See the pros and cons for using interstocks for HLB management from a UF/IFAS horticulturalist and assistant professor.

UF/IFAS horticulturalist and assistant professor Manjul Dutt gave a presentation at the Florida Citrus Growers’ Institute on the pros and cons concerning using interstocks for HLB management. An interstock is a citrus graft that is used between a tree’s scion and rootstock. The advantages and disadvantages were outlined in a Citrus Industry article. See them below.

Pros of Using Interstocks for HLB Management

According to the article, the pros of using interstocks for HLB management outweighed the cons. Pros include:

  • “Compatibility:Interstocks can be used to bridge the compatibility gap between the rootstock and scion, allowing for the successful grafting of otherwise incompatible combinations.
  • Disease resistance:Interstocks possess resistance or tolerance to specific diseases or pests, providing added protection to the scion. This can contribute to improved overall health and productivity of the tree.
  • Vigor regulation:Interstocks can influence the vigor of the scion, helping to balance the growth of the tree. This can be particularly useful in managing vigorous scions or rootstocks, leading to better tree structure and more manageable growth.”

Cons of Using Interstocks

  • “Increased cost:Introducing an interstock adds to the overall cost of tree production due to the additional materials, labor and expertise required for grafting.
  • Potential for unintended effects:Introducing a new element into the grafting process introduces the potential for unintended consequences such as changes in tree growth habits, fruit characteristics or susceptibility to certain stresses. These effects may not become apparent until after several years of tree growth.
  • Limited availability of suitable interstocks:Finding interstocks that meet the required criteria (like compatibility, disease resistance and vigor regulation) can be challenging.”

The article concluded that “Dutt said the hypothesis behind the use of interstocks is that HLB-tolerant interstocks would allow growers to use the rootstocks they liked prior to HLB becoming a problem.”

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