While sending citrus tissue samples to the lab for analysis remains important, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) has developed a smartphone application (app) that can supplement lab analysis to identify leaf symptoms of key nutrient deficiencies and certain pests and diseases.
Arnold Schumann, a professor of soil and water science with UF/IFAS, demonstrated how the Citrus Diagnosis app works during the Florida Citrus Growers’ Institute held this spring in Avon Park. Leaf symptoms can often be tricky to diagnose. The app is designed to help take some of the guesswork out of the process.
Schumann said the app currently is trained to recognize the deficiency symptoms for iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium and nitrogen. The app also can recognize symptoms for canker, HLB, greasy spot, two-spotted spider mites, thrips, leafminer, scab and phytophthora. Some of those pest symptoms can be confused with nutrient deficiencies.
“Every time you are in the grove, you can use the app and your eyes,” Schumann said. “The app will help you learn to diagnose these symptoms with your own eyes. That is the main objective. Also, when a diagnosis is made by the app, it will link you to the relevant UF/IFAS EDIS papers on the subject.”
The app can be particularly helpful during the spring bloom and fruit set period when citrus tree nutrition demands are the highest. Schumann said if growers get behind the curve during this window, it will impact the yield and quality of the next season’s crop.
Download the Citrus Diagnosis app and get instructions on its use here.
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