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IRREC Graduate Student Wins Travel Grant to Attend American Society of Horticultural Sciences Meeting

Dinesh Phuyal, a University of Florida Indian River Research and Education Center graduate student, has earned two travel grants that will take him to an international research leaders’ meeting. The two awards, one from the American Society of Horticultural Sciences; a second, from the University of Florida’s Graduate Student Council, were presented to Phuyal so that he may attend the American Society of Horticultural Sciences, or ASHS, meeting in Las Vegas this July.

The UF Indian River Research and Education Center, or IRREC, is one of 12 research and education centers situated in all of Florida’s important agricultural regions. The research centers are part of UF’s statewide Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, or UF/IFAS. Research scientists at IRREC support the citrus industry and work with soil and water science, horticulture and agricultural engineering.

“I am delighted to receive the grants so that I may present my research to the American Society of Horticultural Sciences scientific community,” said Phuyal. “I am very thankful to the University of Florida Horticultural Sciences Graduate Student Council and the American Society of Horticultural Sciences for the two grants.”

Before members of the ASHS, Phuyal will present his research findings for the management of citrus trees affected by the devastating citrus greening disease, huanglongbing or HLB. The disease is the Florida citrus industry’s most formidable and most devastating disease after more than a century of robust production. Citrus greening has reduced Florida’s production by less than 50 % in recent years.

Phuyal’s graduate studies are supervised by Rhuanito “Johnny” Ferrarezi, who leads citrus horticulture research at IRREC.

Phuyal’s presentation “Planting Density, Soil and Foliar-Applied Nutrients on Grapefruit Affected by Huanglongbing” will summarize his work with nutrient management both foliar and in-ground fertilizer applications for grapefruit trees that are infected with the HLB. The disease pathogen is transmitted by an insect, the Asian citrus psyllid.

A second research thrust in Phuyal’s work is his method to determine adequate tree space in grove fields. Phuyal works to achieve optimum yield with dense plantings, without compromising fruit quality. The objective is to ameliorate canopies in citrus crop trees, said Phuyal.

“The project is now in its second year,” said Phuyal. “The presentation will include data from the first year of study.”

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