See the issues that cause citrus fruit splitting and the steps to take to prevent it from happening in your citrus grove.

Florida citrus growers need nearly every piece of fruit to make it to harvest; citrus greening, postbloom fruit drop, and a variety of other diseases and pests are taking a high toll. There’s no room to lose fruit to citrus fruit splitting. A UF/IFAS Tip of the Week article identified fruit splitting as “when the rinds of citrus fruits crack open, exposing the inner pulp.” This renders the fruit unusable. The article also shared the causes behind fruit splitting, and how to avoid it. See it below.

Citrus Fruit Splitting Causes and Prevention

The article shared these causes and preventive measures to combat citrus fruit splitting:

Cause: Irrigation Practices. “Inconsistent watering regimes, particularly irregular watering followed by heavy irrigation, can lead to sudden changes in fruit size and internal pressure. This fluctuation causes the fruit rinds to expand rapidly, leading to splitting.”

Prevention Measures: “Implement a consistent watering schedule, ensuring that citrus trees receive adequate moisture without sudden fluctuations. Drip irrigation systems or soaker hoses can help deliver water directly to the root zone while minimizing surface moisture.”

Cause: Weather Conditions. “Environmental factors such as heavy rain or sudden fluctuations in temperature, humidity and sunlight intensity can stress the fruit, making it more susceptible to splitting. High temperatures followed by sudden cool spells are particularly problematic.”

Prevention Measures: “Stay informed about weather forecasts and take preventive measures during periods of heavy rain or extreme temperature changes. Providing shade or using protective covers during heatwaves can help reduce stress on the fruit.”

Cause: Soil Conditions. “Poor soil drainage and nutrient imbalance can affect the overall health of citrus trees, making them more susceptible to fruit splitting. Imbalanced soil pH levels and deficiencies in essential nutrients like calcium and boron can exacerbate the problem.”

Prevention Measures: “Maintain well-draining soil and conduct regular soil tests to ensure proper nutrient levels. Amend the soil as needed to correct pH imbalances and nutrient deficiencies. Applying mulch around the base of trees helps regulate soil moisture and temperature.”

Cause: Fruit Thinning. “Overcrowded tree fruit clusters can compete for nutrients and sunlight, leading to irregular fruit development.”

Prevention Measures: “Thinning out excess fruit early in the growing season helps distribute resources more evenly among the remaining fruits, reducing the likelihood of splitting. To promote uniform fruit development, thin out excess clusters early in the season. Aim for a spacing of 6 to 8 inches between individual fruits to reduce competition and ensure optimal nutrient uptake.”

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.