Anything new on citrus greening ?

jofus(9b/10a Englewood, Fl)August 25, 2014

Lost my 20 + ft tall Ruby Red grapefruit tree a bit over two years ago. A displaced Yankee, I thought I knew about grapefruits until I tasted my first Ruby Red, right off that very tree. Enjoyed three consecutive bonanza harvests, then the signs the tree was dying showed up in the fall of 2011. A pitiful, ugly, unedible mini harvest, then one year later no fruit and almost no leaves at all, - left me no choice but to cut it down.
The space in my yard is still vacant, but hesitant to pay out $65 for a replacement, plus the labor, without any hopes it won't meet the same fate. Anyone out there have any encouraging info for us Ruby Red lovers ? Is it worth taking a gamble and planting a new tree, or better to wait awhile and hope the scientists will come up with a meaningful breakthrough,..or have they already ?
Miss my meaty, tart delights ! lol

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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake, F

Back in June researchers at UF found a chemical that seems to halt the Greening bacteria in the lab. If they have tried it in real world situations, they have only just started, so it will be some time (years) before we see results. There are some concerns over whether or not the chemical could lead to liver failure or possibly have some other negative effect, like changing the flavor of fruits.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 3:39PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

I lost my citrus to the state grinding them up several years ago
Waited several years to replace and everyone has "greening" Neighbors had the same fate .
Only one I have left is a Mandarin and it's looking bad.
Suppose I should cut it down as I'm probably spreading the disease. I still have Caraombola, Guava , and suriname cherry but sure not the same!!!
think I'm done with citrus . gary

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 5:17AM
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I've heard they are furiously working on the problem but haven't heard about any breakthroughs yet. The only thing you can do is to dutifully maintain the ones you have left, regular fertilization including the minor essential elements. That won't cure it but can prolong it's life. I've heard many growers are trying out other types of fruit but it would be a shame to see the citrus farming disappear in Florida.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 6:12AM
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jofus(9b/10a Englewood, Fl)

Just recently I've had a concerned neighbor, who also lost a grapefruit tree to the disease, say that he is convinced that the growing and harvesting of citrus will never be the same in Florida. Now we will simply buy and plant a healthy tree as before and just hope for the best, which will most likely mean a tree life of about half, or even less, of what it was 30 years ago. Give 'em all the TLC and consider ourselves lucky if we see 6 - 8 good harvests.

So that's what I've decided to do, tired of looking at that bare spot and hoping. Still seems so unreal, but feel I need to do something rather than just waiting. My neighbor & I will soon add two new 6 ft tall Ruby Reds to our blocks' landscape,..all the while keeping our fingers crossed.

Have discovered however that this citrus greening apparently doesn't affect all citrus.. I've still got my 5 1/2 yr old, 9 ft tall key lime tree that is having its best year ever !!! It started dropping yellow delights in early July,..have already made 4 key lime pies and there must be a minimum of 400 fruits still on the bushy, dense tree. YIKES !!( smile )

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 3:07PM
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carolb_w_fl(zone 9/10)

Yes! My mom has a young Key lime that has been bearing loads of fruit - 2 crops/year for the last couple of years.

Funny that a 'specialist' told her that it looked like it had greening just before this happened. We've been feeding w/ the Espoma Citrus Tone fertilizer & it seems to thrive on it.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 2:11PM
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I've noticed that the sour citrus are fairing much better to greening in my yard. My lemon, limes, and calamondin trees look fine. The rest are not so lucky. We had to remove a couple of orange trees and a pummelo tree already, with more to follow.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 10:11AM
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I hope that anyone who has citrus greening will immediately cut the tree down. This is a contagious problem and keeping a tree that has it, and helping it limp along for another year or two, endangers everyone else's citrus. We had it in a White Marsh grapefruit and as soon as we confirmed it, we took it out.

And to the posters who have noticed the sour citrus seems to be shaking it off, I can add our experiences. We have a calamondin, the tiny sour orange that grows true from seed. Even though our grapefruit just ten feet away got citrus greening, and a neighbor's fruit 50 to 60 feet away either got it from ours or gave it to ours, the calamondin survives and thrives.

