Advice on Picking Rootstocks

Ernie NeffRootstocks

Brandon Page, left, and Jim Graham

Growers who attended a recent Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) rootstock field day in Highlands County should look at similar CRDF trials when deciding what rootstocks to plant. That’s the opinion of Jim Graham, a CRDF project consultant who spoke at the event last month.

The same six rootstocks with Valencia scions that are in field trials in Highlands County are also in field trials in two other areas of Florida, said Brandon Page, CRDF field trial administrator and research coordinator. They are US 942, US 812, UFR-2, UFR-3, UFR-4 and UFR-16.

Graham pointed out that the two US rootstocks, created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, have a much longer track record in the field trials than the four UFRs. The UFRs come from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

“Look at all three of these trials” when making a decision, Graham suggested. “Long-term evaluation and performance … is what you really need to make the final decision.”

“Rootstocks are a gamble; they’ve always been that way,” Graham continued. “That’s why we don’t have very many changes historically in rootstock use in Florida.”

Page said most growers and nurserymen at the Highlands County field day “did pick out some winners that they would probably try in their own plantings if given the opportunity.” He said he hopes the evaluations at the three field trial sites will help growers “make a better informed decision about what might fit well in their production system and move forward with it.”

Hear more from Graham and Page:

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Ernie Neff

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large