Organic Protocols May Hold The Key To Winning The Fight Against Citrus Greening
Research has shown that a healthy tree has far more resistance to pests than a stressed tree. That much we know. But what about Citrus greening?
UF entomologist Michael Rogers is working with industry and the Organic Center to research holistic organic solutions for citrus greening. The Organic Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit research and education organization based in Washington D.C. Their Board of Trustees is made up of a diversified representation of many leaders and educators in the organic industry.
From the OrganicCenter.org:
"Currently, the most common method for controlling citrus greening is by spraying large amounts of synthetic pesticides such as neonicotinoids. These toxic sprays have had only limited success, and have been responsible for large-scale bee die-offs. Other non-organic research has focused on creating GMO varieties of citrus trees resistant to citrus greening."
"Additionally, conventional strategies have not yet proven effective and have contributed to policy decisions that are not compatible with organic management. For example, applications of synthetic pesticides have been mandated as an eradication method in California citrus groves, including certified organic groves, in regions where the psyllid has been detected, but no organic alternatives have been offered as substitutes for these mandatory spray regimes."
There is very little research proving effectiveness of organic alternatives one way or the other. Or providing protocols for the organic farmer to follow.
The Organic Center aims to change this:
"The Organic Center has launched a multi-year research project in collaboration with Ben McLean of Uncle Matt’s Organic and University of Florida entomologist Michael Rogers to find holistic organic solutions to controlling citrus greening organically. This project will determine the efficacy of labeled organic pesticides for controlling the Asian citrus psyllid, develop protocols for organic growers struggling with citrus greening, and examine naturally occurring organic trees resistant to citrus greening that can be bred to create non-GMO citrus greening-resistant varieties of citrus."
Here at Green Pointe Growers we use only organic methods of controlling pests. Though the Asian citrus psyllid has been found in Alachua County, we have yet to see evidence in any of our trees.
Organocide is an organic insecticide, fungicide, & miticide that we use at Green Pointe Growers. Until there are tests of other comparative products and better answers, it is our product of choice for an all-in-one.
There are many predatory insects that attack the Asian citrus psyllid. The ladybug, spiders, hover flies, and lace wings are just a few examples. Using chemical means of controlling pests is harmful to these predatory helpers as well.
We encourage anyone wanting to grow citrus to consider an organic gardening approach. We believe that harmony with nature is the best way to win this war. Nuking the pests with chemicals just stresses the trees that much more, so any pests left behind can have a field day.