Landscape Fabric Blocks Diaprepes Larvae

Ernie NeffPests

diaprepes
Diaprepes larva
(Photo by UF/IFAS)

Fabric mulch landscape covers, typically used to block weeds in nurseries, can aid in diaprepes root weevil control, Larry Duncan reported at the recent Citrus Expo. “Some of these products, not all of them, are extremely effective at blocking the diaprepes weevil larvae from getting into the soil” after falling from a citrus tree, Duncan said. Duncan is a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences nematologist at the Citrus Research and Education Center.

Preventing the diaprepes larvae from entering the soil stops the pest’s damage to citrus trees. When larvae get into the soil, they feed on tree roots, causing extensive tree damage.

Duncan reported that his research on the landscape fabric was done more than a decade ago, and field trials showed that it worked. “People picked up on that in California … it’s being recommended in Texas, and growers are starting to employ landscape fabric on a large scale now in Florida,” he said. “So we’ll see just how well this deals with the diaprepes situation.”

The cost of using the landscape fabric is “very expensive … over $1,000 an acre,” Duncan said. “But the landscape fabric increases water-use efficiency by 50%, completely eliminates the need to use herbicides in the tree row, reduces the cost of managing insect pests like diaprepes, and it lasts for a very long time – years. And so there are a lot of other advantages to using something like landscape fabric that should help ameliorate that problem with cost.” A 2020 Citrus Industry magazine article detailed the research that showed the water-use efficiency achieved by using the landscape fabric.   

Earlier this year, Duncan discussed monitoring for root weevils in a Citrus Industry Tip of the Week.

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Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large