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From the Director 

Dear Friends,

One question that I often get when I am visiting with citrus growers is, “How does UF/IFAS decide on what research projects to fund? What are the priorities that drive the decision-making process?”

Overarchingly, IFAS citrus research projects focus on finding viable solutions for dealing with significant citrus diseases, grove management techniques and situations that cause economic stress for growers. The main priority is HLB (citrus greening), but we also address critical diseases like citrus black spot, canker, etc. We listen to what growers are telling us and work to design research and outreach projects that respond appropriately.

Current research strategies are also driven by the findings from a national gathering of growers, funders, and researchers in 2019. This group prioritized the need for new knowledge in four areas:
  1. Understanding the citrus tree’s phloem biology;
  2. Testing potential therapeutics and delivery strategies;
  3. How to maintain HLB -infected trees; and
  4. Nutrition and their deliveries.
UF/IFAS currently has 53 research projects that focus on one of these four priorities.  There are an additional 43 HLB-related projects that focus on short and long -term topics including new varieties, genetic improvement (including gene editing projects) and psyllid management.

You can read more about our many research projects at the website. Click on Resources, select Other Resources and then scroll down to Research Summaries or click here.

One thing is consistent with all of these projects:  they focus on a promising outlook for near term and/or future use by Florida’s citrus growers.


Michael E. Rogers
Professor and Center Director
UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center, Lake Alfred

Statewide Coordinator
UF/IFAS Citrus Research & Extension Programs

Are you experiencing soft fruit?
Dr. John Chater, newest faculty member at UF/IFAS CREC, is conducting a survey about soft fruit. There have been several reports of growers harvesting soft fruit of various varieties over the last one or two seasons. The fruit were reported to be too soft to pack by these affected growers. We intend to find out where and why this is happening so that we can work to develop a solution. To gather more information, we would like to ask growers to complete a survey. 
If you would prefer to discuss your observations, please call Dr. Chater at 863-956-8662 or email,
Complete Survey

First quantitative results from new citrus rootstock, scion combination experimental grove

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Early results from a groundbreaking, large-scale citrus trial looking for solutions to the devastating citrus greening disease have given early hope for growers in the Indian River District. The new UF/IFAS research shows tree size does not seem to affect citrus susceptibility to greening.

In the trial, researchers are testing which citrus rootstock and scion combinations will tolerate citrus greening, a deadly global citrus disease that has impacted the Florida citrus industry.

Martin Zapien, a graduate student at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Indian River Research and Education Center (UF/IFAS-IRREC), presented data from the Millennium Block citrus cultivar trial in Fort Pierce, Florida. At his thesis defense, the information Zapien represented was research from a 20-acre grove with grapefruit, navel orange and mandarin cultivars on a wide range of newly released and commercial rootstocks. Planted in 2019, the trees grow in a region where citrus greening is now endemic.


SWFREC April 2022 Citrus Seminar in-person and via Zoom

Date & Time: Thursday, April 21, 2022, 11:00 AM – 12:00 Noon
Title: Improving ‘yield-safety’ in citrus weed management
Speaker: Dr. Ramdas Kanissery, Assistant Professor, UF/IFAS Southwest Research & Education Center, Immokalee
Location: UF/IFAS SWFREC Immokalee, Florida

Managing weeds in citrus involves several strategies including the most widely utilized chemical weed control. Several factors like efficacy on target weeds, cost-effectiveness, and most importantly, their impact on tree health and productivity must be considered before selecting a specific management approach. Dr. Kanissery will discuss strategies that help growers adopt a weed control program to successfully manage the weeds while minimizing their impact on citrus trees and yield.

Pre-registration is required. There is  no  registration fee and lunch is free thanks to Sarah Markle with Valent.

Please do 1 or 2, not both

1. To reserve an in-person seat and have lunch, send an e-mail to Dr. Mongi Zekri at

To attend via Zoom, click on this link:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Zoom meeting.

