Citrus trees infected with Huanglongbing (HLB) bacteria become weak and develop dieback, resulting in lost production. These trees eventually decline to a production level that is not economical to maintain in a citrus operation. Sixteen-year-old ‘Valencia’ (Citrus sinensis Macf.) orange trees on Swingle citrumelo rootstock [C. paradisi × Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf.], 100% infected with HLB, in decline and losing production, were severely pruned (buckhorned) to stimulate regrowth and the new flush treated with foliar nutritional sprays. Nutritional sprays included the “Boyd cocktail” and two other nutrient treatments that contained phosphites plus nickel and cobalt. Heavily pruned trees and unpruned standard control trees were compared for shoot growth and canopy development.
Citrus greening has devastated the Sunshine State’s orange industry. Researchers and pioneering farmers see cover crops as a road to recovery.
For the last couple of decades, a tiny insect called the Asian citrus psyllid has fed on the stems and leaves of the orange trees in Florida, infecting them with bacteria that cause a lethal disease called citrus greening. The bacterial disease, huanglongbing (HLB), originated in China and has destroyed 90 percent of the state’s groves, devastating its $9 billion citrus industry.
Beneficial microorganisms are becoming increasingly important in the biological control of citrus pests, as a complement to the release of auxiliary insects. Proof of this is the research carried out by Koppert Spain, which aims to confirm the efficacy of an entomopathogenic fungus that could help control Trioza erytreae, one of the insects that transmits huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening. “Koppert’s objective is to develop a biological solution that may be available to producers if the insect that transmits the HLB arrived in Spain,” said Javier Calvo, researching entomologist at Koppert, in the framework of a Citrus Technical Conference held in El Rompido (province of Huelva) and Palma del Río (province of Cordoba).
Orange juice is a staple on many breakfast tables, but the future availability of citrus products is threatened by the global spread of huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening disease.
ORLANDO, Fla., May 2 (UPI) — A new machine being developed in Florida might provide another weapon against the spread of citrus greening disease, which has decimated crops worldwide.
The automated system would help detect and count the tiny pin-sized bugs that carry the disease, also called Huanglongbing or HLB. It would then give farmers a map of where the bugs have shown up in their fields, allowing for targeted precise insecticide spraying.
The device, known as an Automated Psyllid Detection System, is under development at University of Florida’s agricultural research station in Immokalee.
Hein Gerber and Christine Spreeth
First Fruits Consulting
Citrus greening disease takes two forms: Huanglongbing (HLB), the devastating Asiatic strain of citrus greening disease caused by the bacterium Candidatus leberibacter asiaticus and African greening disease, caused by the bacterium Candidatus lebiribacter africanus. Both forms can be spread by infected plant material or by citrus psyllid vectors, namely Diaphorina citri (Asiatic greening) and Trioza erytreae (African greening) (Gottwald et al., 2007). When a vector is carrying the bacteria, it is called a ‘hot vector’ (Jansen, 2019). The psyllid vectors transfer the disease-causing pathogens when they feed on plant sap from citrus leaves (Grafton-Cardwell et al., 2006).