The latest UF/IFAS Tip of the Week for citrus growers focuses on combating Florida’s heat with particle film for citrus.

The UF/IFAS Tip of the Week maintains that “Kaolin particle film is a promising grove management technique for pest control and growth enhancement.” Research is underway to determine optimal rate usage in order to improve water use and citrus tree growth. See the details below.

Details on Particle Film for Citrus Research

According to the article, “Citrus leaves are prone to water deficits because they transpire more water than the stems can supply.” Research is being conducted to test different concentration of both white and red kaolin particle films to determine optimal rates to use to best help the trees to conserve water. Takeaways from the research on particle film for citrus—from the article—include:

  • “The rate and color of particle film used should be chosen based on the weather.”
  • “By reducing water consumption, the use of kaolin particle films can also regulate the balance between water uptake through the stem and water loss through transpiration. However, while higher concentrations of kaolin particles significantly reduce water use, they also increase stomatal closure, which negatively affects photosynthesis.”
  • “The lowest concentration of white and red kaolin had higher stomatal conductance, which means that the stomata were more open for photosynthesis.”
  • “At lower concentrations, red-dyed kaolin particle films were more effective than white films in reducing water use, even when both films provided the same level of shading.”
  • “The difference between the white and red kaolin particles is mainly due to the reflectance property of the white kaolin, which allows more light into the canopy, increasing water loss through transpiration. At high temperatures, higher rates of white-colored Surround or using a red dye-kaolin mixture increased stomatal conductance over the course of the day.”
  • “However, at low temperatures, higher rates or the use of red-dyed kaolin reduced stomatal conductance.
  • “During the summer, beginning when temperatures rise with low rainfall, red kaolin particle film, which reduces water use more and has a greater impact on psyllid population, should be employed at a concentration of 17 pounds of Surround per acre.
  • “In spring and fall, white particle films are recommended at a concentration of 12 pounds of Surround per acre.”
  • “It may be best to not apply particle films in the winter.”

Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.