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Our citrus flowers are starting to bloom this week. A few started earlier, but the large bloom isn’t here yet. We’ll probably see a dramatic increase in the amount of bloom over the next couple of weeks. One problem we need to watch out for is Postbloom Fruit Drop. This is a disease that infects the flowers, then causes fruit drop later in the season. For now, though, the flowers appear healthy and abundant!
One of the symptoms we see in citrus greening disease is the rotting of fruit on the tree. In this example, an orange has died, dried out, and has become infected by what is probably a fungus. This fruit will soon fall from the tree.
Citrus greening disease symptoms are getting more prevalent. Here are several photos of the size of fruits showing up with increasing frequency in the groves. Obviously, these fruits can’t be harvested and sold, and they are much more susceptible to fruit drop than are unaffected fruit.
Last week, we reached a milestone in our Tamarixia release program–200,000 wasps released! Tamarixia is a parasitic wasp species that attacks citrus psyllids, which transmit greening disease. We’re interested in establishing Tamarixia in our area to help cover the declining backyard citrus trees that are difficult to treat for psyllid control by other means. We keep track of our wasp releases using our own iPhone app we developed (Tamarixia Tracker) to GPS and photograph each release.
Today, Drew Dyes from PFS and I are surveying citrus groves in Southwest Florida. This past week, I covered about 500 miles looking at groves around the state. I’ll update this post later with more photos and details, but generally, trees are looking better than they did the last two years on a similar drive.
We participate with the State of Florida in a program to release wasps that attack citrus psyllids, which transmit greening disease. Several months ago, I wrote an app to help us collect and organize the data. Well, this week, I’m happy to announce our wasp app, Tamarixia Tracker, is now in the Cloud! This cuts down on our administration time, and now we can report our wasp data back to the Dundee lab in real-time. Check out the video after the jump to see how it works!
No one likes a good mobile app more than I. I think I have about 200 apps on my iPhone and iPad. Somehow, I seem to use most of them often. This includes apps like SoilWeb, Planimeter and four or five weather apps. However, there are times when I just need to write something down quickly, such as when a call comes in from the grove on something that needs to be acted upon right away. In these cases, I might not have time to whip out the PDA, turn it on, enter the passcode, start an app, get the type screen called up, and start typing away.
In these instances in the past, I’d jot something on a piece of paper lying around, or in an increasingly disorganized notepad. But I eventually worked out a better way. I call this, the GroveDex™ system. GroveDex™ is a PIM (personal information management) system that uses 3×5 index cards specially designed to handle the kind of grove information I have to use every day. In this post, I’ll show you what GroveDex™ is, and how you can even adapt it for your own use. In a second post to follow, I’ll show you a companion system that I call, “GroveMod™ PIM, which is based on the popular PocketMod technique for carrying ready-to-access information in your pocket.
We completed our Tamarixia work this week and we’re now at 177,400 wasps released! We’re pleased with the way this project is going.Our custom app, Tamarixia Tracker, helps us get the information back to the state quickly. In fact, we often have our report data tabulated and sent to the state within an hour or so of completing our release work. Here’s a sample report if you’re interested checking out our results. Download our Tamarixia Release Report.
Tamarixia Tracker, my free app for to citrus growers to help them track and report their wasp releases to the Dundee Biological Laboratory, was just updated to Version 5.1. This version adds language required by the state regarding non-endorsement. We’ve worked with the state to develop the app’s forms and interface, but they asked to make clear in the splash screen that it’s not officially funded by or associated with the Division of Plant Industry.
Checking the groves for insect damage today, I see something I haven’t seen for several years. There’s a pest of citrus, called rust mites, that causes a brownish injury on the rind of the fruit. Normally, we’d start treating for this insect this week, but a very heavy rain yesterday literally washed the insect off the fruit. We got close to 4 inches of rain, and this will buy us 7 to 10 days before having to treat for this insect.