Posts Tagged: grapefruit
It really has gotten out of hand - Hairy Fleabane and Horseweed which are both Conyza weed species that have run rampant this year because of the extra rain. It's also because they have become resistant to glyphosate herbicide. The problem has shown up all over the US and other parts of the world. Gradually as resistance has grown and their resistant fairy seeds have floated wherever the winds go, the weed is having a field day everywhere in your backyard, in your orchard, in the sidewalk. It's not just abandoned areas, but in actively managed areas where Cal Trans is doing its best.
Citrus growers who have not used preemergents in years or never used them have turned to various cocktails to knock it out.
A good description of the biology and care of Conyza can be found at:
And we along with others have written about this problem in the past -
http://ucanr.edu/blogs/topics/index.cfm tagname=Conyza ,
But this year has been exceptional in the ubiquity of this plant. Something more than glyphosate is called for at this point. Glufosinate is a postemergent herbicide somewhat similar to glyphosate in name only and more expensive. It is a broadspectrum herbicide that is effective with thorough coverage on younger stages of conyza and other weeds. It will take some learning to get the best effect out of it. Citrus growers have been able to use it for several years now and have enjoyed its effectiveness. We are currently working on an IR-4 registration (http://ir4.rutgers.edu/) for avocados.
Mature avocados are pretty good about controlling any weeds in their own orchards through ground shading and self mulching, but conyza has become a problem in young orchards. And this new herbicide could help.
California citrus farmers have their ears perked for all news related to Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) and huanglongbing (HLB) disease, but the very latest advances have been available only in highly technical research journals, often by subscription only.
UC Cooperative Extension scientists are now translating the high science into readable summaries and posting them on a new website called Science for Citrus Health to inform farmers, the media and interested members of the public.
“The future of the California citrus depends on scientists finding a solution to this pest and disease before they destroy the industry,” said Beth Grafton-Cardwell, UC Cooperative Extension citrus entomology specialist. “Our farmers want to stay on top of all the efforts to stop this threat.”
Grafton-Cardwell and UC Cooperative Extension biotechnology specialist Peggy Lemaux are the two scientists behind the new website. When scientists make progress toward their goals, Grafton-Cardwell and Lemaux craft one-page summaries with graphics and pictures to provide readers with the basics.
For example, the website outlines scientific endeavors aimed at stopping the spread of huanglongbing disease by eliminating the psyllid's ability to transfer the bacterial infection. This section is titled NuPsyllid, and contains summaries of three research papers including one by UC Davis plant pathologist Bryce Falk.
Falk is collecting viruses found in Asian citrus psyllid; so far he has identified five. He is looking into the potential to utilize one of the viruses as is or modify one of the viruses to block the psyllid's ability to transmit the bacterium. For example, the virus might out compete the bacterium in the psyllid's body.
Another focus of the website is HLB early detection techniques (EDTs). If HLB-infected trees are found and destroyed before they show symptoms, ACP is less likely to spread the disease to other trees. EDT research described on the website includes efforts to detect subtle changes in the tree that take place soon after infection, such as alterations in the scents that waft from the tree (studied by UC Davis engineer Cristina Davis), changes in the proteins in the tree (studied by UC Davis food scientist Carolyn Slupsky) and starch accumulation in the leaves (studied by UC farm advisor Ali Pourreza).
As more research is published, more one-page descriptions will be added to the website. The website contains a feedback form to comment on the science and the summaries.
Photo: ACP traps
Two more trees infected with huanglongbing (HLB) disease were identified and destroyed in the days before UC Cooperative Extension and the Citrus Research Board kicked off their spring Citrus Growers Education Seminar in Exeter June 27. The new infections raise the total number of HLB-infected trees in Los Angeles and Orange counties to 73.
The latest statistic set the stage for spirited discussions about a looming threat that cut Florida citrus production by 60 percent in 15 years. The devastating citrus losses in Florida were recounted by Ed Stover, a plant breeder with USDA Agricultural Research Service in Fort Pierce.
"One of the benefits of coming here is I am reminded how beautiful citrus is," Stover said. "In Florida, there are more than 130,000 acres of abandoned groves." He showed slides of trees with thin canopies, pale leaves and green fruit; in one image the trees were skeletons among tall weeds.
Huanglongbing disease is an incurable condition spread by Asian citrus psyllid (ACP). The psyllid, native of Pakistan, Afghanistan and other Asian regions, was first detected in California in 2008. Everywhere ACP is found, the pests find and spread HLB.
