Growers producing fresh fruit inside the relatively new citrus under protective screen (CUPS) structures in Florida have some unique heat and cold considerations. Chris Oswalt, citrus Extension agent for Polk and Hillsborough counties, spoke on this subject at a recent CUPS field day in Alturas, Florida.
“Based on some of the early data that we have from the weather stations that are inside CUPS structures, the weather and climate temperature-wise is a little higher, sometimes during the summer much higher, inside a CUPS structure than outside,” Oswalt says. “With this increasing temperature, you have factors that may potentially affect fruit quality.” He notes that fruit may reach maturity in fewer days inside CUPS than outside. “If I had fruit inside a CUPS structure,” he says, “I would be monitoring maturity standards as you get closer to maturity just to make sure that things are going on schedule.”
The structures also offer some freeze protection, Oswalt says, because the structures retain some of the heat generated by microsprinkler irrigation. “Plus we know that you get less winds, so there would be a tendency to be less evaporative cooling inside a CUPS structure,” he adds.
Hear more from Oswalt:
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