Studying Tree Damage From Hurricane Winds

Josh McGillAll In For Citrus Podcast, hurricane

In the latest All In For Citrus podcast, Christopher Vincent, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) assistant professor of tree ecophysiology, discussed a project he is working on in the wake of this season’s hurricanes. He has been tasked to work with growers to survey damage after the storms, specifically how winds harmed groves.

Hurricane Ian winds twisted citrus tree branches.

Hurricane Ian dealt a particularly heavy blow right through the heart of Florida’s citrus acreage. Vincent is surveying the damage in groves and the delayed effect of stress from the storm.

“We realize there is not a lot of great information on how long it takes for a tree to recover from windstorm damage,” Vincent said. “And the hurricane (Ian) had a gradient of varying damage all across the orange production area, so we wanted to take advantage of the storm so we could learn. After future storms, we can hopefully make better predictions of how severe the impacts will be. We know those impacts come just after the storm, but there also are costs of later fruit drop and longer recovery of tree health.”

In the southwest part of Florida, flooding was a big problem, along with significant fruit drop of early-harvested varieties. There also was a large amount of leaf loss, which is a long-term concern for tree health.

Vincent’s project will be studying these effects, along with the success of efforts that growers take to rehabilitate trees. He will note how specific varieties weathered the hurricane. Vincent also will be studying growers’ production programs and how nutrition and the use of plant growth regulators help trees recovery.

Growers with hurricane damage are encouraged to participate in the informal survey. Vincent said the process will not take much time and will benefit the industry after future hurricane events. Vincent can be reached at

Don’t miss an episode of All In For Citrus. The podcast is a partnership between UF/IFAS and AgNet Media.

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