Stover and his colleagues are searching for citrus cultivars that have natural tolerance for the bacteria that causes HLB, but progress is slow. Transgenic citrus, he said, is the best bet for developing citrus with HLB immunity.
"In my opinion, commercial genetically engineered citrus is inevitable, and GE crop concerns will likely decline with time," he said.
In California, the aggressive push to keep psyllid populations low, regulations to limit the spread of psyllids when trucking the fruit, and active scouting for and removal of HLB infected trees in residential areas could buy time for researchers to find a solution before California suffers the fate of Florida citrus growers.
"Be vigilant," Stover said. "As long as you are still making a good return, there is almost no investment too great if it keeps HLB out of California."
Beth Grafton-Cardwell, UCCE citrus entomology specialist and director of the UC Lindcove Research and Extension Center near Exeter, said the prime research in the San Joaquin Valley is aimed at early detection techniques.
Once a tree is infected, it takes nine months to two years for the bacteria to spread throughout the tree, so that when leaves are selected for testing, they detect the bacteria. Capturing and testing psyllids is one way to to find the disease early. Other early detection techniques focus on the microbes, proteins and aromas produced by sick trees.
"These can be measured with leaf test, a VOC (volatile organic compound) sniffer, swab or even dogs," Grafton-Cardwell said. "Scientists are studying every conceivable way to stop the disease."
In the meantime, growers were encouraged to carefully monitor for and treat psyllid populations in their orchards with pesticides. Pesticide treatment recommendations are available on Grafton-Cardwell's Asian Citrus Psyllid Distribution and Management website, http://ucanr.edu/acp.
"We have lots of challenges," Grafton-Cardwell conceded. "We hate disrupting our beautiful integrated pest management program. But monitor your own groves, apply the most effective treatments and remove suspected (infected) trees. Going through the pain up front will save us in the long run."
The Orange County Master Gardeners have lived up to their name with their website information on citrus. It's a truly impressive information site for not only homeowners, but also growers:
The “Citrus Problem Diagnosis Chart” is especially work perusing:
There's been a lot of avocado and citrus planting going on and this is a good time for a reminder about how to dig a hole. This is by our colleague Jim Downer in Ventura County, Horticulture Advisor and also past president of the International Society of Arboriculture, Western Chapter. In the text, where you see Fraxinus or some other tree name you don't recognize, just slip in avocado or citrus and keep reading. Also, check out the references.
Green side up! Oh, and do not sink the rootball below grade!
I have always been amazed at how the simplest of procedures or practices can go so wrong. For the green industry, the best example of this is planting. The act of putting green in the ground is our business. We do this. The problem is, we often do it wrong, carelessly, or without regard for the outcome—dead trees! A consultant friend often expressed how deep planting and covering the root ball with native fill are the most common mistakes he sees. I have to agree--landscape plants die at the hand of man more than from all the diseases and insects combined. There are various incorrect ways to plant a tree, such as adding too much organic matter to the backfill, installing a dry root ball and then not irrigating after planting, or adding too much fertilizer to the backfill. The practice I want to cover in this article is planting too deeply. The problem continues despite research about planting that recommends correct planting depths.
Planting depth is often ignored when plants are installed in landscapes.
Deep planting can result in death of woody and non-woody or herbaceous plants either because they rot (in moisture-saturated soils) or because they dry out. In either case, the symptoms are similar: wilting, sunscald or burnt leaves (necrotic tissues in the middle of the leaf), lack of growth, leaf drop, and eventually, necrosis of leaves, shoots and branches (all above ground parts). Irrigation usually does not improve symptoms because by the time they are noticed the plant has already been harmed beyond repair.
Root balls placed below grade cause several problems during establishment. Since native soil surrounds the root ball, there is an immediate problem with an interface between the two soil textures. Most container media are “light” to promote drainage characteristics necessary for container culture. When these soil-free media are planted in soil which is of a much finer texture, the resulting interface does not allow water to enter the root ball. Water must completely saturate the surrounding soil before it will cross the interface (Harris et al., 1999). As the plant draws down its container media moisture, the root ball desiccates beyond the permanent wilting point and the plant dies. This process is extreme in plants that are grown in peat-based media because the peat moss can become quite hydrophobic as it dries and then the interface issues are exacerbated. Special care should be taken with citrus and avocados to plant them at or above grade so the media itself is exposed to irrigations.
