Particle films offer a host of benefits for citrus, including helping to defend against Asian citrus psyllids and citrus greening.

Florida citrus growers are looking for any treatment or process that may help in the fights against citrus greening, and particle films could deliver. Recent research conducted by the University of Florida shows that the use of a particle film offers a host of benefit and very few drawbacks for citrus trees, according to a Citrus Industry article. Explore the details below.

What are Particle Films

A particle film is a group of solid particles that are mixed with a water suspension and sprayed onto plants to create a protective coating over the leaves’ surfaces. The purpose of such films is to:

  • manage insect pests
  • reduce sunburn
  • enhance growth

A particle film allows gases to still move in and out of leaves, and the leaves are still able to complete photosynthesis and other important functions, like cooling.

Examples of such films are white kaolin clay, commercially available as Surround WP, and red kaolin, which is not yet commercially available. The only drawback found so far is that the substance needs to be reapplied after heavy rains or a major flush.

Research Details

The research utilized three trial plots, one treated with no foliar insecticides, one treated with foliar insecticides, and one treated with white kaolin or red-dyed kaolin. Both kaolins were found to reduce Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) populations by more than 80 percent in comparison to the insecticide control. The kaolin masks the green color of the leaves that attracts ACPs by reflecting light; red kaolin also reduced ultraviolet and blue light that also attract ACPs, giving red kaolin an edge over white.

Koalin treatments also were found to delay infection in the citrus trees by CLas, the bacteria that is spread by ACPs and causes citrus greening. According to the article, two years into the study saw citrus greening infection rates of nearly 100 percent of trees in trial plots not treated with a kaolin particle film, while those plots treated with kaolin had an infection rate of around 60 percent.

Kaolin treatments in the research trials also showed to increase growth in citrus trees, with white kaolin increasing growth by 20 percent and red kaolin increasing growth by 40 percent. The first year’s results also saw higher yields, and even higher yields are expected in the coming season, according to the article. It is believed that the sun protection and light-reflecting properties of kaolin help both outer leaves and inner leaves to produce more growth.

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.