For citrus growers seeking a practical and cost-effective way to fend off citrus greening and other diseases and pests, there is a new product available to help: The Tree Defender.
Created by Thomas Thayer, Jr., and Scott Thompson of Southern Citrus Nurseries LLC, in Dundee, FL, The Tree Defender is a kite-shaped screening product that completely covers a young citrus tree. It protects a tree from the effects of insect pests, deer, frost, wind, hail, and many other threats.
The Tree Defender was created with citrus greening in mind. According to the developers, the product gives newly planted trees protection from the start against the Asian citrus psyllid, the vector of HLB, keeping the trees healthier longer and giving them a fighting chance to mature into high-yielding fruit producers.
The Tree Defender is made from a clear, flexible, and lightweight polyvinyl chloride material, supported by a center stake, and secured by a cable tie that goes around the screen, the stake, and tree trunk near ground level. The primary material is the finely woven and industry-approved 50-mesh polyvinyl screening used in plant nurseries.
Manufactured for commercial and residential use, the Tree Defender is easy to deploy and provides these advantages:
- It repels most pests, including psyllids, leaf miners, aphids, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and weevils.
- It extends the economic viability of a tree, providing larger returns on investment.
- It protects trees around the clock.
- Its patent-pending design gives it great stability in high winds.
- It helps to reduce pest-control costs — up to 50% in the first two years.
- It reduces the mortality of beneficial insects, such as parasitic wasps, ladybugs, and bees.
- It does not deter the conventional application of nutritional and fungicidal sprays.
- It promotes faster and healthier tree growth and larger leaf growth.
- It allows growers to plant nursery trees in the field at a younger age.
- It’s ideal for organic citrus growers.
- It gives growers the confidence to replant and protect their trees from greening for up to two years of life.