Mike Roberts

Time for Citrus Growers to Switch Gears for Fall

As citrus growers enter the season buoyed by the positive USDA forecast and success with OTC injections, there’s a whole host of other issues to keep an eye on. Gene McAvoy, owner of Have Gun Will Travel Agricultural Consulting and Regional Vegetable/Horticulture Extension Agent IV Emeritus, shares issues that growers should focus on this fall. 

Irrigation can be a tricky time of year because the change in seasons calls for growers to adjust their irrigation schedules. We’re coming out of the rainy season, so many growers have their irrigation schedule dialed back. But we’ve experienced quite a dry couple of months, making it more important than ever to make sure trees are getting enough water. This is especially important for growers who don’t use sensors. Don’t forget to factor in evapotranspiration and be on the lookout for fruit drop. Anything that stresses a tree will make fruit drop worse, and this includes a lack of water.

While there’s less to worry about in the fall when it comes to disease, McAvoy says fall often means an increase in foggy mornings. That fog moves canker around as easily as rain, especially if there are consecutive foggy days.

For growers using brassinosteroids, timing is key. Use of brassinosteroids roughly six weeks before harvest can boost  brix levels and help with fruit maturity and quality.

The UF/IFAS citrus Extension agents are a wealth of knowledge and experience, McAvoy reiterates, so don’t leave that resource untapped. 

The healthier the tree, the better its odds of survival. Obviously, water is essential, but trees with greening need magnesium and iron. Soil testing and tissue testing can help determine how much is needed.

BIO: Mike Roberts is the Vice President of the Frostproof, Fla.-based Griffin Fertilizer Co. Roberts joined the company in November 2011. He has spent the majority of his career in the fertilizer/agchem industry. Roberts earned a Bachelor of Science degree in citrus production from Florida Southern College in Lakeland. For more information, visit griffinfertilizer.com.

This column is sponsored by Griffin Fertilizer Co., and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of CFAN or of its advertisers.

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