Grower Picks Favorites at Rootstock Trial

Ernie NeffRootstocks

Data presented at a Citrus Research and Development Foundation rootstock field day on April 25 in Highlands County.
Lee Jones, left, and Julian Gardinier

Gardinier Florida Citrus General Manager Lee Jones named two rootstocks that looked appealing at an April 25 Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) rootstock field day in Highlands County. “(US) 942 kind of stands out to me,” he said. “(US) 812 looks good,” he added.

“What we’re learning as we’re going is we’ve got to spoon feed this (citrus trees) and really pay attention to the root systems and the soil that the trees are growing in,” Jones said. He was accompanied at the field day by Julian Gardinier, a new grove supervisor at the company. Jones said he’s excited to have Gardinier on board “because it takes a lot more management these days. It’s more like growing a vegetable crop than the old way of growing the groves.”

Jones said Gardinier Florida Citrus has been planting much US 942 this year. He called the rootstock “a semi-dwarf/dwarf type tree” and that “post-greening disease, 942 is growing really well.”

The field day provided much information about Valencia orange grown on seven different rootstocks in trials at the Ben Hill Griffin Blumberg grove. The rootstocks, in addition to US 942 and US 812, are UFR-2, UFR-3, UFR-4, UFR-16 and sour orange.

Citrus breeders Jude Grosser with the University of Florida and Kim Bowman with the U.S. Department of Agriculture addressed approximately 60 growers, nurserymen and others at the event. CRDF’s Brandon Page and Jim Graham also spoke.

Hear more from Jones and Gardinier:

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Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large