Subtropical Fruit Crops Research & Education
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Subtropical Fruit Crops Research & Education

Topics in Subtropics Blog

Citrus/Avocado Herbicide Update

With the rains, and in those area where fire took out the competition, weeds are coming back in their glory.  Mustard has painted the hills yellow.  The question comes up, what to do about all that wild growth.  Mechanical control, such as discing or whipping can work great.  Sometimes chemical control is the only answer.  A recent request for an alternative to glyphosate (Round-up) control of marestail (horseweed, Conyza canadensis) which is similar to hairy fleabane (Conyza bonariensis), came to the office from a lemon grower. Glyphosate just wasn't controlling it.  And it's been a problem for a while, even in tank mixes with paraguat and old-line weed killer.  The alternative might be a newer material, such as saflufenacil (Treevix) which has been recently added to the herbicides that can be used on citrus. 

As always before doing "vegetation management" it's best to identify the plant that is the problem

Identify the problem plant (weed)


or if you know what the plant is, go directly to a listing of the weeds

Listing of weeds, their biology and control


Or you can go in reverse order and look at your tree crop and see what herbicides are listed

Listing of herbicides by tree crops, including avocado and citrus




Posted on Monday, May 21, 2018 at 5:18 AM
Tags: avocado (227), citrus (254), fleabane (1), herbicides (12), horseweed (4), marestail (3)

Water and Nutrient Management in Avocado and Citrus

Recent talks by UC's new irrigation engineers can help shed light on irrigation improvements that also apply to plant health and better orchard management. The Pourreza talk has implications for identifying HLB infected citrus trees, as well as trees in general stress. The Spann presentation shows how avocado growers will be able to adjust fertilizer applications to their orchards.  These talks are posted on the California Avocado Society website.


Below are links to our April Seminar presentations
Click on the presentation title and please make sure to either download or save to your computer
"Old and New Smart Agriculture"
Khaled Bali
Irrigation Specialist, Kearney REC
Alireza Pourreza
Assistant Agricultural Mechanization Engineer, UC Davis
Tim Spann, PHD
CAC Research Program Director, 
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2018 at 7:20 AM
Tags: avocado (227), drone (1), irrigation (69), nutrients (18), scheduling (9)

Invasive Shot Hole Borer Gone Global

Natural Resources Advisor, UC Cooperatiove Extension

With a finding in the KwaZulu National Botanical Gardens reported in November 2017, the invasive shot hole borer (ISHB) (polyphagous and Kuroshio borers)/ fusarium dieback pest disease complex is now known to be found on three continents. Native to parts of Asia – polyphagous SHB comes from Vietnam, while Kuroshio SHB is native to Taiwan – the problems has spread to Israel, the US, Mexico, and now South Africa. Since first being discovered, PSHB has been identified in urban areas in parts of the country that are several hundred miles apart – from Durban on the east coast to the large metropolitan area of Johannesburg further north, with the Botanical Garden in-between. Samples from the city of George, in a region on the southern coast known as the Garden Route, are currently being analyzed. South Africans are very concerned about the potential to damage their extensive urban forests and are developing a national surveillance and management plan. KwaZulu National Botanical Garden is part of the International Plant Sentinel Network, where exotic species are grown to provide an early warning system for emerging pests. The US counterpart if the Sentinel Plant Network run by the American Public Gardens Association and the National Plant Diagnostic Network. Finding this pest serves as a case in point on the value of these kinds of international networks in the battle against invasive pests.

Closer to home, there is actually, potentially, maybe some good news from the Tijuana River Valley. This is the valley that has been the hardest hit by the KSHB. In 2015 the natural willow forests were tall and lush and then just a few months later they were devastated - the before-and-after photos of this event have become iconic. John Boland, a researcher working in the Tijuana River Valley reports that in areas that were severely damaged by the pest, the willows are now vigorously recovering. They are growing back from their stumps via long re-sprouts, and this new growth is not showing signs of attack. Surveys in 2017/18 found a 6% median infestation rate, down from a 97% infestation rate observed in 2015/16. The initially observed high infestation rates in the wet forest areas may have been influenced by extremely high sewage pollution into the Tijuana River, and these high infestation rates are unlikely to occur elsewhere. Boland's “soft tree hypothesis” states that willows growing in nutrient enriched waters grow quickly, laying down wood with low density and high water content, i.e., they have ‘soft' wood. This kind of growth promotes beetle infestation, as it's easy to create tunnels, and favorable for the fungal symbiont. Willows growing elsewhere would have ‘hard' wood and suffer fewer beetle attacks. His initial data analysis supports this hypothesis. If true, this would mean that riparian areas with higher quality water could see much less severe infestation. It will be interesting to observe variations in infestation ecology around the region. Damage to avocado groves in California appears to be less severe than initially anticipated – I hope the same is true for natural areas.

Boland, J.M. 2018. The Kuroshio Shot Hole Borer in the Tijuana River Valleyin 2017-18 (Year Three):
Infestation Rates, Forest Recovery, and a New Model. Final Report for US Navy, US Fish and Wildlife Service and Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association. 74 pages.

