January 2016

Contributed by Drew Pigott, BSEI Field Services Coordinator

I traveled to Florida to meet with large scale producers regarding a disease that could end the Florida citrus industry and the 76,000 jobs it supports. Citrus Greening is the biggest threat facing citrus production not just domestically, but globally. We have all seen pictures of malnourished people but we may have not seen what a malnourished tree looks like.

This is exactly what is happening with trees affected by citrus greening. A psyllid (insect) transmits this bacterial disease which inhibits citrus trees ability to uptake nutrients necessary for survival and the result is almost certain eventual death of the infected host.

A healthy citrus tree on the left and a citrus tree affected by citrus greening on the right.

These citrus producers told us that an average of 30% of all orchards in Florida exhibit signs of citrus greening. They went on to say that this means 50% of the trees in all Florida citrus orchards are likely affected with citrus greening with around 20% of the whole not yet showing signs of infection. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said, after years of decline, there would be an additional 20 percent drop in Florida's orange production this season.

According to NPR’s recent story, How Long Can Florida's Citrus Industry Survive? , “When citrus greening first emerged, researchers and growers pinned their hopes on finding a cure. They began looking for an effective treatment or a new variety of disease-resistant trees. But a cure has proved elusive. So now, the industry has focused on strategies to keep infected trees healthy and productive as long as possible.”

Products containing SumaGrow can help ensure more soil nutrients are available for trees to uptake. Chiefly among these nutrients are the micro nutrients or “heavy metals” which research has shown that with increased tree uptake of these nutrients leads to a healthier tree which in itself can buy the producers more time with their crop trees before beginning again.

While there is no known cure for citrus greening, products containing SumaGrow® may help by increasing affected trees nutrient uptake. Just think of it as vitamins for the tree. Stay tuned for more!

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