The majority of trees in Georgia’s young citrus industry have come from other states. “That statistic could soon be changing, meaning that the majority of trees could come from nurseries within the state,” said Lindy Savelle, president of the Georgia Citrus Association.
Savelle reported that three greenhouses in Georgia have been inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) for compliance with plant protection and quarantine requirements. The most recent nursery to be inspected was Camilla Citrus Tree Source, in late May.
To pass the USDA and GDA inspection, a nursery must enter into a compliance agreement and build a USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service structure, “among many other things,” Savelle said. Triple B Nursery and Mill Creek Nursery previously went through the inspection process, and Savelle said at least two other Georgia nurseries are working toward certification.
“Although the process is quite involved, the need for propagation rules and inspection is an absolute necessity to protect Georgia’s citrus industry,” said Savelle. “Growers planting trees should know they are getting clean stock when they make the decision to invest in citrus.” See a report that includes information about some new varieties Georgia growers are planting.
Lowndes County University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Coordinator Jake Price recently reported there are now more than 265,000 citrus trees in 41 Georgia counties, up from just 4,000 trees in 2013. Price said the industry really took off in 2018, when growers began large plantings of citrus. The vast majority of trees, 80 to 85 percent, are Satsuma mandarins, a cold-hardy variety.
According to Price, in addition to Poncirus trifoliata rootstocks, growers may want to try other trifoliate hybrid rootstocks which have shown promise in early trial results. Cold hardiness has not been an issue with any of the rootstocks on Owari satsuma, but the trees have not been tested below 20 degrees.
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