See the ways and means of how one citrus grower in Florida is using high-density citrus plantings to boost production in the face of citrus greening.
Florida’s citrus growers are trying a variety of different methods to try to boost production in the face of citrus greening, and high-density plantings have been at the top of the list. Average citrus grove densities ranged around 100 trees an acre in the days before citrus greening, but high-density groves have doubled, tripled, and even quadrupled those rates. One grower is even going so far as to try super high-density citrus plantings, according to a Growing Produce article. See the details below.
Super High-Density Citrus Plantings
According to the article, Lake Placid grower Horace Durrance has a 14-acre block on his Lost Lake Groves property boasting a density of 908 trees per acre! Durrance’s efforts are aimed at economics, especially in the face of citrus greening. “My father and grandfather would probably roll over in their graves, knowing I am putting this many trees in the ground per acre,” Durrance said in the article. “Back before greening came along, 100 trees per acre worked fine for generations, but now the economics just don’t work, as greening has reduced yields in traditional spacing and densities.”
Takeaways from the article about the high-density plantings include:
- “trees are planted on 12-foot by 4-foot spacing.”
- “Trees are planted on dwarfing rootstocks because the idea is to manage and grow them almost into a hedge, similar to how apple and olive orchards are grown today…”
- Planted in May of 2018, the “Trees already are reaching about 4 feet in height and have developed an extensive root system.” Durrance said a leak in the irrigation system just five weeks after planting gave them an opportunity to dig under the trees, and “In that short amount of time, the roots were already overlapping between trees,” Durrance said.
- “His irrigation placement of one microjet for every two trees since the spacing is so close.”
- “Imidacloprid is being applied with a 1,000-gallon rear sprayer pulled behind a tractor going down every other row rather than using a hand-pump applicator…”
- “For weed control, Durrance built a herbicide boom to attach behind a John Deere Gator.”
- “The nutrition program is built around slow-release fertilizer.” Durrance said “These roots are certainly competing to get that fertilizer. You can see that in the root and tree growth.”
- Durrance is hoping to grow the trees off to be about 7 feet to 8 feet tall and 3 feet to 4 feet wide.
Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.