See the takeaways from research concerning water usage in citrus greening-infected trees in a UF/IFAS Tip of the Week.

A recent UF/IFAS Tip of the Week article shared the results from research conducted to learn more about water usage in citrus greening-infected trees. The article shared that “A greenhouse study was conducted from October 2019 to July 2021 at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC) in Lake Alfred to evaluate the growth and development of HLB-affected citrus trees under a deficit irrigation system. The objective was to assess the impact of deficit irrigation on tree growth, water availability, stem water potential (SWP), sap flow and root growth of HLB-affected Valencia orange trees on Kuharske citrange rootstock using an evapotranspiration (ET)-based irrigation schedule.” See the details of the research below.

Water Usage in Citrus Greening-Infected Trees

The article shared “The study hypothesized that HLB-affected citrus trees require less irrigation water to complete their biological functions than healthy citrus trees because of severe fibrous root loss.” The study used 20 potted trees that “were either HLB-positive or non-HLB-affected. One-half of the trees were subjected to deficit irrigation (80% ET) and the other half to full irrigation (100% ET).”

Takeaways from the research concerning water usage in citrus greening-infected trees included:

  • “There was no significant difference in tree height in both years between HLB-affected trees irrigated at 80% ET and 100% ET.”
  • “In general, there was no difference in SWP between the HLB-affected trees subjected to deficit irrigation and full irrigation.”
  • “At 80% and 100% ET, non-HLB trees had greater sap flow than HLB-affected trees.”
  • “Sap flow for the periods of March–April and June–July 2021 was comparable between HLB-affected trees at all irrigation rates. Maximum sap flow occurred between 11 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. for HLB-affected trees.”
  • “HLB-affected trees had an average water use of 1.6 millimeter per day compared to 2.1 millimeters per day for non-HLB trees. Healthy trees used about 20% more water than HLB-affected trees, equivalent to 0.5 millimeters per day.”
  • “Irrigating at 80% ET may be appropriate for achieving water savings in controlled environments for HLB-affected trees without causing water stress.”

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