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The following study was conducted in 2016 and 2017 to determine the impact of frequent foliar copper (Cu) applications on Huanglongbing (HLB)-affected Citrus sinensis cv. Valencia orange. The experiment was conducted in a psyllid-free greenhouse with HLB-positive and non-HLB control trees grown in an Immokalee fine sand soil. The trees were well-maintained to promote health. Cu was applied to the foliage at 0x, 0.5x, 1x, and 2x the commercially recommended rates, which were 0, 46, 92, and 184 mm, respectively, with applications made 3x in both 2016 and 2017. The impact of HLB and Cu treatments on leaf and root Cu concentrations, vegetative growth, Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLasiaticus) genome copy number, and acquisition of other essential nutrients were determined. HLB caused the roots to acidify the soil more than non-HLB controls, which promoted Cu availability and promoted greater Cu concentrations in leaves and roots. HLB and Cu application treatments suppressed leaf area and total root length observable in rhizotron tubes such that, by the end of the experiment, leaf, stem, root, and whole-plant dry weights were reduced. HLB reduced foliar concentrations of calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn) and possibly iron (Fe), but HLB did not affect root concentrations of these same essential nutrients. Cu application treatments did not affect leaf or root concentrations of other essential nutrients except foliar concentration of Fe, which may have been suppressed. Foliar applications of Cu are used to suppress Xanthomonas citri ssp. citri (Xcc) the causal agent of citrus canker, and the frequency of its use may need to be reconsidered in commercial groves.

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Understanding the role of Huanglongbing (HLB) caused by Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus on citrus (Citrus sp.) water use is critical for determining if changes in water management of commercial citrus orchards affected by this disease is necessary. Reference evapotranspiration (ETo) is the most used methodology for irrigation scheduling, particularly in light of reports that indicate the lack of water for irrigation will become a major problem in many places around the world including Florida. The objectives of this study were to determine citrus tree water relationship [water use, sap flow, and stem water potential (Ψ)] as affected by ETo and HLB. The study was initiated on Jan. 2014 on two sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) cultivars included Hamlin and Valencia grown in a fine sandy soil texture (sandy, siliceous, and hyberthermic Arenic Alaquods) in a greenhouse. Twelve weighing lysimeters of each cultivar (six HLB-affected and six nonaffected trees) were used to determine selected water relation parameters. Results indicated a significant reduction in water use, Ψ, and sap flow for affected trees when compared with nonaffected trees. Citrus water use of healthy trees during the 2-year study was 31% and 27% greater than HLB-affected trees for ‘Hamlin’ and ‘Valencia’, respectively. Lower water use of HLB-affected trees resulted in 10% and 15% greater available soil water content than healthy ‘Hamlin’ and ‘Valencia’ trees, respectively. Therefore, reducing the water supply for HLB-affected trees than healthy trees may be a desirable practice that would lead to significant water savings.

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Because of the decline in production and negative economic effects, there is an urgent need for strategies to reduce the impact of Huanglongbing (HLB) on citrus [Citrus ×sinensis (L.) Osbeck]. The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of different irrigation schedules on total available soil water (TAW) and water uptake characteristics of citrus trees affected by HLB in central and southwest Florida. The study was initiated in Jan. 2014 for 2 years on 5-year-old sweet orange trees located in three commercial groves at Arcadia, Avon Park, and Immokalee, FL. Each grove had three irrigation scheduling treatments including the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) recommendations, Daily irrigation, and an Intermediate treatment. All groves received similar volumes of water per week based on evapotranspiration (ETo) reported by the Florida Automated Weather Network. Sap flow (SF) measurements were taken for two trees per treatment for at least 10 days per site (twice/year). During those periods, leaf area, leaf area index (LAI), and stem water potential (Ψ) were determined. Also, TAW was determined using drainage curve and capacitance soil moisture sensors installed at incremental soil depths of 0–15, 15–30, and 30–45 cm. Results showed significant differences in average SF, LAI, Ψ, and TAW measurements among treatments. Diurnal SF value under daily irrigation treatment increased by 91%, 51%, and 105% compared with UF/IFAS irrigation in Arcadia, Avon Park, and Immokalee, respectively. Soil water contents (WCs) under daily treatment increased by 59%, 59%, and 70% compared with UF/IFAS irrigation treatment in Arcadia, Avon Park, and Immokalee, respectively. Our results indicated that daily irrigation improved tree water dynamics compared with IFAS or Intermediate irrigation scheduling treatments and reduced tree stress with the same volume of water.

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