Highlands County Extension director and citrus agent Laurie Hurner discussed Valencia oranges, postbloom fruit drop (PFD) and nutrition in summarizing a recent grower forum she hosted.
“I think that the overarching feeling (of growers) is positive,” Hurner said. “It seems that Valencias are coming on strong; everybody’s seeing a good crop that’s hanging on the tree. So I think we’ll see some good pound solids and some good numbers come out of our Valencia crop.”
Hurner reminded growers to be on the watch for PFD since bloom and rain are coming to much of the Citrus Belt. “Don’t let it sneak up on you,” she said.
Some growers at the forum credited nutrition for improving tree condition in the face of HLB, and Hurner agreed. “Nutrition is certainly top of mind,” she said. “We hear that a nutrition program (that works) in one area of the state or one area of the county may not be the same as a nutrition program (that works) in another area.” She urged growers to be educated about nutrition and their soil.
Hurner noted that one grower said he doesn’t expect a “silver bullet” for HLB, and she agreed. She said growers will need numerous tools to cope with the disease that has devastated much of the Florida citrus industry since 2005. She said a new production guide that she and others are working on will emphasize the use of many tools in the fight against HLB.
Finally, Hurner thanked those who supported her father, Tim Hurner, for induction into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame on March 8.
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