Lurking in the citrus groves of Texas is the Diaprepes root weevil, an insect that chews up citrus tree roots underground and feasts on its leaves. In 2009, Texas A&M University-Kingsville Citrus Center’s Dr. Mamoudou Sétamou found that putting a layer of plastic mesh over the soil beneath the tree stopped the pest in its tracks.
Years later, Dr. Sétamou and his team realized that after all of the field work, irrigation of the trees, and washing rains, the soil would start to deposit on top of the plastic mesh layers. The team began to plant citrus trees on raised beds of soil and then covering the beds with the mesh, which proved effective in stopping the insects and the soil accumulation.
The team was pleased to discover that this method has led to other great outcomes.
“Traditionally, the planting density of the Rio Grande Valley is 121 trees per acre,” said Dr. Olufemi Alabi, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service plant pathologist. “With the new planting design, growers can easily increase this to 165-218 trees.”
Since the study began, researchers have analyzed how the method saves growers money, crops, irrigation water, and more. To learn more about this process and its benefits, read more here.
More From: Texas A&M University
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