Researcher Rhuanito “Johnny” Ferrarezi recently discussed experiments on citrus varieties and citrus under protective screen (CUPS) in the Indian River area. Ferrarezi is a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences assistant professor of citrus horticulture at the Indian River Research and Education Center (IRREC).
One large trial Ferrarezi discussed will be of grapefruit, navel and mandarins on several rootstocks. That trial will be conducted at the IRREC. Those varieties are being researched, he said, “because we are focusing on the fresh industry here at the River. And we do think, for example, navels and mandarins are real options for our growers to stay in the fresh citrus business.” The Indian River area is best known for its grapefruit, which growers have struggled to produce in recent years in the face of HLB.
Ferrarezi also discussed a large grapefruit trial that will be conducted on about 30 blocks totaling 320 acres around the Indian River area. A major aim of that project will be determining tree tolerance to HLB.
The CUPS project that Ferrarezi discussed began in 2012 under the supervision of a former researcher at the IRREC. The project’s objective is to exclude the psyllid that transmits HLB to trees. “The system works pretty effectively because we never have detected any HLB-infected trees inside our enclosure,” Ferrarezi said.
His discussion on research projects is part of the current episode of the All In For Citrus podcast. Listen to the full podcast here.
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