Explore the options for measuring citrus tree health, including the best option recommended by a UF/IFAS plant pathologist.

Having a reliable way to gauge citrus tree health is invaluable in being able to assess the overall health of your grove. The December Citrus Field Day saw a presentation by UF/IFAS plant pathologist Amit Levy on the best option for measuring the health of the citrus trees in a grove, according to a Citrus Industry article. Explore the different options below.

Gauging Citrus Tree Health

Levy said “A good evaluation should be correlated to the yield that the trees will produce…” and also maintained that the level of CLas Ct values is not a good measurement of citrus tree health.

Other options for measuring the health of the citrus trees in a grove include:

Determining a tree index rating. This is where a tree is divided into eight segments and each is rated at a score from 0 to 5 that evaluates the disease symptoms. Levy concluded “This method is good, since it evaluates the tree health and not the pathogen levels, but there is an inherent limitation with this method because it’s subjective. Different people will rate symptoms differently, and even the same person can have different evaluations.”

Using a light sensor to evaluate the canopy density of the tree. This measures how much light is getting through a tree’s canopy. “The idea is that if the canopy is denser, less light can go through. We use a light sensor to first measure the light that reaches the canopy from the sun, and then the light under the canopy (that’s the light that went through). We then calculate the percentage of light that was intercepted, or absorbed, by the canopy. More absorption means less light went through, which means the canopy is denser and the tree is healthier,” Levy said in the article.

Levy added that the measurements should come from a cloudless sky with a light meter, though “a more expensive line sensor will produce better results.”

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.