Coordinator: Dr. Mongi Zekri, Multi-County Citrus Extension Agent, UF/IFAS
1 CEU for pesticide license renewal
1 CEU for certified crop advisors

The 31st Annual Farm Safety Day

Friday, 6 May 2022 -- Saturday, 7 May 2022


Safe and competent equipment operators are important to you as an employer. Accidents, which cause damage, injury or death to employees, equipment and crops, are costly. We believe all types of accidents can be reduced with proper employee training. Our training has been designed to help your employees perform better, operate safely to prevent accidents, fulfill necessary training requirements and build pride in themselves and their farm company.


The 2022 Southwest Florida Farm Safety Day is almost here. Farm Safety Day is an educational event designed to emphasize the importance of farm/equipment safety. Each participant is presented with a certificate of attendance and the employer will be provided with a certificate of training that can be placed into the employee’s file.

Registration Info

The deadline for registration is Friday, April 22, 2022. It is the employer’s responsibility to assure that the employee is present at 7:30 AM on Friday, May 6 or on Saturday, May 7 at the IFAS SWFREC Center, 2685 State Rd. 29 North, Immokalee, FL 34142 to receive their nametag. Upon arrival each participant will check in at the registration table and receive a packet containing their nametag, instructions (in both English and Spanish) session handouts, an evaluation form, rodeo cap and pencil. They will be directed to their respective course sessions. Please give us the names of those who will be attending our 31st Farm Safety Day on Friday, 6 May or Saturday, 7 May 2022 (please select the date).

The cost is $25.00 per person, which will include educational sessions, handouts, pencils, refreshments, lunch, door prizes, and a cap. Make checks payable to: University of Florida Mail registration and checks to: University of Florida, IFAS, SWFREC Attention: Barbara Hyman 2685 State Rd. 29 North Immokalee, FL 34142 Deadline is Friday, April 22, 2022.

Contact Barbara Hyman for more registration information:  (239) 658-3400
CEUs for pesticide license renewal

Earn CEU Credits NOW online through Southeast AgNet & Citrus Industry Magazine

The following series of articles and quizzes are available with their expiration dates noted:

The following series of articles and quizzes are available with their expiration dates noted:

2022 #1: Increasing Pesticide Effectiveness With Adjuvants (1/31/23)
2021 #4: Protecting People From Pesticide Exposure (10/31/22)
2021 #3: Before You Spray (7/31/22)
2021 #2: When a Pesticide Doesn’t Work (4/30/22)

Each article grants one General Standards (Core) CEU when submitted and approved toward the renewal of a Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services restricted-use pesticide license.

FYI, there are also CORE CEU available at Growing Produce

Online Pesticide CEUs



March means spring break for many, and Florida is a favorite destination for students looking to celebrate the time off. Michael Rogers, director of the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, took the occasion to shine the light on the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) citrus graduate program. Sixty-five students are currently engaged in graduate studies as they learn to be future leaders in citrus science and business. According to Rogers, while they are learning, they also are providing a valuable contribution to current research that has material benefits to citrus growers.

John Chater, assistant professor of horticultural sciences, recently joined the UF/IFAS citrus team to help growers evaluate the many new rootstocks and scions being developed by plant breeders. Chater joined the podcast to talk about his background and new job duties with UF/IFAS. In addition, he spoke about the varieties that have caught his attention in Florida.

On April 5, the Florida Citrus Growers’ Institute will take place in Avon Park. Florida’s citrus Extension agents help organize the event. Ajia Paolillo, an agent based in Arcadia, joined the podcast to discuss the program. HLB, fruit drop and plant nutrition are just a few of the topics that will be covered in the educational sessions. She said the agents are particularly excited to finally be hosting the event in person again after COVID-19 forced the event to go digital during the pandemic.

The All In For Citrus podcast is a joint project of UF/IFAS and AgNet Media.

Listen to the March episode here.

Want to keep up with all the latest citrus research news? 

Visit It's your one-stop for all things citrus at UF/IFAS!
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