I posted on Monday that I designed a fruit tree guild I hope may prevent citrus greening.
This is experimental, of course. Unfortunately, curing citrus greening doesn’t seem to be possible, so my thought is we should try and prevent it through permaculture practices. Preventing citrus greening with chemicals hasn’t been able to stop the march of the disease across the country, so why not try another way?
I believe part of the reason we’re facing the destruction of the citrus industry due to this disease is our penchant for monoculture farming. When you stick plenty of the same crop all in rows, nature tries to balance things out. A citrus grove is like a hospital. Jam a bunch of people together in one place, then introduce other people with terrible diseases and some of those diseases are going to spread and wreak havoc.
Permaculture design looks to nature for assistance in the growing of food and the curing of plant diseases and pest issues.
Though citrus greening may be incurable right now, some hope lies in repelling the citrus psyllid that carries the greening virus. Research has shown that guava trees contain compounds that drive away the citrus psyllid and that some farmers have had luck staving off the disease by interplanting guavas with citrus.
That said, here’s my idea to prevent citrus greening.
A Tree Guild to Prevent Citrus Greening
What if we were to plant a citrus tree and add nitrogen fixers as is the usual permaculture practice. Then, after that, why not add a couple of guava trees to repel the citrus psyllid. Then, for further anti-pest action, one could plant lemon grass in clumps around the tree.
Here’s an illustration:
So, simple enough, right?
I planted a Pineapple orange tree this spring using this method. The guild system above is just a basic framework. Beyond the nitrogen fixing trees, you add the guavas for repelling citrus psyllids and the lemon grass to hopefully repel psyllids and other insects. I also planted some malanga, cannas and other random plants. Adding in insectary plants to bring in predatory insects like ladybugs would be good. For more food in the space, you could plant edible groundcover – but the main point is to make sure you try to fight citrus greening by planting those guavas and lemongrass (which hopefully helps).
Anyone have any more ideas on this guild to prevent citrus greening? I would love to hear them. I’m hashing the idea out in my mind and would appreciate your input.