what is isd treatment for citrus plants

kandhi(z7VA)February 13, 2010

I recently bought a meyer lemon plant from florida and it has a tag 'ISD Treatment with a date and expiration date of 2/28/10'. The tag also states that it requires retreatment after expiration date. Has anyone come across this and what is it? Do I have to spray the plant with anything else to maintain it indoors?

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If you are growing this in Virginia, you should be fine. I think the treatment would be more of a concern if you were growing this in an area where there were other citrus growing. I can't give you specific information, I did try to google it but couldn't find specific answers.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 10:30PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

ISD means that your plant has been treated with an Imidicloprid Soil Drench, a rather toxic systemic pesticide. I would never use something like that inside. (I wouldn't have brought it home with me, but that's another story...)

ISD treatments are probably relatively routine for mass produced citrus, so you should be glad that yours are labeled. Maybe it's going to become an industry requirement! If I brought something like that home with me, I could easily become quite ill.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 11:05AM
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While it is fairly toxic at the time of application, after the expiration date, there should be very little left in the plant and perhaps almost none in the soil. So I'd not worry about toxicity to you at this point (It was applied at least 12 weeks before the expiration date)

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 1:13PM
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good to know that it is toxic, I have flushed the plant soil by watering several times already assuming that it is no longer toxic. It is indoors in my sunroon with lot of fruits. Seems to doing good with flowers/fruits but now I am wondering whether the fruit is edible or not? Thanks for sharing valuable information. I learn everyday from experts like you

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 3:11PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Is there fruit on the tree now? If so, I certainly would not consider it edible. I wouldn't worry about next season's crop, however.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 9:38PM
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the ISD treatment is as about as toxic as nicotine. A chlorinated analog of nicotine, the compound therefore belongs to the class of neonicotinoid insecticides, and acts on the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor; the chlorination inhibits degradation by acetylcholinesterase. Imidacloprid is notable for its relatively low toxicity to most animals other than insects due to its specificity for this type of receptor, which is found more often in insect nervous systems and zooplankton than that of other animals (exceptions exist, earthworms and a few species of fish, for example)Imidacloprid is rated as "moderately toxic" acutely by the World Health Organization and the United States Environmental Protection Agency� (class II or III, requiring a "Warning" or "Caution" label), and a "potential" ground water contaminant. It is rated as an "unlikely" carcinogen by the EPA (group E), and is not listed for endocrine, reproductive, or developmental toxicity, or as a chemical of special concern by any agencies

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 7:53PM
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Keylay(9 (Orlando, FL))

So the overall message of this is you do not need to retreat? My lemon tree is by itself, and there is an orange grove about quarter of a mile away. But if I treat it, I shouldn't eat the fruits.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2011 at 8:38AM
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Keylay, You will need to use something for psyllid control, or you will have a virtually 100% chance your tree will get citrus greening disease (huanglongbing) and become worthless. Greening-infected trees drop most of their fruit before it is ripe. Fruit that hangs to maturity is asymmetrical, has aborted seeds, is sour, and often has a strange, salty-bitter aftertaste. Psyllid insects spread it from tree to tree, so the only effective way to avoid it is by constant psyllid control. Imidacloprid is among the most effective of materials for doing that, in that it moves through the tree from the roots, so you don't have to worry about hitting every leaf with a spray. Also, compared to other insecticides commonly used for this purpose, it is, as John said above, relatively less toxic. Also, very annoying for rose growers but useful for fruit growers -- flowers and fruits specifically do not take up much of the product, so it's useless, for example, for killing flower thrips; but from a fruit standpoint, that means very little of the product ever gets into the fruit -- far less than in other parts of the plant. So by the time of harvest, the amount in fruit is insignificant. Another problem with imidacloprid is that it doesn't move very high into a tree. So while it's great for protecting young trees, it won't protect a larger tree more than about 6 feet high, so sprays become necessary then.

If it were my tree, I'd treat it at the frequency recommended on the label (in the US, the product we get with it for homeowner use is Bayer Tree and Shrub products) until the tree was 3 years old or so (you'll not get much fruit for the first couple years anyway), and then switch to a sprayed material after that. Watch diligently for psyllids, and if you see one, spray NOW.

Even with the best of control strategies, there is still a high probability that at some point, your tree will come down with greening. It's an unfortunate fact of life in Florida these days. Infected young trees are pretty much worthless. If a tree is large before it catches the disease, you can prolong its useful productivity with the use of sprayed micronutrients, which tend to counteract the effects of the disease. But that approach is not very effective on young trees.

In commercial citrus, we're dealing effectively with the disease, but if I sound rather pessimistic for the back-yard gardener's citrus, I guess I am. It simply requires more diligence and work than most home growers are willing to provide. Still, if you're willing to keep your trees psyllid-free, it can be done and you can grow good citrus.


Malcolm M. Manners, Ph.D.
John and Ruth Tyndall Professor of Citrus Science
Florida Southern College

    Bookmark   December 31, 2011 at 9:49AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


Thank you very much for that wonderful explanation. I learned valuable tips about both the disease and insecticide. I'll hope the disease doesn't spread to TX. Now I know why I can't import young trees.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2011 at 12:01PM
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Prof. Manners.

I live about 40 miles S.W. of Galveston (ground zero for hurricane Ike in '08). After the hurricane, my citrus were regrowing leaves and some were curled in typical fashion of psyllid damage, but I was unaware of the tiny insects at the time. The following spring after being educated of the problem, I found large numbers of them in all citrus, and wild poncirus in my county, and in Harris county (Houston) to the north. That winter was the hardest in twenty years and all traces of them disappeared.

We are still under the citrus ban. We have no psyllids or huanglingbang. Texas citrus officials and the U. S. Ag. are silent on our status.

I have been twice been scared into thinking my trees had the disease, but it has been a new fungal disease each time. What is a practical outlook on HLB reaching the Houston region? We are about 350 miles from Plaqmine Parish, La. We get winds from there in Sept./Oct.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2012 at 5:19AM
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tantanman -- Sorry, I really don't know. Pathologists always say, for any disease, the question is not "if" we'll get it; the question is "when." Rather pessimistic. But it seems to happen. But since you are not very close to large populations of citrus, I'd think it would be much easier to keep it out of your area, or to keep it from spreading. Wile Poncirus would make the problem worse, in serving as an ongoing, uncontrollable source.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2012 at 8:51AM
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kandhi - As of last month, it was still a federal offense to remove a citrus tree from the state of Florida. If you have such a tree, it was most likely purchased from a retail outlet and removed from the state illegally. They are not kidding about this. Other citrus growing regions outside the US that have citrus greening have found commercial production uneconomical. Florida is working hard to find a way to stop the bacterial infection, but there is a great deal of pessimism.

tantanman - The USDA has formulated a protocol for being able to ship trees from nurseries. It involves turning the greenhouse into the equivalent of a hospital operating room.. probably even more so. There is HEPA filtering of makeup air, airlocks,sterilization of tools, mandatory chemical treatment, and more. A number of nurseries have been working on meeting the requirements, but I don't see that any of them has. All of the nursery and mail order operations that I looked at today still state that they will not ship out of the state of Florida. Can we keep it out of the other citrus producing states until there is a solution to infected trees? We can hope. But tourists moving trees around in violation of quarantine can put California, Arizona, and Texas into the list of areas that used to produce citrus fruit... even if the tree originally went to Virginia.

I must admit that I didn't realize how serious a problem greening and canker was before moving to Florida.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 1:58PM
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