Soil applications of inducers of systemic acquired resistance (SAR) imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, or acibenzolar-S-methyl, at various rates and application frequencies, were evaluated for control of citrus canker caused by Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri in a field trial of 3- and 4-year-old ‘Ray Ruby’ grapefruit trees in southeastern Florida. Reduction of foliar incidence of canker produced by one, two, or four soil applications of imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, and acibenzolar-S-methyl was compared with 11 foliar sprays of copper hydroxide and streptomycin applied at 21-day intervals. In the 2008 and 2009 crop seasons, canker incidence on each set of vegetative flushes was assessed as the percentage of the total leaves with lesions. By the end of the 2008 season, despite above-average rainfall and a tropical storm event, all treatments significantly reduced foliar incidence of citrus canker on the combined spring-summer-fall flushes. Sprays of copper hydroxide and streptomycin were effective for reducing canker incidence on shoot flushes produced throughout the season compared with the untreated control, whereas soil-applied SAR inducers reduced foliar disease depending on rate, frequency, and timing of application. Except for the treatment of four applications of acibenzolar-S-methyl at 0.2 g a.i. per tree or two applications of imidacloprid, SAR inducers were ineffective for reducing foliar disease on the flushes that were present during the tropical storm. In 2009, all treatments significantly reduced the incidence of foliar canker on the combined spring-summer-fall flushes but not all treatments of spring-summer flushes with SAR inducers were effective compared with the untreated control. Hence, depending on rate, frequency, and timing of application, soil-applied SAR inducers reduced incidence of canker on foliar flushes of young grapefruit trees under epidemic conditions.
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