DUNDEE, Fla., June 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- A Florida company may hold the key to protecting the world's young citrus plantings until a permanent solution for the devastating citrus greening disease or HLB can be found. With the widespread devastation from citrus greening causing billions of dollars in lost revenue and killing over 100 million citrus trees worldwide with no end in sight, the Tree Defender, a 3-D tree cover appears to hold that exact promise. After over 2 ½ years of field trials not a single citrus psyllid, the insect that causes the disease, has ever been reported on a tree protected by the Tree Defender and not a single instance of a tree being infected by HLB has ever been reported by our growers. "If we start with a greening free tree and can guarantee the Tree Defender is used exactly how it is intended, we could guarantee a greening free tree at the end of first two years of that tree's life," say the creators Scott Thompson and Tommy Thayer from Winter Haven, Florida. Growing citrus under large covered structures (CUPS) has been getting a lot of attention lately however it is just not feasible for reset or residential situations and large scale plantings. The Tree Defender can be utilized just as effectively and economically on one single tree in a residential backyard of California as it can on one million trees in a large commercial planting. With an ever increasing infection rate and progressively downward spiral in citrus production worldwide, an aggressive replanting effort as well as being able to keep those young plantings greening free until production age is crucial to ensuring the survival of citrus as a viable industry in the world today. The Tree Defender's "set it and forget it" approach appears to be perfect to support this effort. Nothing available has been able to adequately provide that protection until now. The standard Tree Defender is designed to protect a young tree for the first two years of its life however the company has completed development of the next generation Defender that can take the tree on through the 3-5 year range and beyond if needed. Many growers are coming to the realization that trying to combat this problem from strictly a chemical pesticide approach is a losing proposition and just not going to be sustainable, especially in circumstances such as organic farming or in California where applying conventional pesticides is not even an option in some of the residential areas. This conventional approach is also non-selective and detrimental to beneficial insects and biological control efforts such as establishing populations of parasitic wasps, which are a natural enemy of the citrus psyllid. Thompson and Thayer are continually amazed at how the trees appear to thrive in the micro-greenhouse environment created by the Tree Defender. We have consistently observed increased growth rates of leaf volume and size compared to trees grown using conventional growing methods. There is also a reduced transpiration rate which reduces tree stress caused from moisture loss. Although the primary target was the citrus psyllid the Tree Defender also protects the tree from most other citrus pests such as the diaprepes weevil, leaf miners, sharpshooters, canopy destroying pests such as deer, wind scarring, frost, and hail damage. Thompson and Thayer state that another surprise was the amount of interest generated for using the Tree Defender to protect against damage from deer. We realized just how large of a need there is when we started looking further into it and you consider the many different types of fruit trees grown throughout the nation. We now even have customers using the Tree Defender to protect other crops like tomatoes with fantastic results. The company is currently based out of Southern Citrus Nurseries in Dundee Florida however now that they are starting to penetrate the California market the company is exploring the possibility of a distribution partner to facilitate a higher level of customer service there as well as the other major citrus growing areas worldwide. Further information can be found on the company's website at Thetreedefender.com.
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SOURCE Tree Defender