The recent Gulf Citrus Health Management Area Workshop on November 15 in Immokalee, had a particular message for the Florida citrus growers in attendance: don’t back down on citrus psyllid control measures, according to a Citrus Industry Magazine web article. The message was delivered by ardinier Florida Citrus General Manager Lee Jones. His message: “Don’t reduce efforts to control HLB-spreading Asian citrus psyllids.”

Asian Psyllid Control Measures

“Everybody’s groves this year are looking a little better,” Jones was quoted in the article as saying after the seminar. He believes it might give Florida growers the feeling the battle is won, and they’ll relax their psyllid control efforts. Citrus greening, the disease that has caused an immense decline in Florida’s citrus industry, is spread by the Asian citrus psyllid. Controlling the insect is one way citrus growers are using to fight citrus greening, also known as HLB.

“What I think we need to remember is tree health-wise, the things that we did two or three years ago have affected what the trees look like this year,” Jones said. “One thing that concerns me is psyllid populations have increased this year. We’ve done a worse job on psyllid control.” In the article, Jones maintained he believed the increase in psyllid populations was due to the high amount of rainfall in the citrus belt area in 2016 and the likelihood that some growers reduced their psyllid control efforts.

Words on Citrus Control

“I’d like to warn those growers that have backed off a little bit to don’t lose heart,” Jones was quoted as saying. “Keep on pushing forward. We’ve got to control those psyllids … Tree health over time could potentially decrease if we don’t stay on top of those psyllids,” Jones shared. “Even though your trees look a little bit better this year, and maybe you backed off slightly on psyllid control, remember those effects are not seen right away. It takes two or three years.”

Money is definitely a factor for citrus growers, as the cost of grove inputs go up and harvests continue to drop. Jones acknowledges that many growers “face that brick-wall budget, so we have to make decisions.” His advice is, “If you back off something, back off something other than psyllid control.”

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.