April 10, 2021
Florida scientists talk laurel wilt in California

Avocado trees infected with laurel wilt disease. The invasive redbay ambrosia beetle (inset) spreads laurel wilt disease. Trees can die just 6 to 8 weeks after infection.

Report from The Packer

Florida scientists talk laurel wilt in California

University of Florida scientists are traveling to California in early August to share information on ways to combat laurel wilt in avocado trees.

So far, the disease has not spread to California but it is actively threatening Florida’s $100 million avocado industry, according to a news release.

“The information we will provide may help their scientists, regulatory agencies and producers prepare for the potential introduction of laurel wilt into California,” Jonathan Crane, a University of Florida professor of horticultural sciences and tropic fruit extension specialist, said in the release.

“The networking among Florida and California scientists and extension faculty may provide new ideas that lead to control tactics for this deadly fungal-ambrosia beetle complex,” he said.

The release said University of Florida faculty will talk about their latest research findings and extension efforts to combat laurel wilt.

Researchers originally thought the redbay ambrosia beetle transmitted laurel wilt, according to the release.

However, scientists found that several related beetles could transmit the fungus to avocado trees, and that the redbay ambrosia was not a primary carrier.

Daniel Carrillo, a University of Floria assistant professor of entomology, has found more than 14 ambrosia beetles may infest avocado trees, and he is studying them to identify key players in the spread of this disease and working on ways to control them.

“Specifically, we are providing the California industry with recommendations: scouting to detect trees symptomatic for laurel wilt and then implementing sanitation procedures without delay,” Crane said in the release. “This is the most reliable way to prevent the spread of the pathogen through root grafts among trees and eliminates the ambrosia beetle vector breeding sites.”



This article is from thepacker.com.

Tags: Agriculture

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