Citrus Nursery Tour Showcases New Technology

Josh McGillTechnology



Citrific Nursery president Mathew Konrad recently gave a citrus nursery tour to show a culture process and automated nursery system that could be beneficial to the citrus industry.

“I got into this industry because I felt like the industry was lacking a lot of common technologies and more sophisticated nursery operations,” said Konrad. He explained that he wanted to make the citrus nursery business more efficient, which led to the creation of his company, Citrific Nursery in Lake Wales, Florida. “I wanted to create a business where we felt like we created our own path and weren’t reliant on outside forces like current available seed or current available scion material,” said Konrad. So the first thing he did to achieve his goal was build a tissue culture lab.

Citrus Nursery Tour

Robotics are used to streamline the tissue culture process.

Tissue culturing is incredibly labor intensive, so Citrific uses technology to minimize the labor that is needed to perform the functions. Konrad explained how his company uses robotics to streamline the tissue culture process. This has created an improved method for tissue culturing citrus because the plants are not disturbed at every step of the process. “The plant actually lives in its own little container home, and the container home moves with the plant through its different life cycles, all the way to the greenhouse,” explained Konrad.

Citrific’s state-of-the-art greenhouse is climate controlled to create the perfect environment for the young citrus trees.

“In our greenhouse, we implemented as many automation processes as we could, to decrease our labor and make things more consistent,” said Konrad. “By using automation, we tried to create a climate for the greenhouse that was much more consistent and not as reliant on humans.” According to Konrad, this way of doing things greatly decreases the margin or human error.

Konrad gave a tour of the automated fertigation system used at Citrific Nursery. Fertigation is the injection of fertilizers, soil amendments and other water-soluble products into an irrigation system.


The seven tank fertigation system is computer-operated to provide the exact nutrients the plants need.

Konrad explained how the fertigation system his operation uses is different from others. “Fertigation is usually done with an A and B tank, and then the tanks are mixed, and you’re kind of stuck with whatever you have in the tank until it’s gone. So instead, we put all of our different components in their own tank so that we can mix the fertilizer based on all sorts of different inputs into the computer.” Konrad explained that if levels seem to be off, they can easily be fixed by typing on a keyboard. He said that all of the information is stored on the computer for data mining.

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