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Plants (Basel). 2019 Aug 23;8(9). pii: E298. doi: 10.3390/plants8090298.

Interaction of Huanglongbing and Foliar Applications of Copper on Water Relations of Citrus sinensis cv. Valencia.

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Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, University of Florida, 2685 SR 29 N, Immokalee, FL 34142, USA.
Southwest Florida Research and Education Center, University of Florida, 2685 SR 29 N, Immokalee, FL 34142, USA.


The following study was conducted to determine the impact of frequent foliar Cu applications on water relations of Huanglongbing (HLB)-affected Citrus sinensis cv. 'Valencia'. HLB in Florida is putatively caused by Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus that is vectored by the Asian citrus psyllid. The experiment was conducted in a psyllid-free greenhouse with trees grown in Immokalee fine sand soil with the trees well-maintained to promote health. Cu was applied to the foliage at 0×, 0.5×, 1×, and 2× the commercially recommended rates, which were 0, 46, 92, and 184 mM, respectively, with applications made 3× in both 2016 and 2017. Previous studies indicate that HLB causes roots to decline before the canopy develops symptoms, which increases the ratio between the evaporative surface area of the canopy to the uptake surface area of roots and increases the hydraulic strain within the tree. In the current study, overall growth was suppressed substantially by HLB and Cu treatments but the ratio between evaporative surface area (leaf surface area) and the uptake surface area of roots (feeder root surface area) was not affected by either treatment. Stem water potential (Ψxylem), which was used as a measure of plant water deficits and the hydraulic strain within the tree, was significantly 13% lower for HLB-affected trees than the non-HLB controls but were not affected by Cu treatments. All Ψxylem measurements were in a range typical of well-watered trees conditions. Stomatal conductance (ks) and root and soil resistances (Rr+s) were not affected by HLB and Cu. The results of this experiment suggest that tree leaf area and feeder roots are reduced when the trees are affected by HLB or are treated with foliar Cu applications such that plant water deficits are not significantly different over that of the controls.


Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus; Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri; citrus canker; essential nutrients; greening; stem water potential; stomatal conductance

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