A field day on April 30 in the Indian River citrus growing area of Florida demonstrated ongoing work to evaluate the value of applied heat in treating trees affected by Huanglongbing (HLB). More than 175 growers and other interested parties participated in this day-long event organized by the UF, IFAS Citrus Multi-County Extension Agents and sponsored by CRDF.
The event highlighted research that is evaluating use of tree covers to trap solar heat and several methods that are being developed to speed up the process of treating trees by application supplemental heat.The event was hosted by USDA, ARS at their Horticultural Research Laboratory in Ft. Pierce, and included opening presentation overviews and a visit to the ARS research farm to see application methods and to view trees which had previously been treated with heat. The challenge is to provide adequate temperature and duration conditions to reduce the titer of Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus bacteria, the causal agent for HLB, while not causing heat injury to the trees. Following lunch at the ARS Picos Farm, a field visit to a grove site of Edsell Groves near Ft. Pierce allowed participants to see evidence of treatment of young trees with solar thermal therapy and the results of trees which had been treated very recently and as far back as 2-3 years. Designs for the tree covers were discussed and an active discussion occurred between participants and Dave McKenzie, the production manager who has been a strong supporter of thermal therapy. This page highlights the presentations made during the field days, photo galleries from the field visits, and additional information related to thermal therapy and its use in treating HLB-infected trees.
Presentations from April 30, 2014
USDA, ARS Picos Road field site, showing demonstration of steam application to a covered tree and the hydro-thermal equipment to treat tree trunks with a hot water jacket.
Site visit to Bob Edsall groves where tree covers are being used to treat young trees affected by HLB. Photos show thermal “tent” design & various views of treated trees.