Acid plants are however, no exception to the above suggestion. Installing the plant at or above grade (if only ½-1 inch) will prevent excessive drying of the root ball due to interface smothering. It is however, very important that the root ball itself is irrigated in the first month of establishment not just the surrounding soil. Newly planted nursery stock does not absorb water from landscape soil, only from its own rootball. Until roots grow into the native soil, the plant must be irrigated to keep its rootball moist. The surface of the rootball can be protected with a coarse wood chip mulch.
Not all installers get planting depths wrong at the start. When the plants are first installed, everything looks good. The problem is sometimes related to the amount of digging used to make the planting hole. If the hole is dug too deep, and soil added back to bring the final grade to level, the plant can slump as water settles it. Digging destroys soil structure, so backfill under the rootball always settles - the plant sinks.Soil will wash in from the sides covering the root ball and sealing it from future irrigations.
Deeply planted woody plants are subject to diseases. The area where the roots of a plant join its main stem is the root collar. This area is very metabolically active and requires oxygen. In some cases, the stem above the root collar is green and photosynthesizes. Acer japonicum the Japanese maple has a clearly demarcated root collar region. Soil goes on the brown part and the green part should remain above ground. When the main stem is buried, the plant is predisposed to attack from canker forming fungi or other plant pathogens that can girdle the stem, killing it and all that grows above it.
It is quite clear from the literature that there is a strong species effect to the tolerance (or lack of tolerance) to deep planting. In a study of red maple and Yoshino cherry, only 50% of cherries survived deep planting, while there were no significant losses of maple to deep planting practices (Wells, et al., 2006). Arnold and others, 2007, found that green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) was more tolerant to below-grade installation than golden rain tree (Koelreuteria bipinnata). In the same paper by Arnold et al., they showed that mulching can make deep planting worse. When trees planted below grade were mulched, mortality levels increased.
If plants survive deep planting, there can be other consequences. Wells and others 2006, showed that red maple (Acer rubrum) had increased numbers of girdling roots the deeper they were planted. When planted 6 inches below grade trees had 48% of their trunk encircled by girdling roots, when planted 12 inches below grade 71% of the trunk was affected.
Not all researchers found that soil over the root ball is detrimental. Gilman and Grabosky, 2004, found that if irrigation is plentiful (over an inch of applied water), trees survived and were less stressed three months later. Although planting depth did not impact growth of Southern live oaks, the study was relatively short term (7 months). I have also found in my own study of landscape shrubs that deep planting of five different genera of shrubs were not affected by planting depths of up to 4 inches below grade. The limitation of these studies is that they are short term. Over longer periods, disease and greater periods of hypoxia during high rainfall seasons may have cumulative detrimental effects not seen in the establishment phase of growth. When studied for three years, Arnold and others (2007), found that planting slightly above grade (3 in) improved growth of oleander and sycamore, while planting slightly below grade (3in) was harmful to all tested plants.
Broschatt, T. 1995. Planting depth affects survival, root growth, nutrient content of transplanted pygmy date palms. HortScience 30:1031-1032.
Arnold, M.A., G.V. McDonald, and D. Bryan. 2005. Planting depth and mulch thickness affect establishment of green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica and Bougainvillea goldenraintree (Koelreuteria bipinnata). J. Arboric. and Urban Forestry 31:163-170.
Arnold, M.A. G.V. McDonald, D.L. Bryan, G.C. Denny, W.T. Watson and L. Lombardini. 2007. Below-grade planting adversely affects survival and growth of tree species from five different families. J. Arboric. and Urban Forestry 33:64-69
Gillman, E. and J. Grabosky. 2004. Mulch and planting depth affect live oak (Quercus virginiana Mill.) establishment. J. Arboric. and Urban Forestry 30:311-317
Harris, R.W., J.R. Clark, and N.P. Matheny. 1999. Arboriculture: Integrated Management of Landscape Trees, Shrubs, and Vines. 3rd ed. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.
MacDonald, J.D., L.R. Costello, J.M. Lichter, and D. Quickert. 2004. Fill soil effects on soil aeration and tree growth. J. Arboriculture 30:19-27.
Wells C., K. Townsend, J. Caldwell, D. Ham, E.T. Smiley and M. Sherwood. 2006. Effects of planting depth on landscape tree survival and girdling root formation. J. Arboriculture and Urban Forestry 32:305-311.