Individual protective covers (IPCs) have thus far kept citrus trees free of HLB in research plots, according to Susmita Gaire, a presenter at the recent Florida State Horticultural Society annual meeting. Gaire is a graduate student working with University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) researcher Fernando Alferez at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee.
The IPCs have also kept trees free of damage from Asian citrus psyllids, the vector for the devastating disease HLB, said Gaire. Gaire added that although the research offers “promising results,” it’s too early to recommend IPC use to Florida citrus growers.
Despite the lack of an official UF/IFAS recommendation, many IPCs are being used to protect young trees from psyllids and the HLB they spread in citrus groves around Florida.