This Q&A series is the second of six installments featuring Florida Grower’s 2011 Citrus Achievement Award winner Maury Boyd addressing important issues of the day. This month, the president of Winter Garden-based McKinnon Corporation discusses systemic acquired resistance (SAR) and Liebig’s Law Of The Minimum.
Q: How did you become interested in SAR?
A: In the early days of HLB, I attended a meeting that left me frustrated in the direction of how to address the disease. So I called Carl Fabry, owner of Plant Food Systems, whom I and my grove manager Tim Willis had a working relationship with because of our use of his product K-Phite. By chance, when I called, he was at the University of California (UC)-Riverside, waiting to see a pathologist. The pathologist put him in touch with UC scientist Hailing Jin, PhD. We soon joined in a three-way conference. She introduced us to salicylic acid, which is an important chemical plants use in their defense, “salicylic acid pathway.” He returned to Florida and formulated it into a salicylate compound and we began testing. We quickly saw results. After two weeks application, a flushing would occur.
Q: What sources did you study to learn more about SAR?
A: I had the following book, which I read and greatly learned about SAR, “Induced Plant Defenses Against Pathogens and Herbivores,” published in 1999. Additionally, one may Google plant defense, SAR, and other terms to find the great amount that is available. I understand little has been done commercially though there have been some earlier products. This is where I bring in the Mediterranean diet vs. the McDonald’s diet. Which one would you prefer?
Q: Explain Liebig’s Law Of The Minimum?
A: Earlier I would say, we feed the trees all the knowns (macro and micro), including the unknowns. The idea was to impart a remembrance, thus, something catchy. Liebig’s Law points out if any single element is short, it will affect the overall health of the plant. For example, if a trace element is missing, it will lower the health of your plant. It seems to me, HLB interferes with nutrients. Therefore, our program hinges on supplying all of them.
Special thanks to Chemtura AgroSolutions for sponsoring the Citrus Achievement Award program.