WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — The Tree Defender was originally created by growers for growers to provide an immediate solution to citrus greening by preventing psyllids from infecting trees. Having been in the field now for over three years, Tree Defender can still confidently say that no psyllid has yet to be found on any tree being covered by their protective, breathable screen.
The goal is to use Tree Defender to protect young trees from psyllids and greening during their first two years as they are in a vegetative and growing state. After those two years, the bag is removed, and the trees are healthy, pesticide free, and ready to start producing fruit and crops immediately. If the grower wishes to continue protecting the tree into the mature years, then they simply purchase a larger Tree Defender.
Dr. James Graham, an emeritus professor of Soil Microbiology at the University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center, has done extensive analysis of the economic benefit that The Tree Defender produces for prevention of citrus greening in the early stage of tree development.
Graham used an economic model to calculate the yield and profit advantage for protecting the citrus tree from psyllid infection for the first two growing seasons.
“The model can be run with adjustments of various parameters such as variety, fruit quality, fruit value, cost of the Tree Defender, and years of protection of the tree from Tree Defender to study different outcomes,” Graham said. “The model calculates that Valencia trees planted at 250 per acre protected with The Tree Defender for the first two season returns a profit of over $3,000 per acre and an Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 60.7%.”
“The Tree Defender is a highly profitable investment for Florida citrus growers that plant trees as resets or in solid blocks and I wouldn’t consider planting a tree without the protection that The Tree Defender affords,” Graham said.
The issue of controlling citrus greening and the spread of psyllids is still a very real and relevant problem. In February of 2018, a judge ordered California agricultural officials to stop spraying pesticides on public and private property to control insects. This presents a new hurdle in the challenge of controlling crop-damaging pests that have severely impacted the citrus industry in Brazil and Florida.
Tree Defender is not only the most effective and organic solution to this problem, it is the most affordable and economically valuable solution. By covering each tree, you are creating individual micro-environments that keep pests and diseases out. In the unlikely event a tree does become infected in a bag, then the disease will not spread outside that bag and possibly harm the surrounding trees.
The Tree Defender, with its patent-pending design, is available in a 4-foot, 5-foot, 7-foot all the way up to a 12-foot bag. These larger bags are designed for mature trees. They have four sides with two opposing zippered sides which allows for harvesting activities without removing the Tree Defender. Each screen has a life expectancy of up to eight years and is also ideal for protecting various other small trees and plants such as tomatoes or peppers.
While the Tree Defender is currently available to commercial growers, the company is working with a few selected nurseries and retailers at setting up distributor partnerships so that individual covers will be available very soon for casual and backyard growers. For details about product orders, availability, and cost, call (863) 439-2877 or visit thetreedefender.com for more information.
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