Explore what the UF/IFAS experts say about protecting citrus tree roots with physical barriers for optimal tree health.

Florida citrus trees are under attack on many fronts, and a major area of focus is citrus tree roots. Tree roots are affected both by the effects of citrus greening and pests like diaprepes root weevil (Diaprepes abbreviatus) or sting nematode (Belonolaimus longicaudatus), according to the UF/IFAS Tip of the Week. The article shares the best recommendations for protecting citrus tree roots using physical barriers. See the details below.

Protecting Citrus Tree Roots

According to the article, both options for protecting citrus tree roots with physical barriers work by interrupting the life cycles of the insects. Individual protective tree covers (IPCs) have been show in trials to keep the vector that transmits citrus greening, the Asian citrus psyllid, from feeding on young trees and infecting them. Similarly, the article maintains that “ongoing trials have shown that they protect growing trees from weevils in heavily infested groves.”

Additionally, the article recommends using landscape fabric around the trees’ roots can also create a barrier that keeps root weevil larvae from reaching the roots. Recommendations include:

  • “Fabric can be installed mechanically or by hand…”
  • The fabric “performs best when coverage extends as far as possible (5 feet or more) on either side of the trunk.”
  • “It is critically important to use a fabric such as Lumite, which allows good water infiltration.”
  • “Long-term savings on costs of herbicides and insecticides help defray the high cost of fabric installation.”

The article also shared that “Ongoing field trials will test whether these healthier trees better tolerate the root damage by sting nematodes and aid the performance of nematicides in the absence of greening.”

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.