Nutrients, Hurricane Impact and Production

Ernie Neffhurricane

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Frank Youngman

Grower and tree hedger Frank Youngman was among the attendees at a Feb. 28 grower forum in Sebring, Florida. He discussed nutrition, Hurricane Irma’s impact, tree condition and production.

Youngman said nutrients are “the key factor in what we’re seeing as far as tree quality, also fruit quality, and the ability for the trees to maintain the fruit throughout the production cycle into harvest.” He said tree condition has improved.

Regarding Hurricane Irma’s lingering impact on areas it hit hard, Youngman said, “We’re seeing the production being way off, especially on the early varieties. And then as time progresses over the next year or two, we’re starting to see more trees go out in those blocks. In my particular case, we lost 25 percent in a couple blocks on the earlies (and) older trees … They continue to go out at a very rapid rate.”

Like many growers, Youngman reported that Hamlin oranges were extremely small this season. “But looking forward, we’re happy to have anything on the tree,” he said. “So even though they’re small, we’ll take what we’ve got.” On the other hand, he said, “Drive down the highway and see the amount of Valencias that are still hanging on the trees right now. It makes you want to continue to be a citrus grower.”

The grower forum was hosted by Laurie Hurner, Highlands County Extension director and citrus agent.

Hear more from Youngman:

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Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large