The UF/IFAS Tip of the Week shared information on using the Canopy Assist program to track citrus health and yield data.

Many Florida citrus growers are utilizing treatments like gibberellic acid (GA), oxytetracycline injections, and intense nutrient management programs, and the Canopy Assist program can help growers gauge whether those treatments are having a positive impact on citrus tree health and yields, according to the UF/IFAS Tip of the Week article. The program is offered by the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC), according to the article. See the details below.

Canopy Assist Program Details

Per the article, Canopy Assistis based on the finding that the density of the canopy is correlated with the yields. That is, the higher the tree canopy density, the higher the yield. So, measuring a tree’s canopy density can evaluate the health status of the tree.”

The program includes taking pictures on a smart phone with a selfie stick. The process includes:

  1. “Take four pictures from underneath the tree canopy, with the phone camera facing up to the sky, so it will take a picture of the canopy. The four pictures should be taken from four corners of the tree.”
  2. “Upload the pictures onto a UF/IFAS database.”
  3. “Researchers at UF/IFAS CREC will then analyze the canopy coverage and provide a report. The way they do this is by using ImageJ software threshold function to separate pixels from foreground (canopy) and background (sky), and to find the percent coverage of each photo. This number will determine if the trees are on the healthy side or on the sick side. Additionally, by flagging and reanalyzing the trees throughout the year, growers will be able to know if the treatments they provide are improving tree health or not.”

The program essentially measures an increase (or lack of) in the canopy percentage of the citrus trees as the treatments progress. The article recommended the following for the pictures:

  • “More trees are always better, but at least five trees per block are needed.”
  • “When selecting the trees, either do it randomly or select the trees that represent the block.”
  • “April–May and October–November are the suggested times for this analysis.”

Find the program website here.

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