See the results of research into using individual protective covers in citrus, or IPCs, to keep young citrus trees from being infected.

Florida citrus growers are looking for options to keep young citrus trees from being infected with citrus greening, and the use of individual protective covers, or IPCs, is one option. Fernando Alferez, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of horticultural sciences at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, has been conducting research in the use of individual protective covers in citrus with good results, according to a UF/IFAS blog. See the results below.

Individual Protective Covers in Citrus Research

According to the blog, Alferez said “Our research has confirmed that the IPCs are effective in keeping the trees free from HLB at least until they start producing fruit. This is important because until now, once the trees were planted, they were exposed to the psyllid, which carries the disease. So, they became infected with greening in a matter of months.”

Takeaways from the research on individual protective covers in citrus include:

  • “Psyllids cannot penetrate the bags (IPCs) under which the trees are growing because the diameter of their openings is smaller than the insects.”
  • “You don’t need to use as much in the way of chemicals to control the psyllid.”
  • Trees can produce better quality and quantity of citrus” when the IPCs are used.
  • Growers using IPCs need to keep “an eye on other pests because the environment inside the bags can be favorable for things like mealybugs and armyworms.”
  • Costing $6 to $8 a bag, the cost to cover a grove will depend on planting density.
  • “Initial data show a significant improvement in Brix – the percentage of sucrose by weight in each citrus fruit — and no fruit drop in these trees.”

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