UF/IFAS scientists are studying the different ways to protect young citrus trees from citrus greening for as long as possible.

A group of UF/IFAS scientists are looking at all the options available to keep young citrus trees from being infected citrus greening for as long as possible, according to a Citrus Industry article. The longer replantings and resets can be kept free of citrus greening, the longer they stay healthy and productive. See the details below.

Protecting Young Citrus Trees From Citrus Greening

Citrus greening was first detected in Florida in 2005, and a nearly 100% infection rate is assumed for all the citrus trees in the state. Once a citrus tree becomes unproductive due to citrus greening, it’s generally replaced. “ Lauren Diepenbrock, an assistant professor of entomology at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) and the research project leader, maintained in the article that, “In Florida and pretty much every citrus-producing area, we’ve been doing a lot of replanting or resets.”

Five UF/IFAS scientists on the team are looking at several insect-management tools that growers have been using to compare their effectiveness in keeping young citrus trees from infection as long as possible. The team is looking at:

  • Individual Protective Covers (IPCs). These are mesh bag covers that are secured over newly planted trees to keep pests like Asian citrus psyllids, the vector that spreads citrus greening, from feeding on and infecting the new citrus trees.
  • Reflective Mulch.
  • Kaolin Clay. This is a powdery white compound that is sprayed over the trees. It provides the trees’ leaves with a rough surface, making it harder for psyllids to grasp and feed upon.
  • Chemical-Based Insect Pest Management.

The goal for the team is to create new recommendations and compile a comprehensive overview of existing tools for growers to look to in order to keep new citrus trees free of citrus greening.

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