Add Michael Rogers to the list of those seeing early-season fruit drop in Florida this fall. Rogers, director of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Citrus Research and Education Center, saw the drop while visiting groves. In the December All In For Citrus podcast, he also addresses flower bud induction advisories and upcoming UF/IFAS presentations.
“As expected, we are seeing higher levels of fruit drop in some of our early-season varieties,” Rogers says. But he adds that he also saw “minimal” levels of drop in some groves. “So there are some bright spots out there,” he says.
“Our specialists have gotten a lot of calls about that (drop), asking what can be done now to try to prevent that,” Rogers adds. “Unfortunately, it’s really too late to prevent fruit drop on these early-season Hamlins that need to be harvested now. The practices that need to be done to prevent fruit drop really need to occur much earlier in the season.”
Rogers notes that UF/IFAS horticulturist Tripti Vashisth has presented seminars on fruit drop. The bottom line, he says, is that measures a grower takes soon after fruit set lead to a better harvest. “You really have to plan ahead,” he advises.
Numerous growers have reported seeing heavier than usual fruit drop this fall. Fruit drop has become a significant cause of fruit loss since HLB was discovered in Florida in 2005.
Rogers also notes that UF/IFAS flower bud induction advisories initiated by the late Gene Albrigo years ago are now being presented by Vashisth. Rogers says the advisories help guide grove management decisions, including irrigation and fertilization.
Finally, Rogers notes that the Florida Citrus Show planned for February has been postponed due to COVID-19, and discusses some upcoming UF/IFAS presentations that will be made virtually.
The All In For Citrus podcast is a joint project of UF/IFAS and AgNet Media. Listen to the full podcast here.
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