Used successfully in Brazil, it is recommended for Florida growers to try “flipping” psyllid control.
Florida growers are trying everything to beat citrus greening, also known as HLB, and psyllid control is definitely one of the main focuses. The Asian citrus psyllid is the vector that spreads citrus greening from tree to tree, so psyllid control is one way to stop the disease. The director of research and business development with Southern Gardens Citrus maintains that other growers need to “flip” how they are spraying for psyllids, according to a Citrus Industry article. See the details below.
“Flipping” Psyllid Control
According to the article, Mike Irey maintains that growers need to switch, or flip, their focus from young citrus trees to older citrus trees in a presentation he gave at the International Citrus Business Conference in Daytona Beach recently. He explained that growers have been almost exclusively spraying new citrus trees for citrus control, and that the focus needs to be “flipped.”
He shared that psyllids infect trees in one of two ways:
- When psyllids first bring citrus greening into a grove. It usually occurs when psyllids from mature citrus trees fly into a young grove.
- When psyllids are already in the planting and move to neighboring trees.
According to Irey, growers have only been spraying young trees to try to prevent the second type of infection. In short, growers “have been largely ignoring the primary spread, which is coming from the outside” of groves with young trees, and it is resulting in “very high (HLB) infection very quickly in a matter of a couple of years.”
Irey recommends growers focus on spraying mature trees too, and “you can reduce the infection by four-fold or more,” he said in his presentation. “By doing that, you can delay the infection and that gives the opportunity for the trees to grow bigger and stronger and get up to size.”
He maintained that growers in Brazil have been using this method with success. “Not only have they been able to maintain a very low rate of infection, they have actually been able to reduce the rate of infection. So it works.”
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