Submitted to: Florida State Horticultural Society Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 6, 2008
Publication Date: May 20, 2008
Citation: Stover, E.W., Castle, W.S. 2008. Considering the citrus grove of the future. Florida State Horticultural Society Meeting. p.14
Revolutionary changes now face the Florida citrus industry as producers grapple with economically profitable production using greening susceptible material. Changing economic realties have encouraged many tree fruit industries to modify planting density, tree architecture, and training/production systems. More trees / acre translate into earlier bearing and less yield disruption as trees are lost, but with greater establishment costs. High density orchards usually favor dwarfing rootstocks which reduce vegetative growth and ease inter-tree canopy competition. Dwarf trees are also more amenable to thorough spray coverage to manage psyllid and provide nutritional or other therapeutic materials to slow greening symptom development. Practices which facilitate early cropping and fruit quality are critical to the Open Hydroponic System, and will continue to evolve as tree physiology is actively managed to maximize returns. What other components merit evaluation? Use of larger planting stock, ready to crop and grown in isolation from greening, may be advantageous. Similarly, judicious pulsing with GA-biosynthesis inhibitors may maximize early yields and help contain canopy volume. Use of tree supports, to limit diversion of tree resources into reaction wood, has proven useful in pome fruits, and may enhance light interception by permitting pyramidal citrus. If GMO solutions are accepted, this may encourage further transgenic modification such as earlier cropping, dwarf stature, and high proportions of leafy inflorescences, perhaps even using own-rooted planting stock grown from seed to reduce planting costs. The purpose of this talk is to stimulate discussion and facilitate assembly of diverse useful ideas in facing this challenge.