Explore the good and bad of individual protective covers, or IPCs, for Florida citrus from a UF/IFAS citrus horticulturist.

The research has shown there’s both good and bad of individual protective covers, or IPCs, when it comes to using them on young citrus. First and foremost, the IPCs are successful in keeping young citrus trees free from citrus greening. This allows citrus trees to grow and establish their roots before having to deal with the stress citrus greening brings. However, there are a host of other advantages—and some disadvantages—that citrus growers who are considering using IPCs should be aware of. These benefits and drawbacks of IPCs were shared at a recent American Society for Horticultural Science webinar by UF/IFAS citrus horticulturist Fernando Alferez, according to a Citrus Industry article. Explore the details below.

Good and Bad of Individual Protective Covers

As stated, IPCs are able to keep Asian citrus psyllids (APCs) from accessing and infecting young citrus trees. According to the article and Alferez, the good news on IPCs are:

  • “IPCs effectively protect newly planted citrus trees against psyllid infestation and avoid HLB infection. No psyllids were found inside IPCs during a 30-month trial.”
  • “IPCs promote young citrus tree growth and favor bloom and fruit set.
  • “Canker incidence is reduced by IPC conditions.”
  • “Fruit quality is greatly improved with IPCs, and more soluble solids are produced by fruit under IPCs.”
  • “IPCs significantly reduced citrus leafminer damage.”

However, there are some negatives to IPCs as well, mainly “other pests and diseases are more prevalent under IPCs.” They include:

  • Greasy spot and sooty mold.
  • “Snow scale is also more prevalent with IPCs but was controlled with insecticide treatment.”
  • Black and purple scales
  • “Fall armyworm infestation was the main problem in IPC trees.”

Another point on the good and bad of individual protective covers is that Alfarez maintained “combining IPCs with brassinosteroids ‘is a very promising strategy to further protect young citrus trees,’” though further research and testing is needed.

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.