GAINESVILLE — As the critical time for citrus grove management begins this winter, the University of Florida is providing growers regular flower bud advisories. Such alerts provide critical information about the intensity and timing of citrus flowering.
Tripti Vashisth, a UF/IFAS associate professor of horticultural sciences, restarted the advisories Nov. 21 and will continue providing them every other week through the early spring.
Growers use this information to determine when to spray for Asian citrus psyllid control and when to stop using pesticide. This is so pollinating bees can be moved out of a sprayed area.
The psyllid can transmit Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening disease, to citrus trees.
Growers should keep track of induction hours in their area and watch for projected warm periods from the weather services. Normal healthy trees could have their induction boosted by applying some drought stress.
Unfortunately, with HLB making root systems vulnerable, growers shouldn’t risk heavier preharvest fruit drop of the current crop by using water stress to prevent unwanted early vegetative growth and enhance induction of flowers.
Based on weather predictions, growers concerned about early flowering can apply gibberellic acid (GA) to prevent some early flowering. There are many things to consider when using GA. Please see the flower bud website for additional information before using GA.