Florida’s citrus growers got some help in the fight against citrus greening (HLB) in March of 2016 when the EPA approved the emergency use exemption for bactericides. Through the Section 18 exemption, growers were given access to three different brand name products, Mycoshield, FireLine 17WP and FireWall 50WP, to use against citrus greening.
Bactericides are aimed at improving citrus tree health and stopping the bacteria—HLB—that causes citrus greening. The approved products amount to one formulation of streptomycin and two of oxytetracycline, which are both already approved for use on fruit trees like apples and pears. The lengthy amount of work leading to the exemption was completed by the Citrus Research and Development Center (CREC), in Lake Alfred; it’s a major source of citrus greening research and study.
Now, the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) is asking growers who have used bactericides this growing season to complete a survey. To date, there really are no recommendations for applying bactericides for citrus greening. The survey is an attempt to map uncharted waters to see what is working and what is not. The results of the grower’s survey will be compared to trials that are currently underway, and the results will be released at the Citrus Expo seminar program on August 17–18 at the Lee Civic Center in North Fort Myers.
The citrus bactericide survey can be accessed here. Growers can also get a paper copy to complete and mail in from the June or July 2016 Citrus Industry magazine issues. Completed surveys can be returned to 5700 SW 34th Street, Suite 1307A, Gainesville, FL 32608, or by fax to 888-957-2226. All surveys must be received by the CRDF by August 5th.
The more growers who participate in the survey, the closer the citrus industry will be to determining how effective citrus bactericides are in combating HLB, and the best ways and means for application.