“Everybody’s groves this year are looking a little better,” Jones told Citrus Industry magazine immediately after the seminar. “What I think we need to remember is tree health-wise, the things that we did two or three years ago have affected what the trees look like this year. One thing that concerns me is psyllid populations have increased this year. We’ve done a worse job on psyllid control.” He attributes the increased psyllid populations to much rain falling on the citrus belt this year and the fact that some growers “backed off” of psyllid control.
“I’d like to warn those growers that have backed off a little bit to don’t lose heart,” Jones said. “Keep on pushing forward. We’ve got to control those psyllids … Tree health over time could potentially decrease if we don’t stay on top of those psyllids … Even though your trees look a little bit better this year, and maybe you backed off slightly on psyllid control, remember those effects are not seen right away. It takes two or three years.”
Jones acknowledges that many growers “face that brick-wall budget, so we have to make decisions.” For them, he says, “If you back off something, back off something other than psyllid control.”
The workshop was coordinated by Gulf Citrus Growers Association Executive Vice President Ron Hamel and multi-county citrus Extension agent Mongi Zekri. Other speakers addressed psyllid populations, recommendations for psyllid control, the state’s effort to remove many abandoned groves, and research into creating a psyllid that can’t spread HLB.
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