In the latest episode of the All In For Citrus podcast, ways to mitigate damage from Hurricane Ian are discussed by researchers from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). While extensively damaged trees are likely lost, those that experienced less damage can be helped in the recovery process.
Tripti Vashisth, UF/IFAS associate professor of horticultural sciences, has been studying the use of gibberellic acid (GA) to improve the health of trees infected with HLB for several years. She said the plant hormone also has some applications in post-hurricane recovery.
According to Vashisth, there is some observational evidence that trees on a GA program held up to the hurricane better. “We are still assessing and quantifying this, but it does seem the trees (treated with GA) did better (during the storm),” she said. “One possible reason for this is they had more canopy than trees not on a GA program.”
While the storm stripped away leaves, the GA-treated trees had more canopy. In some cases, that helped protect the fruit and helped trees withstand stress better.
Vashisth also provided GA application recommendations citrus growers can use after the storm. She said according to the intensity of the storm in groves, there could be some changes in how GA should be applied. Even trees with moderate damage (50% canopy loss) can benefit from timely GA applications after the storm. Those with more severe damage may not benefit from GA because there is not enough canopy for the product to adhere to.
Hear more about how GA applications can help citrus trees after the stress of a hurricane in the October episode of the All In For Citrus podcast. The podcast is a joint partnership between UF/IFAS and AgNet Media.
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