Ask Your PCA

Ask Your PCA: What’s the best strategy for winter ACP control?

Issue Date: Jan 27 2021
Chris Boisseranc, PCA, Southwest Ag Consulting Inc., Redlands

Asian citrus psyllid, or ACP, is the vector for the bacterium that causes huanglongbing or citrus greening. Several pest districts have formed in California to manage the ACP; they do coordinated applications for the psyllid that include nutrition, frost protection with materials like copper, and a pyrethroid to control ACP. A winter application knocks down the populations and minimizes movement of the disease.

The idea is to get the best knockdown of the pest in one concentric treatment, and an overwintering treatment gives growers the best bang for their buck. This is because ACP doesn't thrive in the cooler weather.

This approach has worked well for the last decade. Oftentimes, the ACP isn't seen until June or July from a treatment in December or early January.

Southern California is inundated with ACP compared to the Central Valley. If the psyllid is found there, there is an immediate attempt to eradicate the pest. However, in the last decade, ACP is getting into Kern County more frequently—but it's still minimal compared to the populations in the urban areas of Southern California.

Controlling the psyllid appears to be slowing the spread of the disease. In more tropical climates, HLB disease thrives and damages citrus groves very rapidly. In the last 10-15 years, Florida has seen more than 70% losses. To date, HLB has not been found in any commercial groves in California.

It's unknown what variables encourage HLB, but something in the tropical climate seems to contribute to a more rapid buildup and decline of the trees.

Even so, California growers should remain vigilant. The best advice is to maintain the status quo: insecticides to keep ACP numbers as low as possible to prevent the disease from moving.

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