Jim Snively, vice president of grove operations at Southern Gardens Citrus, discusses his company’s management of HLB and the psyllids that spread it. He summarizes a presentation he made at the International Citrus Business Conference in March.
“By reducing stress, the trees can deal with disease much better,” Snively says. “We’re doing this through continuous-type feeding or frequent feeding with the liquid fertilizer through our irrigation system.” In some groves, the company makes frequent dry fertilizer applications. Another method Snively says many growers use is slow-release fertilizer, which also continuously releases nutrients.
Turning to psyllid control, Snively says, “When we plant a new grove today, we immediately get into our application of neonics (neonicotinoid insecticides). We do it every six weeks. We try to have that first application within 24 to 48 hours after planting. And we do that every six weeks for the first two years.” The company also sprays with other control products weekly to try to keep psyllid populations as low as possible, he says.
“In mature groves and where we may have resets, we will do the neonic applications on resets,” Snively says. “But as far as spray applications, they get the same treatment that the mature trees get, which is, we spray once a month and rotate our chemistry to try to keep down the possibility of resistance.”
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