Whitmore Farm Focuses on HLB Research

Ernie NeffBreeding, HLB Management


More than 20 growers and others attended a tour on Oct. 11 at Whitmore Farm near Groveland in Lake County, Florida. Breeding for HLB tolerance or resistance is the primary goal of research at the farm. “Whitmore Farm was established in the mid-1950s as a foundation farm,” says Brian Scully, who led the tour and discussed research. Scully is director … Read More

Evaluating Roots of HLB-Infected Trees

Ernie NeffHLB Management


Growers attending a recent workshop in Sebring learned how to evaluate the root systems of HLB-infected trees. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher Evan Johnson was the instructor. Johnson said evaluation of root systems is important because “HLB is causing a lot of damage to the root system … It’s important to know how the pests … Read More

Foliar Phosphate for the HLB Fight

Ernie NeffHLB Management


At Citrus Expo in August, Eric Triplett presented research from a variety of sources that shows foliar phosphate fertilization reduces HLB symptoms. Triplett is a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences professor and chair of microbiology and cell science. “If it’s true that we can reduce the symptoms and disease in citrus by foliar phosphate fertilization, the … Read More

HLB Early Detection Methods Available Now; More Coming Soon

Tacy CalliesCalifornia Corner, HLB Management

By Len Wilcox Early detection has become a vital line of defense in the California citrus grower’s war with huanglongbing (HLB) disease. Without careful monitoring, any tree in the grove can become a ticking time bomb that could lead to destruction of the entire orchard. The disease starts unnoticed. Many months can pass before a tree displays any visible evidence … Read More

Methods of pH Management for HLB-Infected Trees

Ernie NeffHLB Management


University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher Tripti Vashisth told growers at a citrus workshop in Sebring on Sept. 25 how to maintain proper soil pH for HLB-infected trees. She said HLB-affected trees seem to perform best when soil pH is 6.0. Vashisth said pH levels need to be adjusted continuously. “Our soils are known to be more … Read More

Bactericides for Psyllids and HLB

Ernie NeffBactericides, HLB Management, Psyllids


Many growers in recent years have used bactericides in an effort to reduce HLB infection in their groves. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher Kirsten Pelz-Stelinski reports on use of bactericides to reduce both the bacteria that causes HLB and the psyllids that spread it. In greenhouse studies, she reports, bactericides appeared to offer “some reduction” … Read More

Citrus Tree Covers Keep Deadly Psyllids Away

Daniel CooperCitrus Greening, HLB Management, Research


University of Florida (UF) scientists are finding that by covering new citrus trees with mesh, they can keep disease-carrying insects from harming the plants. That could be a big step toward stemming the deadly citrus greening disease, UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) researchers say. Asian citrus psyllids can infect the citrus trees with greening, also known as … Read More

Why Citrus Growers Should Keep Spraying for Psyllids

Ernie NeffHLB Management, Psyllids

For several years after HLB was detected in Florida in 2005, most citrus growers and researchers agreed that it was essential to spray aggressively for the Asian citrus psyllids that spread the disease. In recent years, however, many growers have questioned whether it still makes sense to spray for psyllids when 100 percent of groves are infected, as is the … Read More

Fruit Drop and HLB

Tacy CalliesHLB Management

By Tripti Vashisth and Lisa Tang Fruit drop is a natural, physiological phenomenon that occurs in all citrus varieties. However, pre-harvest fruit drop often causes grower distress and concern as it can result in significant yield reduction as well as loss of tree resources into non-harvested fruit. THREE PERIODS OF FRUIT DROP In general, citrus trees bloom profusely in spring, … Read More

Individual Tree Covers for HLB Defense

Ernie NeffHLB Management


University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher Jim Graham shares preliminary results from a new trial aimed at protecting trees from HLB infection at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center. During the first five months of the trial, individual protective covers (IPCs) successfully kept psyllids off young trees and delayed HLB infection. Trees under the covers … Read More

