2019 Citrus Technical Forum: USA nursery expert Nate Jameson on the fight against HLB, citrus canker
7 February 2019
The disease huanglongbing (HLB) and the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) devastated the Florida citrus industry and are now in California, and the USA industry’s response will be addressed by Nate Jameson, Brite Leaf Citrus Nursery, Florida, at the 2019 Citrus Tech Forum. Nate, with his wife, Anna, have been selling plants from their Florida-based nursery to commercial growers since 1998. In 2006, following the statewide spread of citrus canker and HLB, the Jamesons built a new facility and moved their nursery 120km north of the original premise, to isolate themselves from commercial nurseries. Citrus canker was evident but they realised other diseases could occur. Due to the international spread of HLB and Citrus Canker, Nate has had the opportunity to consult on facility design for disease exclusion for several private companies as well as government agencies in the USA, The Caribbean Rim, Mexico and China. The production system changed to a fully enclosed protected culture program requiring multiple layers or steps to prevent disease entrance. The layers include double entrances with air curtains at all external entrances, a walk-through foot bath and spray booths and clothes changing are required for everyone prior to entry into any of the seedlings, tree or budwood production areas. Hand washing is also required for everyone when transitioning from one area to another. Any citrus nursery that is in business in Florida is legally required to have a greenhouse with screen on all sides with a “double entrance” and positive air pressure to prevent insects entering the structure. To maintain profitability in this type of system, a high plant density is required to generate the dollars per square foot needed to cover the cost of construction. This high density inside of fully enclosed structures creates another problem which is lots of moisture. As one part of the structure changes, another part must be changed. Nate said all citrus nursery growers in the United States are individually making multi-million dollar investments to do everything possible to prevent the spread of disease. He will expand on retro fitting of nurseries with exclusion technology, and the need for a certified nursery system to combat disease. Both Nate and Anna are also heavily involved in State associations, the National Clean Plant Network – Citrus, and Mr Jameson is the President Elect of the International Society of Citrus Nurserymen.
Nate Jameson’s tour to Australia has been funded by Citrus Autralia and Auscitrus.
Register for the pre-Tech Forum tour and the Technical Forum here.