Research funded by UF/IFAS shows that oak leaf extract could be used by citrus growers to help combat citrus greening.

Recent research into using oak leaf extract to combat citrus greening arose out of a phenomenon noticed by citrus growers for years, according to a Citrus Industry article: citrus trees growing close to oak trees seem to not suffer the effects of citrus greening infection. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) research molecular biologist, Robert Shatters, presented the findings of the research at a Citrus Research and Development Foundation education session hosted by Florida Citrus Mutual in July. See the details below.

Details of Oak Leaf Extract Research

The UF/IFAS research team treated three symptomatic citrus trees that were “graft-inoculated with 3- to 4-centimeter CLas-positive Valencia bud sticks” with both foliar and drench applied applications of the oak leaf extract twice a week for two months. Three control group trees were treated with distilled water. The research was done at the screened U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory greenhouse in Fort Pierce.

The trees treated with the extract showed a decrease in the presence of the citrus greening bacteria, according to the article, and observations suggest that the extract “significantly increased root nutrient uptake and increased chlorophyll content and plant nutrition.”

Researchers see the extract as a great organic tool for combating citrus greening in the future. Additional research on a larger scale is in order to bring such a promising tool to Florida citrus growers.

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