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  • Author or Editor: Jude Grosser x
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The primary objective of this experiment was to determine if the selection of rootstock (Citrus and hybrids) could enhance the development of huanglongbing (HLB)-related symptoms associated with the pathogen Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) in sweet orange (Citrus sinensis). If so, then it may permit more rapid identification of HLB-susceptible compared to HLB-resistant scion types. The secondary objective was to assess the impact of different rootstocks on plant growth parameters and health to determine if trees on any rootstocks displayed reduced sensitivity to HLB-influenced growth restriction. ‘Valencia’ sweet orange was budded on each of the following eight genotypes: Carrizo (C. sinensis × Poncirus trifoliata); Cleopatra (C. reshni); Green-7 {a complex allotetraploid from somatic hybrids [C. clementina × (C. paradisi × C. reticulata) + C. grandis] × [(C. aurantium + (C. sinensis × P. trifoliata)]}; UFR-2 (a complex allotetraploid from somatic hybrids {[C. clementina × (C. paradisi × C. reticulata)] + C. grandis} × (C. reticulata + P. trifoliata)); UFR-4 (same pedigree as UFR-2); rough lemon (C. jambhiri); sour orange (C. aurantium); and US-897 (C. reticulata × P. trifoliata). Half of the trees on each rootstock were bud-inoculated with CLas and half were inoculated with the asian citrus psyllid [ACP (Diaphorina citri)], which is the CLas vector. During both experiments, no rootstock conferred significantly greater HLB symptom severity compared to trees on Carrizo; however, trees on several rootstocks had reduced HLB severity compared to those on Carrizo. Regarding the bud-inoculated trees after 3 years, trees on UFR-4 displayed greater overall health than trees on Carrizo, Green-7, sour orange, and US897, and trees on UFR-4 had a higher percentage of plants with leaf cycle threshold (Ct) values >36 compared with trees on Cleopatra and rough lemon (62 vs. 26-29 respectively). Regarding the ACP-inoculated trees after 3 years, trees on UFR-4 had better overall health than trees on Carrizo, rough lemon, and US-897, and trees on sour orange had a higher percentage of plants with leaf Ct values greater than 36 only compared to Cleopatra and US-897. The percentage increase in the trunk diameter per month over the course of each entire experiment was significantly greater for UFR-2 in both trials than all rootstocks except UFR-4. Only root CLas titers were sometimes significantly higher for trees on other rootstocks compared to those on Carrizo. Although no rootstock provided acceleration of HLB symptom development compared with Carrizo, some rootstocks conferred significantly greater health compared to Carrizo. However, it is uncertain whether the modest differences in health and growth observed in these greenhouse trials would translate to economic benefits in the field.

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Completely enclosed screen houses can physically exclude contact between the asian citrus psyllid [ACP (Diaphorina citri)] and young, healthy citrus (Citrus sp.) trees and prevent huanglongbing (HLB) disease development. The current study investigated the use of antipsyllid screen houses on plant growth and physiological parameters of young ‘Ray Ruby’ grapefruit (Citrus ×paradisi) trees. We tested two coverings [enclosed screen house and open-air (control)] and two planting systems (in-ground and container-grown), with four replications arranged in a split-plot experimental design. Trees grown inside screen houses developed larger canopy surface area, canopy surface area water use efficiency (CWUE), leaf area index (LAI) and LAI water use efficiency (LAIWUE) relative to trees grown in open-air plots (P < 0.01). Leaf water transpiration increased and leaf vapor pressure deficit (VPD) decreased in trees grown inside screen houses compared with trees grown in the open-air plots. CWUE was negatively related to leaf VPD (P < 0.01). Monthly leaf nitrogen concentration was consistently greater in container-grown trees in the open-air compared with trees grown in-ground and inside the screen houses. However, trees grown in-ground and inside the screen houses did not experience any severe leaf N deficiencies and were the largest trees, presenting the highest canopy surface area and LAI at the end of the study. The screen houses described here provided a better growing environment for in-ground grapefruit because the protective structures accelerated young tree growth compared with open-air plantings while protecting trees from HLB infection.

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Huanglongbing (HLB) disease is a threat to most citrus (Citrus sp.) producing areas and is associated with the bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus. The disease is transmitted by the vector asian citrus psyllid [ACP (Diaphoria citri)]. Antipsyllid screen houses can potentially reduce and eliminate HLB development in young citrus plantings by excluding the insect vector. These structures are also anticipated to represent a new environmental platform to cultivate high-valued fresh citrus. The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the effect of screen houses on excluding infective ACP from inoculating grapefruit (Citrus ×paradisi) trees and determine changes on environmental conditions caused by the screen cloth. We tested two coverings [enclosed screen house and open-air (control)] and two planting systems (in-ground and container-grown), with four replications arranged in a split-plot experimental design. Psyllid counting and HLB diagnosis were performed monthly, and the antipsyllid screen excluded the HLB vector from the houses. ACP and HLB-positive trees were found only at the open-air plots. Weather monitoring was performed every 30 minutes from 22 Feb. to 31 July 2014. Solar radiation accumulation averaged 6.7 W·m−2·minute−1 inside the screen houses and 8.6 W·m−2·minute−1 in the open-air. Air temperature was greater inside the screen houses whereas wind gusts were higher in the open-air. Reference evapotranspiration accumulation averaged 3.2 mm·day−1 inside the screen houses and 4.2 mm·day−1 in the open-air. There was no difference in cumulative rainfall between screen houses and open-air. The antipsyllid screen houses reduced solar radiation, maximum wind gust, and reference evapotranspiration (ETo). The environmental conditions inside the protective screen houses are suitable for grapefruit production.

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