IN THIS ISSUE:

NEW MONIES
SPEAKING OF THE RIO GRANDE
PSYLLIDS AND GREENING
CANKER AND FRESH FRUIT QUARANTINE
CURRENT SITUATION
VINES


NEW MONIES-

The US Senate Appropriations Committee has included nearly $5 million for irrigation/drainage/flood protection projects in the Valley in an appropriations bill. Before it becomes reality, however, the bill must be voted on by the entire Senate to be included in the Senate's final budget that then has to be reconciled with the appropriations budget of the US House of Representatives and finally signed by the President.

The bill includes $2.4 million for improvements to the levees over about 180 miles of the river. In addition, there is $0.3 for a drainage project for Raymondville, which is really the drainage from Hidalgo County through Willacy County into the Laguna Madre. And there is another $2.0 million for the Rio Grande Irrigation Project to line existing canals and to replace open canals with underground pipelines.

Every little bit helps.

SPEAKING OF THE RIO GRANDE-

Waters in storage dropped below 80 percent of conservation level in the third week of June, while Mexico's waters remained steady at about 33 percent of conservation level.

Between Mexico and the US, the total amount of water in the two reservoirs is at 59.5 percent of conservation level. There have been some inflows into both Amistad and Falcon, though not in substantial amounts.

June promised a threat of showers several times, especially late-but few of the promises were realized and even fewer brought sufficient rain to last thirsty crops more than a day or so. July is starting with stronger possibilities, but no substantial wide-area rains have been noted as yet.

Obviously, July rains are not in real big demand for those trying to harvest sorghum, corn and cotton. Citrus, sugar cane and homeowners would be the primary beneficiaries of local rains; everyone would like to see more substantial rains up in the watersheds.

PSYLLIDS AND GREENING-

There is little new to report about the distribution of this pest; it remains unconfirmed outside of south Texas except for a couple of sites in Houston. The number of samples that have been tested for greening has approximately doubled, but there are no positives to date.

Arizona does not have psyllid insofar as isknown, but the state Department of Agriculture is taking no chances. Inspectors are out in force looking for it. For the most part, Arizona inspectors are concentrating in neighborhoods, placing sticky traps and passing out fliers to residents to explain the danger of psyllids.

CANKER AND FRESH FRUIT QUARANTINE-

The interim federal rule that will prohibit Florida fresh citrus fruit from being shipped into other citrus-producing states and territories in the coming season has caused a lot of anguish to the Florida industry. News is that the European Common Market is considering a similar ban on Florida fresh citrus. But, the "fat lady's" aria may not have been heard yet, as Florida officials do not intend to just meekly accept the ruling.

You can't really blame Florida growers for being upset, but the existence of intrastate quarantines against the movement of fruit from known canker areas does not help their argument. Governor Bush's comment to the effect that Dallas is several hundred miles from the Valley's citrus industry is true enough, but that is not all there is to the story.

Is it important that there are literally hundreds of citrus trees, mostly growing in containers or in greenhouses, in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex? Or that the citrus enthusiasts who grow these trees also buy citrus fruit? Or that citrus enthusiasts generally share plant materials with others across the state?

The point is that within the borders of Texas, there is no way to regulate or preclude the movement of citrus fruit or plant materials from area to area. I don't know about the Dallas-Fort Worth area specifically, but I would cite the example of H.E.B. The produce for all H.E.B. supermarkets in south Texas (including the Valley) comes through a distribution center in San Antonio.

Was everybody asleep when H.E.B. started to distribute citrus fruit with twigs and leaves attached (as an indication of its freshness)? The point is that such citrus should not have even been shipped into Texas in the first place; once here, however, it was distributed to wherever H.E.B. sends produce.

I don't know the locations of the distribution centers for such supermarkets as Albertson's, Sam's Club or Wal-Mart; but they are not in the Valley. In other words, their outlets in the Valley receive the citrus they sell (including Valley citrus) from a distribution center somewhere outside the Valley, possibly even somewhere out of state.

CURRENT SITUATION-

The situation with citrus rust mites begins to get a little "iffy" at this time of year, as it is about the time that Temik begins to play out or the late spring spray program was too long ago to last much longer. With the threat of rains having been with us for a couple of weeks, and may go another week yet, environmental conditions are favorable for rust mite development.

The latest hatch of scale crawlers should be pretty much settled on fruit, leaves or twigs by now, and beginning to secrete their protective waxy covering. Once that covering is in place, traditional pesticides are not going to provide much in the way of control, as the spray materials cannot penetrate the waxy covering. About the most effective material then is citrus spray oil; oil doesn't have to penetrate the wax, it kills by smothering the scale.

Entomologists at the Citrus Center have some pretty extensive tests involving Pre-Vam or Citri-King, basically an oil extracted from citrus and formulated with a couple of other ingredients that are not pesticides per se. While the tests aren't finished yet, the product is showing a good deal of promise. Some promoters are suggesting a gallon per acre in the summer spray, which seems pretty logical for use with Agri-Mek which requires oil, anyway. Since I am a devoted fan of summer oil sprays, I am obviously interested in the product.

VINES-

I have about concluded that I can kill morningglory, clematis (goat's beard) and milkweed vine with a low dose of 2,4-D plus Roundup plus a silicone-added methylated seed oil (1.0:1.5:2.0 percent). This combination made possum grape pretty sick and stunted it, but did not eliminate it. I expect that multiple applications will be necessary for control of this vine. I also got excellent results with Monsanto's LandMaster herbicide (a 2,4-D and Roundup mixture) plus the MSO, except on possum grape.

I do know that 2,4-D is not labeled for use in Texas citrus, nor is LandMaster. However, LandMaster is labeled in Florida citrus, so it should be a relatively simple matter to obtain a special local needs registration for it (or 2,4-D by itself) for use in Texas. I am figuring out how to do that.

Meanwhile, I am going back to possum grape with the same mixtures as before. I think I will try Citri-King in the tank also, with and without MSO, to see what it will do as a herbicide additive.

JULIAN W. SAULS, Ph.D.
Professor & Extension Horticulturist
2401 East Highway 83
Weslaco TX 78596


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