by MIKE ROBERTS
Florida citrus growers routinely spray their citrus groves, targeting the Asian citrus psyllid, a tiny insect that is the vector for citrus greening, also called HLB. It’s a management strategy that is necessary, and, unfortunately, also has a high price tag. However, according to a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) entomologist Lukasz Stelinski as reported in a Citrus Industry article, concentrating efforts at grove borders can cut costs and have a great impact.
“Psyllids are found in borders in much greater frequencies than any other place within the grove. This is a place that they congregate [. . .] Anything that helps protect the border will decrease (psyllid control) costs and have significant impact on psyllid populations,” Stelinski said in the article.
Options for controlling psyllids include spraying with insecticides, use of kaolin clay, and installing living windbreaks at grove borders. The article also cited Stelinski as saying studies have shown “nearly equivalent psyllid population densities with border sprays compared to whole-grove sprays during times of the year when trees were not flushing.”
While border sprays should never be solely used in substitution with whole-grove sprays, Stelinski reinforces the importance that the right timing and tactic of combining border sprays and whole-grove sprays could save on costs as well as result in more effectual use of the necessary insecticides for psyllid control.
Here at Griffin Fertilizer, we understand that growing crops sustainably and responsibly takes a lot of planning, training, and resources—and that includes controlling pests that can be detrimental to our citrus groves. We are a full-service dry and liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection products distributor. If you have questions about how your crop or grove can perform at its best, our team is here to help. You can contact us at 863-635-2281 or visit our website at GriffinFertilizer.com.
This column is sponsored by Griffin Fertilizer Co., and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of CFAN or of its advertisers.
BIO: Mike Roberts is the Vice President of the Frostproof, Fla.-based Griffin Fertilizer Co. Roberts joined the company in November 2011. He has spent the majority of his career in the fertilizer/agchem industry. Roberts earned a Bachelor of Science degree in citrus production from Florida Southern College in Lakeland. For more information, visit griffinfertilizer.com.