Research into using citrus trunk injections of oxytetracycline to fight citrus greening shows both benefits and disadvantages.

Citrus growers were hoping that bactericides like oxytetracycline (OTC) were the answer to citrus greening, but they quickly found that foliar applications were not very effective. Que research into citrus trunk injections to deliver OTC inside the tree’s trunk. UF/IFAS researcher Ute Albrecht shared the details of her research trials and the advantages and disadvantages of trunk injections for citrus in a July virtual seminar, according to a Florida Grower article. See the details below.

The Good and the Bad of Citrus Trunk Injections

According to the article, advantages of citrus trunk injections of oxytetracycline (OTC) include:

  • Increased fruit yield
  • Reduced fruit drop.
  • Improved internal and external fruit quality significantly.
  • “Citrus fruit were larger following the spring OTC injection than after the fall injection.”
  • “OTC residue in fruit decreases dramatically within 30 to 60 days after injection.”
  • “OTC synchronizes flushing and flowering.”
  • “The effect of fruit production remained in year two without any additional injection, although CLas titers increased. This indicates that injections may not need to be performed annually.”

However, there was one major disadvantage with the trunk injections. According to the article, Albrecht maintained “Trunk injections cause injury, and long-term effects need to be evaluated.” Whether or not the disadvantages of trunk injuries—that may need to be performed annually—outweigh the numerous advantages of the injections will require further research.

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