A UF/IFAS Tip of the Week advises to use kaolin clay to combat Asian citrus psyllids and improve citrus tree growth.

Kaolin clay has been found to have a host of benefits for citrus trees. Research has shown that it reduces Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) populations and improve the health of citrus trees, according to a UF/IFAS Tip of the Week. With all the benefits, the article advises Florida citrus growers to use kaolin clay to fight ACP populations and improve tree growth and production. See the details below.

How to Use Kaolin Clay

Kaolin clay thwarts ACPs because it masks the trees’ leaves from the insects’ sight by changing the wavelength of the light the leaves reflect. The clay leaves a film over the leaves, which basically works to camouflage the leaves from the ACPs. Since the leaves covered in the kaolin clay do not register as food for the insects, they do not feed on them. According to the article, “UF/IFAS studies have found greater than 80% reduction of psyllids in kaolin-treated trees relative to insecticide-treated trees.”

Kaolin clay also helps citrus trees to deal with the intense Florida sun. The clay film can reduce leaf temperature by up to 10 degrees and redistribute light into the interior canopy of the tree. Citrus trees lose less water, and more leaves are able to photosynthesize. According to the article, “UF/IFAS studies show that leaves of kaolin-treated trees are not as water stressed as trees without kaolin. The red-dyed kaolin also reduced whole tree water use. The overall result is that trees grow faster and produce more fruit, even after being infected by HLB.”

Tips for the use of kaolin clay include:

  • “Maintain constant coverage with particle films. Uninterrupted coverage helps keep psyllids out of the grove and keeps the trees cool and growing.”
  • “UF/IFAS researchers are still testing what quantities of coverage are needed. But for now, the recommendation is the maximum labeled rate of 50 pounds per acre of Surround WP. If using red dye, the recommendation per acre is 35 pounds of Surround with 88 fluid ounces of red Colorback mulch colorant.”

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.