One of the overlooked casualties of tropical storms and hurricanes is field research conducted by scientists at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). Research on new varieties, plant treatments and other practices can be upended in a day by a violent storm.
That happened to some of Christopher Vincent’s research. The UF/IFAS assistant professor of environmental physiology saw some of his grove trials disrupted by Hurricane Ian last year. So, he decided to turn lemons into lemonade by shifting the focus of his research to study the after-effects of the hurricane and what mitigation efforts seem to help groves recover.
Vincent joined the September All In For Citrus podcast to discuss this research and what he found in the aftermath of Ian. He said it can take as long as six months for citrus trees to fully decline after being impacted by a hurricane. Vincent noted his research will help growers establish benchmarks of what to expect during future storms. It also will add to existing knowledge on production practices that are most beneficial after tropical systems.
Gillian Zeng Michalczyk, a UF/IFAS master’s student who assisted on the project, joined Vincent in the podcast discussion.
A grower-cooperator, Jake Pendergrass, also participated in the podcast to discuss how Hurricane Ian affected his groves and steps he took to rehabilitate them.
On a positive note, Pendergrass spoke about his experience injecting citrus trees with oxytetracycline (OTC) for the first time this season. He treated about half his family’s grove acreage. Pendergrass reported that treated trees look good and seem to be responding well to OTC. Meanwhile, those trees not treated with OTC continue to decline. That makes him believe OTC is having a positive benefit on HLB-infected citrus.
Listen to the September episode of All In For Citrus. The podcast is a joint partnership between UF/IFAS and AgNet Media.
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