Engaging and educating the public
The ACP-HLB situation is complex because it involves a tree, an insect, and a pathogen. Homeowners need to understand the impact of HLB on their trees and participate in the management program.
Grafton-Cardwell has pulled together a team to develop large-scale extension activities and aggressive management programs to stave off devastating losses from ACP and HLB in California. The project is funded with a five-year grant from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. Project team members will conduct statewide education of commercial growers and the general public. Free PowerPoint presentations in English and Spanish can be downloaded and presented by farm advisors, Master Gardeners, and state and federal officials at community meetings, garden clubs, and schools. An online webinar, now in development, will enable growers, homeowners, and landscapers to view detailed information on ACP and HLB from their homes and offices. Grafton-Cardwell and Mary Louise Flint, UCCE specialist and associate director of the UC Integrated Pest Management Program, updated an online 3,000-word Pest Note on ACP and HLB, a concise overview of pest identification, disease symptoms, control options, and ways homeowners can help combat the problem. In county Cooperative Extension offices, an ACP-HLB Quick Tip in English or Spanish provides the basics in a bookmark-sized format.
UC gathers details on ACP and HLB hosts
A team of USDA and UC scientists are producing a palm-sized flipbook to give CDFA inspectors ready access to photographs and identifying features of 25 plants that host ACP, and, in many cases, can carry HLB. “ACP are found on the Rutaceae family of plants, which includes citrus and many plants that do not look like they have any relationship to citrus at all,” said Kahn of UC Riverside, the project leader. Each entry in the flipbook contains a color photo of the full-sized plant, plus close-ups of leaves, blossoms, and fruit. Each plant’s characteristics, uses, and risk to California citrus are described. The flipbook will be published by the Citrus Research Board.
Training retail nurseries and Master Gardeners
Matt Daugherty, Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside, will be researching the plant management practices used in retail nurseries and garden centers, such as irrigation frequency, soil type, and pot size. As part of this program, funded with a USDA grant, he will train the nursery industry on best management practices for minimizing the establishment of ACP. Pam Geisel, UCCE academic coordinator for the UC Master Gardener program, is working with Daugherty on a statewide effort to engage UCCE’s 5,500 volunteer Master Gardeners in an ACP-HLB education program. Scientists will train Master Gardeners so they can convey information about the pest and its management to residents they serve. The USDA grant will provide funding to evaluate the educational effort, documenting best management practices for extending information to the public via a vast network of volunteers.
Economic models help with management decisions
As ACP spreads through California, and when HLB becomes established in California, homeowners, growers, and pest control advisers must make tough pest and disease management decisions. Karen Jetter, associate research economist with the UC Agricultural Issues Center in Davis, is developing economic models to estimate the costs of ACP and HLB management in backyard citrus and commercial orchards and linking the information to a geospatial database. The economic models will take into consideration the tree’s age (i.e., its remaining productive life), how ACP management affects other pest management needs, the costs of ACP management programs, and tree removal. “The tool will include all the information necessary for a homeowner, grower, or pest control adviser to determine the most effective and affordable ACP management for his or her situation,” Jetter said.