Packinghouse Day Updates: Greasy Green Disorder and Cold Hardy Citrus

Ernie Neff Cold Hardy, Diseases

Packinghouse Day

Updates on the so-called greasy green disorder and the Cold Hardy Citrus Association were presented at the virtual Packinghouse Day on Aug. 26.  

The greasy green disorder affecting fruit primarily in Florida’s Indian River region has “been getting worse the past two seasons,” researcher Mark Ritenour reported. Ritenour is a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences professor of postharvest physiology and handling. He works at the Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce.

Ritenour showed slides summarizing the responses of 13 Florida growers to a survey about greasy green disorder. Of those respondents, 10 indicated their groves had experienced the disorder; 75% of blocks reported experiencing the disorder were in the Indian River region. Greasy green has been observed as early as November over the past two seasons.

Survey respondents reported that more fruit was affected by greasy green in 2020-21 than in the prior season. They indicated that in 2020-21, 63% of their grapefruit, 45% of oranges, 15% of mandarins and 5% of lemons were affected. The respondents’ average estimated lost revenue due to the disorder was $600,000 for grapefruit, $130,000 for mandarins and $100,000 for oranges.

In early August, Indian River area grower George Hamner discussed greasy green disorder with Citrus Industry magazine. He said the disorder, which looks like greasy spot, reduced fresh packouts late last season.

Also at Packinghouse Day, grower Kim Jones reported on the Cold Hardy Citrus Association, which he serves as president. The association has about 100 members in north Florida, south Georgia and south Alabama.

Groves in the association’s region range from 5 to 175 acres, with most of them being smaller blocks, Jones said. He added that about 500,000 trees have been planted in the area since 2014.

Growers in the region originally planted mostly Satsumas, but new navel oranges, Sugar Belles and other mandarins are now being planted. Jones said there are four packinghouses in the region, and another is being built.

He said cold winters in the region help suppress the HLB-spreading Asian citrus psyllid, but that “we’re not immune to it by any means.”

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Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large

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