Two growers expressed different views about the recent decision to deny the use of the pesticide aldicarb in Florida citrus. The denial was made by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). One termed the decision “disappointing.” The other referred to it as a “a blessing.”
“It is disappointing to lose any tool that would strengthen our existing trees in today’s environment,” stated George Hamner, who grows citrus in the Indian River region. “Certainly, (aldicarb) has been controversial, but there have always been strict guidelines for pesticide application, and aldicarb would be no exception. I believe it would have benefited the industry by improving both the health of roots, as well as helping lower the psyllid population, potentially slowing the spread of greening.”
Greening, also known as HLB, is the most harmful disease in the history of the Florida citrus industry. The disease is spread from tree to tree by the Asian citrus psyllid.
“As an organic citrus grower in Orange County, I view the denial of use of aldicarb due to a regulatory misstep as a blessing, not a setback,” stated Chip Henry. “This was bound to happen one way or another given the legacy of aldicarb from its use decades ago in Florida. When attempting to manage HLB, the imperative should be to adopt the mindset that a biological malady has a biological remedy. Cultivating the proper array of microbes in both soil and plant tissue will reduce the populations of pathogens, including the HLB liberibacter, by a natural process called competitive exclusion. Focus on attacking the causal agent inside the plant and building a healthy soil biome, not waging war on the insect vector and incurring the loss of beneficial insects and other organisms in the process.”
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