Georgia Research Projects Underway

Daniel CooperGeorgia, Rootstocks

Jake Price has several citrus rootstock trials in progress.
Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski, UGA

Jake Price, University of Georgia (UGA) county Extension coordinator, recently provided a summary of citrus projects he has been working on:

  • Price is wrapping up data from the multi-year Owari rootstock trial. The data gathered is about total yield, total soluble solids (TSS), titratable acid, canopy volume, yield efficiency, alternate bearing, fruit size and more. The research will tell how different rootstocks influenced Owari satsumas.
  • The same data gathered for the Owari trial is being gathered for a Sugar Belle rootstock trial. Trees are planted on US-897, US-852, Rubidoux and US-942 rootstocks. The data will be gathered over the next several years.
  • A Tango rootstock trial will indicate if that variety will be an option in Georgia. So far, it looks promising. The 10 rootstocks being used are many of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and University of Florida rootstocks that have tolerance to HLB. Price is gathering the same data as in the Owari and Sugar Belle trials.  
  • A Silverhill satsuma trial is using the same rootstocks as the Tango trial. This trial is planted but, to date, is dormant due to time constraints. “Hopefully, with a new citrus specialist, we can ramp this one up,” Price stated. 
  • Data has been gathered on the cold hardiness of rootstocks using Tango, Owari and Sugar Belle scions. Price hopes to have a report written by the end of this year. That data includes canopy loss, foliage loss, limb removal and yields following the 2020 freeze.
  • An assessment of cold hardiness of non-satsuma varieties in southern Georgia and northern Florida will soon be released.
  • Over the last two years, fruit has been gathered from 12 early satsuma varieties in several locations. The TSS, acid and color have been evaluated. Price hopes to see which early variety, if any, has the best potential to grow in Georgia. “As soon as I can get the titratable acidity tested, I can make this data into a UGA publication,” he reported.
  • A satsuma degreening project will likely need more resources in the future, Price said. The citrus industry in Georgia and North Florida has a problem with fruit not completely turning orange when it needs to be harvested. “If we can degreen satsumas, some early varieties can be harvested as early as late September,” Price stated. He said work is being done with a UGA post-harvest specialist.  
  • Price is working with researchers on a pruning and thinning trial. “Currently the industry has a problem with cull fruit,” Price said. “We will hopefully see if pruning and/or thinning will improve fruit quality.”

Source: Georgia Citrus Association

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