Explore research that looks at if brassinosteroids can keep citrus trees healthy and free of citrus greening after removing IPCs.

A UF/IFAS researcher held a seminar on individual protective covers (IPCs) at the UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center with a focus on keeping citrus trees healthy after the IPCs are removed, according to a Citrus Industry article. Fernando Alferez, an assistant professor of citrus horticulture, shared how he is conducting research on whether brassinosteroids can help citrus trees stay free of citrus greening after IPCs are removed.

Brassinosteroids and IPCs

In general, IPCs are removed after two years. They keep young citrus trees free of citrus greening by keeping the vectors of citrus greening—Asian citrus psyllids—from reaching the young trees. They also offer further benefits such as improved tree growth, according to the article.

Once the covers are removed, research has shown that approximately 60 percent of trees are infected with citrus greening after six months. Alferez is testing whether brassinosteroids (Br) will be able to help more trees stay free of citrus greening after IPCs are reomoved. According to the article, research has shown Br protects citrus trees not protected by IPCs; Alferez cited a research study where 80 percent of untreated trees became infected after six months while only 25 percent of treated trees became infected in that same timeframe.

Additionally, the research being conducted by Alferez is also looking at whether Br also improves fruit quality and combats the decline in Brix.

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