AgriLife Extension present citrus growing, greening program
By Paul Schattenberg AgriLife TODAY
The Texas AgriLife Extension Service for Bexar County will present a two-part program on growing techniques for citrus and the citrus greening disease during the evenings of Tuesday and Wednesday, June 19 and 20.
Both program sessions of "What Is Citrus Greening and Basic Growing Techniques of Citrus in South Texas" will take place from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm in Suite 208 of the AgriLife Extension office for Bexar County, 3355 Cherry Ridge Drive, in San Antonio.
The June 19 session will focus on simple citrus selection and growing techniques, along with identifying and controlling the Asian citrus psyllid, and will provide a short introduction on citrus greening.
The June 20 session will focus specifically on the citrus greening disease, which has recently been confirmed in South Texas.
"A lot of home gardeners are interested in growing citrus in their landscapes, but there are a number of questions and concerns about growing and caring forcitrus trees," said David Rodriguez, AgriLife Extension agent for horticulture in Bexar County. "For example, not all citrus grows well in South Central Texas.
Citrus species are typically tropical or subtropical, so those in areas prone to freezing would do well to choose a more cold-tolerant citrus species."
In Texas, both home gardeners and the citrus industry have had concerns over confirmed instances of citrus greening in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
"Citrus greening, also known as Huanglongbing, is a bacterial disease primarily spread by two species of psyllid insects, one of which is the Asian citrus pysllid," said Molly Keck, entomologist and AgriLife Extension integrated pest management specialist for Bexar County. "While the bacteria itself is not harmful to humans, citrus greening has damaged citrus trees in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South America. It also poses a serious risk to the US citrus industry, including for Florida and South Texas citrus producers."
According to the US Department of Agriculture, trees infected with the disease often produce misshapen and bitter fruit, and citrus greening affects both the quantity and quality of the fruit produced. There is no cure for citrus greening, and once a tree is infected, the only effective means of control is its complete removal.
Speaking on citrus greening will be Frank Gibbons III, who has a doctorate in horticulture from Iowa State University. He is a Bexar County Master Gardener, member of the American Horticultural Therapy Association, registered horticultural therapist and an author and speaker.
"I've done some surveying of citrus in Bexar County and have been participating with David Rodriguez toward specializing in citrus horticulture," Gibbons said. "During the June 20 presentation, I'll discuss what to look for in your own citrus trees, what the Asian psyllid looks like and giving some of the symptoms trees with citrus greening may manifest."
Participants are encouraged to bring samples from any citrus trees they may have for help in identifying any plant-maintenance or disease-related problems.
"The sample should be fresh and representative of the problem as it appears and affects the tree," Rodriguez said. "A small stem with few leaves attached placed in a sealed plastic bag should be fine."
The cost of the program is $12 for both sessions and payment is required in advance. Checks should be made out to Bexar County Master Gardeners and sent to Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Attn: Angel Torres, 3355 Cherry Ridge Drive, Suite 212, San Antonio 78230.
Participants should RSVP to Torres by June 15 at 210-467-6575 or email@example.com.
Pictured: Texas AgriLife Extension Service photo
A two-part Texas AgriLife Extension Service program on citrus growing and citrus greening disease will be held the evenings of June 19 and 20 in Suite 212 of the AgriLife Extension office in the Conroy Square complex in northwest San Antonio.