Greening ranks as top of mind for citrus producers, survey says

04/03/2014 06:50:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

citrus greeningVicky BoydCitrus greening can reduce fruit size. The immature orange on the top came from a tree infected with citrus greening. The one on the bottom is from a healthy tree.More than 9 out of 10 citrus growers attending a recent citrus show said citrus greening and the insect that spreads it are their top concerns.

According to the survey of attendees at the 2014 Citrus Show in Fort Pierce, nearly all of them said the disease-vector complex has prompted them to change their production practices.

The survey, sponsored by DuPont Crop Protection, involved citrus growers, consultants, university researchers and Extension specialists, agricultural retailers and distributors, according to a news release.

In the survey, 56 percent of respondents said grove longevity was the primary goal of protecting tree flushes.

Nutrition—with 33 percent—ranked as the top way to reduce the threat of huanglongbing or HLB, according to the survey.

Another 20 percent said they have changed their crop protection strategies, and an additional 21 percent said they took no steps to reduce the HLB threat.

Nearly two-thirds said they consider adding new rotational partners to their insecticide programs this season.

Other tactics include resetting trees, planting new varieties and root grafting or rootstock management.

Citrus greening, or HLB, is a bacterial disease of citrrus that is harmless to humans and other animals. It is spread by the Asian citrus psyllid.

Once trees are infected, there are no known cures. Trees decline in production and most eventually die.

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