A handful of citrus growers discussed January bloom and postbloom fruit drop (PFD), bactericides, nutrition and replanting strategies at a grower forum in Sebring on January 12. Laurie Hurner, Highlands County Extension director and citrus Extension agent, summarizes the discussions.
“We are looking at areas where we’ve got bloom coming on. That is a little bit nerve-wracking for January,” Hurner says. “And of course with some wet weather we’ve had over the last weekend – the last week or so – PFD comes to mind.”
“Growers are continuing to look at the bactericides,” Hurner adds. “Some of them think they (trees) look really great, and wonderful things are happening. Some of them aren’t so sure. Some of them in other areas don’t think a thing is any different than before they applied them.”
“More growers are looking at more use of minor nutrients,” Hurner says. “They’re looking at maybe less amount of products, but they may be using higher-quality products to see if that’s making a difference.” Some growers have reported seeing positive tree changes by using higher-quality fertilizer, she says. “They’re really, really catering to that rootzone.”
One grower at the forum stated the familiar dictum that in order to survive, growers must replace trees that are lost to disease or other issues. But another grower said he hasn’t yet replaced some tangerine trees he removed, in part because known HLB-resistant trees aren’t yet available.
Hurner says she has seen some recent new tree plantings. “Those guys are optimistic, living on the edge, but they are moving forward,” she says. “But we are at a time where economics are top of mind. You’ve got to look at that break-even point. So for those guys that are holding on, waiting to see about those best varieties or rootstocks to put in the ground, it is a tough decision to make.”
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