Philippe Rolshausen is an Associate CE Specialist in Botany & Plant Sciences at UC Riverside. He conducts research at Lindcove REC.
What led you to become a cooperative extension specialist?
Because of my interest in agriculture and my love of science. This work gives me the opportunity to provide practical solutions to critical issues faced by California growers. My program is essentially focused on endemic and invasive diseases of tree crops.
What brought your work to Lindcove REC?
Research projects on citrus funded by the USDA-NIFA and the California Citrus Research Board.
What do you hope to learn from your research at Lindcove REC?
Overall, the research focus is on Huanglongbing (HLB), a devastating disease to citrus. The disease is caused by a bacterium (Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus) vectored by an insect (the Asian citrus psyllid). We are looking at different strategies to manage the disease. One strategy is to grow citrus under a protective screen that excludes the insect from citrus groves as it is currently done in Florida. We are assessing the response and performance of trees grown under the netted structure. The second strategy is focused on citrus root health as this appears to be a key factor in the capacity of trees to withstand the disease. For example, we are evaluating tree performance grafted on new hybrid rootstocks resistant to HLB. These rootstocks originate from the USDA-ARS germplasm collection that have performed well in Florida under high HLB disease pressure. We are also looking at how cultural practices such as the use of herbicides or mulching affect root health and tree performance.
What is your favorite part about conducting your research at Lindcove REC?
This is a beautiful research station located in the heart of the citrus belt on the eastern side of the San Joaquin valley in the Sierra foothills close to Sequoia National park. The scenic view and pristine research center make field research enjoyable.