A recent UF/IFAS study compared the benefits of kaolin clay to foliar sprays in fighting citrus greening and the Asian citrus psyllid.

Florida citrus growers are looking for any treatment or cure that will help them to deal with citrus greening, also known as HLB. A recent development in the fight against citrus greening has been the use of kaolin clay, and a recent UF/IFAS study shows the benefits of using kaolin clays, according to an article on CitrusIndustry.net. See the details of the study’s findings below.

Benefits of Kaolin Clay in Combating Citrus Greening

There are two different kaolin clays that were used in the study: white kaolin clay and red kaolin clay, the later which is not yet available to growers. Kaolin clay is a natural product, and the red clay has a dye that makes it pink, according to the article. The clay is applied to citrus trees’ leaves in an effort to deter the Asian citrus psyllid, a small insect that is the vector for citrus greening.

The study’s results showed kaolin clays to be more effective then insecticide foliar sprayings at controlling Asian citrus psyllid populations. According to the article, UF/IFAS researcher Christopher Vincent said that kaolin-treated trees “had very low psyllid numbers” when compared with trees treated with foliar sprays and the control group, which were given no treatment whatsoever.

Furthermore, the study also showed that citrus trees treated with kaolin had a slower infection rate. Vincent maintained that “both kaolin treatments delayed (HLB) infection” Those trees treated with kaolin had only a 50% to 60% rate of citrus greening infection, whereas both control group trees and spray treatment trees had an infection rate of 100%. Additionally, kaolin-treated trees had an increased growth rate over foliar spray-treated trees, with a “significantly higher tree height in the red treatment compared to the white one,” Vincent said.

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