Reconnaissance and recommendations for mistletoe management in macadamia orchards (MC18001)
What was it all about?
Beginning in late 2018, this short, one-month project summarised current knowledge among macadamia growers about mistletoe biology, ecology and what management strategies are used to reduce the impact of the pest plant. The researchers provided interim recommendations for macadamia growers on best practice mistletoe management and presented priorities for future research to address gaps in knowledge.
Mistletoe is an emerging pest in the macadamia industry that affects tree growth and nut yield, and interferes with orchard operations. It is becoming a major issue for growers in northern New South Wales and Queensland, and it has been found that current approaches to orchard establishment and management are increasing the susceptibility of macadamias to mistletoe intrusion.
The research found that the most effective mistletoe control in macadamia orchards is to apply integrated pest management principles:
- Monitor regularly to detect mistletoe growth and regrowth
- Remove existing mistletoes through pruning
- Minimise reinfection by encouraging more continuous canopies, as mistletoe is more likely to germinate and establish when exposed to light
- Work with natural enemies to reduce mistletoe vigour.
The project team note that further research is needed to establish best-practice detection and removal methods, estimate the effect of mistletoe infection on macadamia tree growth and yield, and explore cost-effective control strategies that align with existing orchard operations.
This project was a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Macadamia Fund
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