Regular flower bud advisories from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) were restarted Nov. 21 and will be provided every other week through early spring. Associate Professor Tripti Vashisth provides the advisories.
The advisories provide critical information about the intensity and time of citrus blooms. Growers use this information to determine when to spray for Asian citrus psyllid control as well as when to stop pesticide spraying so that pollinating bees may be moved into or placed near citrus blocks.
“This is going to be a La Niña winter, which means Florida will experience temperatures warmer than normal,” Vashisth said. “Rainfall pattern, though, is not very clear but it is expected to be below average for at least until the end of the year. It is going to be warmer and drier for the next few weeks. The precipitation pattern for February to March is still unclear. Under these conditions, enough hours below 68 degrees Fahrenheit are likely to accumulate to induce an economic level of flower buds, but intermediate warm periods during the winter can lead to multiple flower cohorts and a prolonged bloom.”
Flower bud advisories are driven by the Citrus Flowering Monitor, which predicts dates when citrus trees will bloom based on observed and predicted weather patterns and other parameters (cultivar, expected yield, tree age and soil type). Growers can enter parameters specific to their grove to get a prediction. Knowing the bloom date is important for managing bloom and other related events. The Citrus Flowering Monitor also gives specific recommendations on how to manage bloom.
This year, flowering can be unpredictable not only because of the upcoming weather conditions but also because of the impacts of hurricanes Ian and Nicole. Vashisth does not expect to see significant early flowering, but she does expect to see two to three cohorts of flowering.
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