Photo: A typical resprouting arroyo willow. The original trunk is large, broken and riddled with KSHB holes. At the time of the photo, the four vertical resprouts were growing strongly and had no KSHB holes. (John Boland)

Posted on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 11:18 AM
  • Author: Sabrina Drill

Tented Tibbets Tree

The city of Riverside pitched a white tent over the "Parent Navel" orange tree at the intersection of Arlington and Magnolia avenues last week to protect it from the threat of huanglongbing disease, reported Ryan Hagen the Riverside Press Enterprise.

“The Parent Navel is an iconic symbol of Riverside, as it represents the impact the citrus industry had on our economy,” Mayor Rusty Bailey said in a press release issued by the City of Riverside. “Riversiders hold this symbol of our citrus heritage very dear, so it is encouraging to see our parks personnel taking a proactive approach.”

The tree was one of two planted by Eliza Tibbets in 1873, when she received the seedless orange cultivars from Florida by mail. Tibbets cared for the trees and sold budwood to nurseries, which led to extensive plantings of nursery trees cloned from hers.

Huanglongbing disease made its appearance in Riverside last year in residential trees. Officials are working to prevent its spread by controlling Asian citrus psyllid, the insect that can move the disease from tree to tree. Meanwhile researchers are searching for a cure.

The Parent Navel's high value led UC Riverside researchers and city officials to construct the large white barrier.

"It's not beautiful," said Georgios Vidalakis, UC Cooperative Extension specialist and director of the citrus clonal protection program at UC Riverside. "It's obstructing the tree from public view, and we apologize for that. But the risk from not doing that is catastrophic."

The Riverside 'Parent Navel' orange tree is covered with a large white tent to protect it from Asian citrus psyllid, an invasive pest that can spread the devastating huanglongbing disease of citrus. (Photo: City of Riverside)
The Riverside 'Parent Navel' orange tree is covered with a large white tent to protect it from Asian citrus psyllid, an invasive pest that can spread the devastating huanglongbing disease of citrus. (Photo: City of Riverside)
Posted on Monday, May 14, 2018 at 9:21 AM
  • Author: Jeanette Warnert
Tags: acp (66), asian citrus psyllid (45), citrus (254), hlb (50), huanglongbing (54), lemon (83), navel orange (1)

Report on HLB Research

The Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF), a $124 million state citrus-industry initiative, has invested nearly 90 percent of its funds in HLB research.  CRDF asked the Academies to review its research portfolio and determine if its efforts have followed recommendations outlined in the Academies' 2010 report, which originally called for the organization's creation.  The committee found that CRDF was responsive to several recommendations from the previous report, and along with other funders, has advanced our knowledge about the disease. However, HLB remains a serious danger to Florida's citrus industry, having progressed from an acute to a chronic disease throughout the state.

The report notes that significant barriers to progress toward an HLB solution still exist, among them the inability to culture the bacteria in the laboratory, the lack of advanced diagnostics for early disease detection, and the absence of standardized research methodology that would improve the comparability of results across studies.  Resolution of any one of these issues would constitute a significant step, according to the report.  

The committee recommended continuing support for both basic and applied research for short- and long-term research efforts.  In the long run, HLB solutions would likely utilize new technology, such as gene modification and gene editing, focusing on targets that mediate molecular interactions among plant, bacteria, and the vector, the committee said.  As interest in using genetic modification in research grows, CRDF should also consider funding research to assess stakeholder acceptance of the technology and expand efforts to educate growers, processors, and consumers to facilitate the eventual deployment of genetically modified citrus lines.

In the meantime, growers in the state will need short-term solutions for the industry to remain viable.  The report recommends finding the best suite of strategies to control the disease in different environmental and growing conditions, vector and pathogen pressures, tree varieties, and stages of tree health, which would help growers in Florida and other states where HLB also occurs.

The report also highlights the need to better understand the economic and sociological factors that impact decision-making and behaviors of growers, which influence the adoption of HLB management strategies. CRDF should create accessible databases to support sociological and economic modeling of citrus greening-related research outcomes and application projections. 

The report recommends researchers communicate about the outcomes and evaluation of their efforts in a timely and systematic way.  Additionally, current approaches to research prioritization and funding based within individual federal and state funding agencies have not led to development of a master plan for HLB research and subsequent management solutions.  CRDF should work with other funding agencies to create an overarching advisory panel to develop a master plan for HLB research, communication, and management. 

The study was sponsored by CRDF. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, technology, and medicine.  The National Academies operate under an 1863 congressional charter to the National Academy of Sciences, signed by President Lincoln.  For more information, visit A roster follows.


To download full report:


Riya V. Anandwala, Media Relations Officer
Andrew Robinson, Media Relations Assistant
Office of News and Public Information
202-334-2138; e-mail

Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at 6:45 AM
Tags: ACP (66), asian citrus psyllid (45), citrus (254), citrus greening (12), hlb (50), huanglongbing (54), lemon (83), mandarin (59), orange (62)

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