See what growers are doing to try to mitigate the damage done by Hurricane Irma.
The Florida citrus industry was hit hard by Hurricane Irma, but citrus growers are not the type to give up without a fight. A Growing Produce article outlined what growers are doing to rehab citrus after the storm. See snippets of the activities to rehab citrus below.
Efforts to Rehab Citrus
Combating Diseases. Jim Snively, Vice President of grove operations for Southern Gardens Citrus, said, ““The first thing was to get water off the trees,” Snively says. “One of the major concerns, particularly on our early-mids, was brown rot, so we immediately applied a copper and phosphite spray to try to minimize the impact of brown rot and Phytophthora. We also injected phosphite in the irrigation to help with root stress and to recover from whatever damage was there. That took us about two and a half to three weeks after the storm.”
Fighting Psyllids. Asian citrus psyllid populations grew due to citrus flush after the storm. Snively added “Because of the flush, the psyllid pressure was a little heavier than we would expect in the fall, but that is mainly because the flush was heavy after the storm. We also put in pretty heavy foliar nutrition with the applications. It had potassium nitrate and minors like magnesium, manganese, iron, and zinc. We also added phosphite in the spray as well to help the root stress.”
Fertilizers. Snively said, “Once we got the water down, we got back to our fall fertilizer applications. We are not backing off our rates. We feel it is more critical now than even before, because we have to build the trees back up more than before the storm.”
Root Health. Evan Johnson, a Research Assistant Scientist of plant pathology with UF/IFAS, said, “The fall root flush has ended, so there is little that can be done currently to protect the roots if you have not already applied Ridomil (mefanoxam, Syngenta) or phosphites. The concern is that a large Phytophthora population may have developed on that flush. If you suspect a problem, you should monitor Phytophthora populations in the spring when soil temperatures rise. If economics allow it, a preventative phosphite application at the end of the spring flush would limit any Phytophthora development until its populations in the grove can be assessed. However, it is important to note that HLB reduces the effectiveness of chemical management of Phytophthora.”
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.