A new Citrus Advisory System created by UF/IFAS researchers aims to help citrus growers to combat postbloom fruit drop.

Florida citrus growers have been enheartened by two decent citrus forecasts so far in the 2018-19 growing season, but postbloom fruit drop is still a concern. Postbloom fruit drop (PFD) could significantly affect Florida’s citrus crop, especially since a rainy El Nino weather pattern is expected this winter. Rain increases the transmission of the fungal spores that cause PFD, according to a US/IFAS blog. However, a new UF/IFAS-developed web tool that will work as a Citrus Advisory System is aimed at helping citrus growers to combat PFD. See the details below.

Postbloom Fruit Drop Citrus Advisory System

The Citrus Advisory System was developed by associate professor Megan Dewdney, professor Natalia Peres, and professor Clyde Fraisse. “The system allows growers to receive forecast alerts to their phones of infections for areas of citrus trees they consider important,” Dewdney is quoted as saying in the UF/IFAS blog.  The tool pulls information and weather data from the UF/IFAS-developed Florida Automated Weather Network (FAWN).

According to the article, PFD can cause 20 percent to 80 percent fruit loss. The system would warn Florida citrus growers that conditions are ripe for PFD development, letting growers know when to treat their citrus trees for PFD.

The article maintains that research continues into a cure or treatment for PFD. “We need to know which fungicides work well together for adequate control. The fungicides prevent the flower petals from becoming infected but cannot prevent the loss of the small fruit of an already infected flower,” Dewdney said in the blog.

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