Lake Wales Grower Discusses Foot Rot and PFD

Ernie NeffDiseases, PFD


frank thullbery shows a trunk of a tree that was infected with foot rot.

Lake Wales citrus grower Frank Thullbery, 88, says groves in his area have suffered badly from foot rot, or phytophthora, in recent years. He has also struggled with postbloom fruit drop (PFD).

“I’ve seen half of the groves gone bad from foot rot, and a lot of people are not replacing their trees when they pull them out,” Thullbery says. “They need to put them (replacement trees, commonly known as resets) in as fast as they can put them in and treat them with fungicide.”

Thullbery adds that PFD has caused him as much trouble as HLB recently. “I bought a new grove, and it rained when we picked the fruit,” he says. “And we got 500 boxes after we had just picked 2,500 boxes.”

The veteran grower chuckles when asked how he deals with PFD. “Right now, I’m always hoping it doesn’t rain during the bloom,” he says. Wet weather during bloom causes PFD. “I’ve been searching for a good product to use,” he adds.

PFD has become a significant problem in recent years throughout Florida’s Citrus Belt when it rains while trees are in bloom. Many growers have lost significant levels of production because of PFD.

Hear more from Thullbery:

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About the Author

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large