What the New CRDF Leader Learned in Two Weeks

Ernie NeffCRDF, HLB Management

Two weeks into his job as chief operations officer (COO) of the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), Rick Dantzler summarizes what he has heard from growers and his thoughts on helping the industry. Dantzler says he has talked to growers, CRDF board members and industry representatives “to try to get a sense of what they want CRDF to do. … Read More

HLB-Detector Dogs Coming to California

Len WilcoxHLB Management

The use of canines or “sniffer dogs” is again being investigated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for early detection of HLB-infected trees. Through the HLB Multi-Agency Coordination (MAC) program, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has invested millions of dollars in the research and training of detector canines for finding HLB-positive trees. A recent full-day meeting in … Read More

Control of Citrus Flush Timing Could Improve Psyllid Control

Daniel CooperCitrus Greening, HLB Management, Industry News Release, Research

Kaolin Clay

They say timing is everything in life, and that’s certainly true of the Asian citrus psyllid, which has devastated Florida agriculture for the past decade by transmitting citrus greening disease, also known as huanglongbing or HLB. To reproduce, this small, flying insect must lay eggs on citrus “flush” – the tender new leaves and shoots that citrus trees produce several … Read More

Black Discusses HLB Research Meeting

Ernie NeffHLB Management

Larry Black, president of Florida’s Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), attended a recent meeting in Fort Pierce to discuss HLB research prioritization and funding. He joined officials with other agencies that fund HLB, including California’s Citrus Research Board (CRB) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Black says the agencies met “to look at ways we can be more … Read More

‘No Positive Response’ from Bactericides

Ernie NeffBactericides, HLB Management


Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) President Larry Black discusses grower trial results indicating bactericides used for HLB infection did not increase citrus yields. The results were presented by CRDF staff at a recent meeting of the organization. Black says numerous growers who were using bactericides for HLB volunteered to leave sections of their groves untreated. “CRDF staff went out … Read More

Schulz on HLB Research Funding Session

Ernie NeffHLB Management


Gary Schulz, president of the Citrus Research Board in California, discusses a recent meeting of agencies that fund HLB research. Representatives of Florida’s Citrus Research and Development Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture also attended the two-day session in Fort Pierce, Florida. According to Schulz, the National Academy of Sciences within the past year recommended “that funding agencies for … Read More

HLB Alters Nutrition Needs

Ernie NeffHLB Management, Nutrition


Yield and fruit size are not good measurements of the nutrition needs of HLB-affected trees, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) researchers have discovered. “So we decided to go with something that’s fruit independent for the study,” says UF/IFAS scientist Arnold Schumann of the Citrus Research and Education Center at Lake Alfred. Schumann says he and … Read More

New CRDF Leader Discusses HLB Battle

Ernie NeffCRDF, HLB Management


Moments after being chosen on July 24 as the next chief operations officer of the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), Rick Dantzler declared the industry will “whip” HLB. He chose Aug. 15 as his first day of work so he can meet many growers at Citrus Expo. “I wanted my first day on the job to be with citrus … Read More

Update on Premier’s HLB Efforts

Ernie NeffBactericides, HLB Management

Harold Browning with Premier Citrus ApZ updates his company’s efforts to make bactericides more effective against HLB. He says Premier is “trying to move to commercialization as quickly as possible a technology to improve the absorption of materials that would kill HLB bacteria in infected trees.” “One of the challenges we face in trying to get materials into the phloem … Read More

Overcoming Psyllids’ Resistance to Insecticides

Ernie NeffHLB Management, Psyllids


University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher Lukasz Stelinski talks about the insecticide resistance that HLB-spreading psyllids develop and how to manage it. “There is insecticide resistance in Florida for Asian citrus psyllids,” Stelinski says. “It’s a phenomenon that occurs statewide, but in isolated areas.” “We actually have the tools and the knowledge to practice insecticide resistance … Read More