Explore the attractions of UF/IFAS’s most recently released mandarin variety: Marathon.
The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) has been developing mandarin crosses since the 2000s to give Florida citrus growers an edge in the ever-popular easy-to-peel seedless mandarin market. The latest mandarin variety to be released is Marathon, and it has some distinct attractions for growers, according to a UF/IFAS article. Explore the advantages of Marathon below.
Attractions of Marathon
Marathon is the result of a parental cross that was made in 2004, the same cross that produced Bingo, another popular mandarin variety that should see fruit in the 2019 fruit season, according to the article. The crosses were made by a team led by Fred Gmitter, a UF/IFAS professor of breeding and genetics in order to develop mandarins with a variety of maturity seasons for Florida growers to compete with non-Florida growers. The advantages of Marathon include:
- Early season maturation. It matures by October or earlier.
- A hang time well into December. Gmitter said, ““It’s unique in that it can hold on the tree for a long time and still maintain its fruit quality and post-harvest shelf life.”
- Easy to peel.
- Good flavor.
- Somewhat tolerant of citrus greening.
Licensed citrus nurseries are getting Marathon stock now to create budwood, and Gmitter maintained he though the new marathons would be available to Florida citrus growers as soon as mid to late 2019.
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