Rooting Problems in Citrus Trees

Tacy CalliesRoot health

Kim Jones

Rooting issues in citrus containers were a major problem this year for growers in Georgia.

Kim Jones, who farms citrus in Georgia and Florida, implores producers to inspect their trees extensively before planting them. He said there were various reports of j-rooting and circle-rooting in container plants. Trees with these problems are more vulnerable to high-stress environmental conditions if left undetected before planted in the ground.

“It’ll survive, it just won’t thrive,” Jones said. “That’s what happened this year in Georgia. We lost so many trees.”

Jones explains that j-rooting occurs when the tap root turns up in the ground. “It goes down and turns up,” he says. “Circle-rooting is when the tree reaches the edges of the pot, and it starts going around and around. That’s worse than the j-rooting … It won’t kill a tree, but it can put it in stress. When cold temperatures come, that’s when you wind up getting the problem with it. It will kill the tree. That’s what happened this year. About every tree that we pulled up that was dead had a circle-rooting problem.”

Jones says the responsibility is on the grower to inspect the roots before they go into the ground.

“It can be mitigated at the time of planting, but growers have to look for it,” Jones said. “When they pull it out of the pot, they knock the dirt off it, and they see it there. They clip it. The tree can survive once you do that.”

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Clint Thompson