EPA Lets Avocado Growers Leave Acid on Fruit

     WASHINGTON (CN) – Due to emergency conditions in Southern Californian avocado orchards, the Environmental Protection Agency is allowing growers to use naphthalene of acetic acid ethyl ester to inhibit the re-growth of extra new branches.
Conditions included a hard freeze, strong Santa Ana winds and orchard fires. The EPA is allowing 0.05 parts per million of the ester to remain on avocados that go to market, until the end of 2012.
     Avocado growers rehabilitate damaged trees by a method called “stumping,” which entails cutting the limbs and painting the ends with white latex paint to protect them from sunburn and disease, and then treating them with naphthalene acetic acid ethyl ester so only a few lateral sprouts will grow from the pruning cuts instead of hundreds. This shortens the pruning time per tree or stump and the management of the re-growth can be accomplished with only one pruning per season.
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