, including whiteflies, aphids, and potato leaf hoppers.

Pyganic works by targeting the nervous systems of pests, causing paralysis and death.

PyGanic Gardening 8oz, Botanical Insecticide Pyrethrin Concentrate for Organic Gardening
  • OMRI listed; meets National Organic Program (NOP) requirements
  • Can be used throughout the growing season, on many different garden sizes, up to the day of harvest
  • Created from botanically-derived pyrethrins, making it the ideal insecticide product for your garden
  • Can be used on many different types of plants, including tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and celery
  • Kills more than 200 types of crop-damaging insects, including beetles, mites, roaches, and ants

It is essential to use Pyganic responsibly, as it can harm beneficial insects, such as butterflies and bees. To protect these helpful creatures, spray Pyganic early in the morning before they start flying around.

Remember to follow the label instructions for the proper application rate and safety precautions.

Mixing and Applying Pyganic with a Backpack Sprayer

Using a backpack sprayer to apply organic insecticides like Pyganic is an effective way to treat pests on your custard apple trees.

Follow these steps to mix and apply Pyganic using a backpack sprayer:

Read the label: Before you begin, thoroughly read the Pyganic label to understand the recommended application rate and safety precautions. The label will provide information on how much Pyganic concentrate to mix with water to achieve the desired concentration.

Prepare the backpack sprayer: Make sure your backpack sprayer is clean and free of any residue from previous applications. If necessary, rinse the sprayer with water to ensure it’s clean.

Measure the Pyganic concentrate: Based on the label instructions, measure the required amount of Pyganic concentrate for your specific pest problem and tree size. Use a measuring cup or graduated cylinder for accuracy.

Fill the backpack sprayer: Fill the backpack sprayer halfway with water. Then, slowly pour the measured Pyganic concentrate into the sprayer. This will help to ensure that the concentrate mixes thoroughly with the water.

Mix the solution: After adding the Pyganic concentrate, fill the backpack sprayer with the remaining water. Close the sprayer and gently shake or agitate it to mix the solution evenly.

Put on safety gear: Before applying Pyganic, wear appropriate safety gear, including gloves, goggles, and long sleeves. This will protect you from potential skin irritation or eye contact with the insecticide.

Apply Pyganic: With the backpack sprayer on your back, pump the handle to create pressure in the sprayer. Then, using the spray wand, apply the Pyganic solution evenly to the custard apple tree, focusing on the leaves, branches, and trunk. Be sure to cover both the top and bottom of the leaves, as pests often hide on the underside.

Clean the backpack sprayer: After applying the Pyganic solution, thoroughly rinse the backpack sprayer with water to remove any remaining insecticide. This will prevent cross-contamination and ensure the sprayer is ready for future use.

Remember to apply Pyganic early in the morning before butterflies and bees start flying around, as it can be harmful to beneficial insects.

Additionally, be prepared for consistent applications of Pyganic to effectively control pests, as it is an organic solution.

Neem Oil

Neem oil is another organic option for controlling pests like scale insects, whiteflies, aphids, and mealybugs.

Extracted from the neem tree, this oil works by disrupting the insects’ feeding and reproductive systems, eventually killing them.

Neem Bliss - Pure Neem Oil for Plants - Organic Neem Oil Spray for Plants, 100% Cold Pressed Neem Oil - OMRI Listed Pure Neem Oil - All-Natural Neem Oil Concentrate Leaf Polish for Plants (16 Fl Oz)
  • 🌱【The PUREST Neem Oil on the Market!】- Plantonix Neem Bliss is freshly made from the fruit kernels of the neem plant, without the use of any heat or additives! The cold press process retains essential nutrients, ensuring you always get the best results for your garden, soil, or irrigation system!
  • 🌻【Easy to Use for Many Applications!】- To use for plants, simply mix 1.5 teaspoons of Plantonix Neem Bliss per 1 quart of water. Then, add half a teaspoon of dish soap per 1 quart of water. Spray the diluted Neem Bliss on all leaf surfaces, and then reuse every 2-4 weeks for best results!
  • 🌷【Highly Concentrated and Soluble!】- All Neem Bliss is heavily concentrated and made with zero additives, making it easy to reuse on farms, lawns, and indoor and outdoor gardens! The main active ingredient in Neem Bliss is azadirachtin, allowing it to be highly soluble and ideal for topical applications.
  • 🌸【Safe for Organic Use!】- Our Neem Oil is listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) as a certified organic product! Regular foliar application of Plantonix Neem Bliss will ensure your plants remain healthy from seed to harvest!

Keep in mind that neem oil requires consistent and weekly applications to effectively control pests, as it is an organic solution.

Regular applications ensure that you can manage pest populations and protect your custard apple trees.

Essential Tools for Pest Control

To apply organic pest control methods, you will need the right tools, such as a backpack sprayer or a handheld sprayer.

These tools help you evenly distribute the pesticide on your custard apple trees, ensuring that you cover all the affected areas.

Chapin 60114 4-Gallon Poly Backpack Sprayer with 3-Stage Filtration System for Fertilizers, Herbicides, Weed Killers and Pesticides
  • 4-GALLON POLY TANK: translucent, chemical-resistant tank
  • FILTER CAP: included with 4-inch tank opening to help catch debris when filling
  • FILTRATION SYSTEM: 3-stage is standard on Chapin backpack sprayers – cap, shut-off and pump
  • COMFORT: 20-inch poly extension wand to reach difficult areas, padded shoulder straps with waist strap and poly shut-off
  • NOZZLE: adjustable poly cone for streams or sprays
VIVOSUN 0.4 Gallon Handheld Garden Pump Sprayer, 50 oz Gallon Lawn & Garden Pressure Water Spray Bottle with Adjustable Brass Nozzle, for Plants and Other Cleaning Solutions (1.5L Green)
  • Multi-Functional: VIVOSUN 50-ounce handheld pump sprayer designed for spraying plants, car cleaning & maintenance, pet bathing and more indoor or outdoor cleaning solutions; Especially suitable for indoor use; This product is tested to ensure safety at water temperatures up to 131°F
  • Adjustable Brass Nozzle: From direct jet to fine mist jet, you only need to rotate the front part of the nozzle
  • Translucent Bottle: VIVOSUN pump sprayer is made of translucent material, which allows you to easily check fluid levels; Easy-to-read calibration scale on the side accurately grasps the proportions when blending liquid
  • Durable: The water spray bottle is made of upgrade PP thickened material to improve its durability; Lengthened straws allow more bottom liquid to be sucked up, focusing on capacity while reducing waste; Comfortable pump makes boosting speed faster and basically effortless
  • Quality Assurance: The sprayer’s thickened bottom significantly improves its durability and stability; We promise to solve any problem and answer any question as quickly as we can

Custard apple (Annona reticulata)

Throughout your custard apple tree’s life, you may encounter various challenges and questions. Here are some helpful articles to guide you along the way:

By understanding the pests that can attack your custard apple trees and implementing organic pest control methods, you can help ensure a healthy and bountiful harvest.

Remember to use the right tools and techniques to effectively protect your fruit trees from damage.

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