New research data are coming from trials of citrus rootstocks, scions and combinations of the two that University of Florida scientists hope will broaden the options of greening-tolerant citrus varieties available to commercial growers.
Michael Rogers, director of the Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC), part of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), said scientists plan to disseminate the information to growers as quickly as possible, via the new Citrus Research and Extension website.
“We’re excited about the information coming from our field trials of the new rootstock and scion varieties developed by our citrus breeding team,” Rogers said. “We know growers are hungry for this data, and our faculty have been working to assemble this new information, which will be available on a new website for easy access by growers.”
Fred Gmitter and Jude Grosser, breeders at the UF/IFAS CREC, hope to develop rootstocks, scions and combinations that will increase yield, improve juice quality and make citrus more tolerant to greening.
Gmitter, a professor of breeding and genetics, and Grosser, a professor of plant cell genetics, are working on the trials, largely with Bill Castle, a professor emeritus of horticultural sciences and Filomena Valim, all at CREC.
Scientists are testing these trees to see how well they perform and produce fruit in Central and Southwest Florida and in the Indian River regions.
“We have devoted ourselves previously to plant trials and collect data from as many locations in the state as possible,” Gmitter said. “This new source of summarized information is intended to provide growers transparent access to our collective results, so they can make better informed decisions on future planting options, to remain profitable in the endemic HLB world.”
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