The use of highly HLB-tolerant genotypes as interstocks on a tree with a Swingle rootstock and a Valencia scion infected with HLB is offering hope for help against HLB, Jude Grosser reports. Grosser is a plant breeder with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred.
“Virtually every one (of trees grafted with HLB-tolerant interstocks) we tested had better tree growth” and less indication of disease infection in greenhouse tests, Grosser says.
An interstock is a graft of a citrus selection which a nursery can let grow out “as a sandwich between the scion and rootstock … right in the middle of the trunk of the tree,” Grosser explains. If use of HLB-tolerant interstocks proves effective against the devastating disease, it could allow growers to use the rootstocks they liked prior to the disease becoming a problem, he says.
The revelations Grosser made about interstocks were part of a presentation he made at the International Citrus Business Conference in March.
Hear more from Grosser:
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