I've got babies if anyone in Miami wants to come dig them. I do fear, until UF and other researchers can find a remedy for this scourge, sweet citrus is over for backyard gardeners. I'm not willing to do the systemic and repeated pesticide use that has shown only limited effectiveness for commercial growers.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 6:45PM
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Yes there is a cure!. The first step you have to go organic .
The second step you have to go to
Then you have to order some. Organic fertilizer for your trees
Call me and i'll share my secret with you. That will save your citrus trees from dying.
Thank you.
Call Richard Eckstein 239.249.4475
President Free

Here is a link that might be useful: Free Fertilizer Inc.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 8:56AM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake, F

Fertilizing doesn't cure an ailing tree. Yes, it is possible to abate the symptoms some by fertilizing, but all you are really doing is ensuring the survival of Greening host plant. I was organically feeding my mandarin, but I was having to apply more and more to hold back the disease. Then it hit me that whether the method is organic or not, over fertilizing is still over fertilizing and negatively affects the environment. I finally bit the bullet, stopped my regimen and cut the tree down and burned it. Better to destroy the host than helping it limp along and risk infecting others.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 2:23PM
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jofus(9b/10a Englewood, Fl)

Just this afternoon I drove up to a nursery in South Venice to look over their Ruby Red grapefruit trees. The size I was most interested in was the huge 60 gal ones for $250,..magnificent looking trees. Asked the manager " what about citrus greening ? " He seemed surprised I knew of that disease. When I satisfied him I knew all too well, and asked again, he smiled, made a fist, blew on it and made like he was rolling a pair of dice !
With a $150 delivery/planting fee, that makes an expensive gamble in my book. I kinda changed my mind about buying another tree, at this time anyway. Apparently there are some gardeners who are unaware, as they only had 2 of the huge trees left out of 8 delivered a week ago.

This post was edited by jofus on Fri, Sep 5, 14 at 17:35

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 9:08PM
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I am thinking about buying a dwarf ruby red grapefruit, however I am now wondering if it is a good idea. What is grapefruit greening? Is it difficult to grow a dwarf grapefruit in a pot?

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 5:53PM
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We're having to cut down some of our citrus too because of greening, but we're trying to look at the bright side: now we just buy citrus from organic farmers in our area (who are having some success dealing with the greening) and use the space in our garden for other things we love. Florida is still a citrus paradise. It just needs be grown in a grove situation by people with specialized knowledge now. In a way you're lucky, because you like Ruby Reds and they're fairly easy to find. I love the old white Duncans, and they are almost impossible to buy in my area. My dwarf Duncan still looks ok so far though (knock on wood), but my other citrus trees will probably have to go soon.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2014 at 8:13AM
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whgille(FL 9b)

I was looking for fruit trees and I came across this nursery and the info on the rootstocks. I don't know if they sell to the public but for sure looks better than what we have now available. The other day I was gifted a box of oranges and my friend told me that the citrus in the nearby orchards are heavily sprayed.
I would not use a systemic on edibles, I have a calamondin, red lime, Key West lime, Meyer lemon, Buddah's hand and a Darcy tangerine.


Here is a link that might be useful: greening-tolerant-rootstocks

    Bookmark   September 7, 2014 at 4:04PM
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jofus(9b/10a Englewood, Fl)

Just noticed my next door neighbor here in my mobile home park, has a Meyer Lemon tree on her property, ( photo ), just about 45 ft away from where my huge Ruby Red grapefruit tree was. The new location I am tentatively looking at for a 6 ft tall Ruby Red replacement is about 55 ft away from her Meyer Lemon tree.

Never quite noticed her tree, didn't think it had anything to do with the citrus greening disease,. She's a snow bird, - I rarely walk over there and she also has a couple of other small trees in between.

Question now is, will this Meyer Lemon tree be a conductor/source of the dreaded citrus greening, that destroyed my Ruby Red two years ago ? Her Meyer tree looks fine, about 8 ft tall and has a healthy looking crop of baseball sized fruits that taste fine. ( smile )

Another local here told me her tree could be infested with greening but still continue to look OK and put out lemons, unlike my precious Ruby Red.

Curious, I went online and found this :

Unfortunately, 'Meyer' lemon is the "Typhoid Mary" of citrus, having been the source of citrus tristeza virus diseases which have the potential to destroy other citrus trees.

Sounds ominous,..still consider myself a novice regarding citrus trees and am super cautious after the devastating loss I incurred two yrs ago. Just curious if there are any experts out there who can shed some light, a healthy looking, fruit bearing Meyer Lemon tree nearby be a warning sign not to plant a sweet lemon tree anywhere near it ? Thanks !

    Bookmark   September 10, 2014 at 12:14PM
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jofus(9b/10a Englewood, Fl)

Closer look ( hopefully not sideways ), of neighbors Meyer Lemon tree. Tree has been there for 8 + yrs.
Darn, it did come thru sideways,..again ! Sorry.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2014 at 12:20PM
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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake, F

I imagine it is possible resistant plants can still be hosts. Look over her Meyer and look for any yellowing leaves. If any leaves are yellowing in an asymmetrical fashion, it is possible the tree is infected. Yellowing from nutrient deficiency is supposed to be fairly symmetrical, affecting both sides of the leaf in the same way, whereas greening tends to be more mottled. I don't know if this is 100% proof of infection, but it is one of the earliest symptoms.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2014 at 2:12PM
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