Florida on Cusp of Potential PFD Season

Ernie NeffPFD


Natalia Peres

The timing was perhaps impeccable for a seminar in Arcadia on February 8 that focused on postbloom fruit drop (PFD). Rain had fallen on Central Florida the night before, and some bloom is already on trees. That combination of rain and bloom has led to major PFD outbreaks in recent years.

“There’s some bloom out there already,” says University of Florida researcher Natalia Peres, one of the seminar speakers. “The weather fortunately has been good. We haven’t had a lot of rain so far.” When rains begin, growers need to be ready to spray fungicides to control PFD, she adds.

“The bloom period can last as long as four months … so if we have bloom for three to four months, we need to protect the bloom for three to four months,” Peres says. “It’s not like you have to spray every week those three to four months. But when it rains during that period you have bloom, that’s when you need to spray to protect.”

Peres agrees with Geraldo Silva, a scientist with FundeCitrus in Brazil and speaker at the seminar. He said growers need to spray fungicides for PFD when it rains on consecutive days during the bloom period. “That’s what we had last year and the year before when we had major outbreaks; we did have those consecutive days of rain,” Peres says.

She also agrees with Silva that it is best to apply low-volume sprays while moving at high speed through the grove, so the entire grove can be sprayed in two to three days. “The timing is really important,” she says. “The coverage is really not as important as the timing.”

The Arcadia seminar that drew more than 100 growers and others was hosted by multi-county citrus Extension agent Steve Futch.

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Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large