For two years citrus growers throughout Florida have been fighting a tree-killing disease.
The disease is called citrus greening and it has had a devastating effect in Florida. But now, scientists are using lasers to inject the leaves with antibiotics, which has proven better than just spraying the trees with insecticide.
“You are not going to see this in any other agricultural enterprise. We are making headway and ultimately we are going to have a stable system followed by replanting that will restore this industry,” Dr. Harold Browning with the Citrus Research Foundation said.
Citrus growers hope to be able to use the new technology as soon as March.
Larry Black is a fifth-generation citrus grower and can’t wait to use the product on his crops. “There is no silver bullet, but this is an important turning point for the industry to have these bactericides and the potential for a more efficient delivery of this bactericide into the plant,” Black said.
Millions of citrus trees have been killed by the disease. It could end up reducing Florida’s citrus production to its lowest level in years.
That’s why US Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida) secured $125 million in federal funds during the next five years to fight citrus greening.
“Now you have a chance to turn around the entire Florida citrus industry so that we can increase production instead of the production constantly going down,” Nelson said.
Fighting citrus greening with state-of-the-art technology is a top priority for an industry that doesn’t want to become extinct.