Citrus growers Travis Murphy and Tom Thayer developed a formulation based on oak leaf extract that was observed to rejuvenate trees back to economic productivity. But the rejuvenation effects observed in the growers’ trials were not observed in field trials using a modified version of the formulation. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) research geneticist Randall Niedz reported that result in a recent Indian River Citrus League (IRCL) newsletter. Niedz wrote that the modifications were made “to accelerate the go-to-market availability of the formulation to growers.”
The USDA has acquired the original oak leaf extract formulation from Murphy and has resumed testing. The USDA trial is being conducted at the Picos Road farm site and includes 122 trees made up of Minneola, Hamlin, Ruby Red grapefruit and Valencia.
The grower formulation was developed following observations that citrus trees under oak trees were free of HLB compared to nearby field trees that had HLB, according to a Citrus Industry article.
The IRCL newsletter also reported that through an initiative by the IRCL, citrus signs along the Florida Turnpike “are getting a sprucing up to make them more visible.” The newsletter provided the following information about the signs and the spruce-up job:
The Florida Department of Citrus has been the agency that has overseen that signage at the Florida Turnpike rest areas in promoting Florida citrus … particularly Indian River grapefruit. The signage has been a fixture for three decades. The signs, 14 in total, were placed before each turnpike plaza with seven south-bound signs reading “Enjoy Florida orange juice” and seven north-bound signs with the messaging of “Enjoy Indian River Grapefruit.”
The new signs will have an updated health message and should be in place by the end of June. The sign updating will cost $50,000 and last at least 10 years.
Source: Indian River Citrus League
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