Explore the results of research into the use of reflective mulch in citrus, along with flush-timed sprays, for combating Asian citrus psyllids.

The Florida citrus industry needs to be able to replace old citrus trees with new plantings and have them survive in today’s citrus greening-positive environment long enough to bear fruit. This is difficult as citrus greening and the vector that spreads it, the Asian citrus psyllid (ACPs), are endemic in all parts of the state. UF/IFAS researchers are studying the use of reflective mulch in citrus, along with flush-timed sprays, to help keep new, young trees from becoming infected with citrus greening before reaching maturity, according to a Citrus Industry article. Explore the details below.

Research into Reflective Mulch in Citrus

According to the article, “ACP is a day-flying insect that primarily relies on vision to locate host plants for feeding and egg-laying. The reflection from the mulch interferes with the ACP’s ability to land on the plant and perform its feeding and reproductive activities, which ultimately affects its interactions with the HLB pathogen and plant health.” Three different sites were planted with a 96-inch-wide metalized reflective mulch and various spray models were used.

The research results showed that reflective mulch in citrus reduced ACP populations on young trees. According to the article, “The adult numbers on the plants with mulch compared to those on the bare ground were reduced by 60% in 2020 and 44% in 2021.”

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