A Conversation with Maury Boyd
By Timothy M. Spann
There’s probably not a person in the Florida citrus industry that hasn’t at least heard of Maury Boyd, but just in case, here’s a bit of background: When greening was first found in Maury’s grove in Felda in 2005, he made a conscious decision not to remove infected trees. Bear in mind, this was not a minor decision — the grove is nearly 400 acres. Instead, Maury chose to take steps to maintain the health and productivity of his trees in spite of their greening infection and developed what has become known as the “Maury Boyd cocktail.” To date, he has not removed a single tree because of greening.
As a testament to the success of his program, Maury points to a block of young Valencia trees in his grove. The block was heavily infected early on in the epidemic. Many of the world’s greening experts visited the block during those early days of 2005 and 2006 and signed its death certificate, saying it would be dead within a year or two. Today, the block is still alive, growing and bearing a good crop. In Maury’s words, “It looks better than it has ever looked.” This year, Maury says the fruit are good and no drop is occurring. He credits part of the success in this young block to the addition of boron and TurfPro (an organic soil amendment) to the program last year.
In addition to good nutrition, Maury is a staunch proponent of psyllid control. “It has to be 100 percent. I know that’s not achievable, but that’s the benchmark I use,” he says. Trying to achieve that goal with only the use of pesticides causes Maury concern about residues. That is why he has taken up the new challenge of promoting the development of a psyllid-
Maury has been consulting with engineers and working almost single-
Maury knows that he is criticized by some for leaving infected trees in the ground, potentially making it nearly impossible to bring new trees into production without them becoming infected. However, some would be surprised to learn that Maury doesn’t disagree with his critics. In fact, he’s not sure that a new grove can be planted and kept greening-
That’s precisely why Maury is pushing for the development of a repellent system. Such a system, he believes, coupled with judicious, well-
Maury’s final thought on how to win the greening battle sums things up pretty well: “We’re gonna have to think outside the box.”
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