Studies undertaken by UF/IFAS concerning growing Citrus Under Protective Screens, or CUPS, show that CUPS maximizes fruit yields.

Florida citrus growers are looking for any way to beat citrus greening, also called HLB. Thus far, growing Citrus Under Protective Screens, or CUPS, has shown promise in keeping the vector that spreads citrus greening, the Asian citrus psyllid, away from citrus trees grown under large mesh tents. Other benefits have been shown as well, including the fact that CUPS maximizes fruit yields, according to a Citrus Industry article. See the details below.

CUPS Maximizes Fruit Yields

Researchers with UF/IFAS have been growing grapefruit utilizing CUPS at a one-acre research plot for the last four years, and they have seen some significant benefits from growing under screens. The biggest advantage is obviously that the trees have been citrus greening-free for the full four years of the study.

Researchers have also seen that CUPS maximizes fruit yields. According to the article, current grapefruit yields average 166 boxes per acre per year. In the four years of the study, the grapefruit grown using CUPS averaged 525 boxes per acre per year, with years three and four seeing 797 and 892 boxes produced per acre per year, respectively.

Arnold Schumann, a UF/IFAS soil and water sciences professor heading the study, said in the article: “HLB reduces profits for fresh citrus producers in many ways. Production costs are higher due to increased needs to use pesticides and fertilizers, and fruit production is harmed by stunted tree growth, reduced fruit set and pre-harvest fruit drop, among other factors.”

Researchers also believe these CUPS-specific factors have increased yields, increased fruit size, and induced earlier yields, according to the article:

  • “High-density planting
  • A hydroponic system with trees growing in pots, instead of soil, and inducing early, large blooms.
  • Drip fertigation — a combination of fertilizer and irrigation — applied several times per day”

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.