By Jake Price
Rubidoux is considered the standard rootstock for Georgia, but it was not obtainable from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-certified nurseries in Florida in 2014 and 2015 because it is not a rootstock used in Florida. It is a proven rootstock in Georgia known for cold hardiness but did not perform well in a multiyear trial. The chart shows the average yield per tree per year on different rootstocks.
The Owari rootstock trial was planted in 2014 with USDA-certified trees originating from nurseries in Florida. Trees were planted 12 feet between trees and 20 feet between rows. In 2014, six rootstocks were planted, and in 2015 three more rootstocks were added. In 2016, Rubidoux was planted but those trees were two years behind and never caught up in size or yield.
The total yield shows the average yield of a tree on that rootstock added up over the years of production. For instance, the average tree on X-639 rootstock yielded 1,481 pounds of fruit since 2016. The top six yielding trees were the ones planted in 2014 followed by the three planted in 2015. The youngest trees on Rubidoux had the least yield.
Yields in 2021 were by far the best. Owari tends to alternate bear, and yields were down as expected in 2022. 2023 should have been a big year, but due to the severe freezes at the end of 2022, the yields, for the most part, were lower. The information in the chart gives an idea of the potential productivity of Owari scion on these rootstocks. Since these trees were planted in different years, the yield efficiency will give a better comparison of rootstocks, but that date is not available yet. The yield efficiency is the total size or volume of the tree in relation to the yield.
Jake Price is a county Extension coordinator for University of Georgia Extension.
Source: Georgia Citrus Association
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