Rootstock Selection Made Easier

Ernie NeffRootstocks

Johnny Ferrarezi

The recently released fourth edition of the Florida Citrus Rootstock Selection Guide is “way more user friendly” than past editions, one of its authors says. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) researcher Rhuanito “Johnny” Ferrarezi says “a completely redesigned website” is what makes the guide so useful for growers. Ferrarezi works as an assistant professor at the Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce.

Ferrarezi says the new guide includes information about UFR rootstocks and new Super Sour rootstocks. Growers can use the guide to choose rootstocks selected by UF/IFAS and U.S. Department of Agriculture plant breeders, he says.

Although the online version offers growers the most opportunities to consider many factors when choosing rootstocks, a brochure is also available. “Online, you can actually get more out of this,” Ferrarezi declares. He notes that growers using the online data can consider rootstock selection factors including yield, tree size as well as disease and pest tolerance. They can even consider such site-specific issues as drainage and salinity. Ferrarezi points out that drainage and salinity are concerns in Florida’s Indian River growing region; other issues that are prevalent in other growing regions are also included.  

Growers inputting data on the website can get a score for each rootstock. The score will let them pick a rootstock best suited to a specific site, Ferrarezi says.

The guide “provides new information from years of data collected from the UF/IFAS and the USDA breeders,” Ferrarezi says. “I think that this fourth edition really wraps up about 30 years of data collected by Dr. Bill Castle and other collaborators that put this guide together.” Castle is a UF/IFAS professor emeritus renowned for his work on citrus rootstocks.

Ferrarezi discussed the newest edition of the rootstock guide at the January Florida Citrus Show in Fort Pierce.

Hear more from Ferrarezi:

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About the Author

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large