Covers Protect Young Trees from HLB

Ernie NeffHLB Management

Fernando Alferez

Individual protective covers (IPCs) on young trees have prevented HLB infection in one year of study, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) researcher said. Fernando Alferez, citrus horticulturist at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC), announced his promising results at the recent Florida Citrus Show in Fort Pierce.

“They (IPCs) are protecting the trees,” Alferez said in an interview summarizing his presentation. “For new planted trees … this is really promising.”

Anecdotal evidence from the research started in January 2018 also indicates that the IPCs stop raccoons from damaging tree wraps on the trunks below the covers. Raccoons did damage tree wraps on other trees that did not have the covers.

Alferez’s presentation was titled, “SWFREC Mini-CUPS Project Update.” CUPS stands for “citrus under protective screen,” referring to large structures covered with screen to keep HLB-spreading psyllids off of trees. UF/IFAS researchers in Lake Alfred and Fort Pierce have been conducting research on those more costly covers that some growers are using to protect their citrus acreage.

Hear more from Alferez:

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Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large