Research conducted by UF/IFAS citrus scientists on reducing fruit drop and increasing yields offers takeaways for Florida citrus growers.

Fruit drop is a major problem for Florida citrus growers dealing with citrus greening, bad weather, and a host of other issues. Dropped fruit is not harvestable and reduces yields and profits. Two UF/IFAS citrus scientists have been studying the best options for reducing fruit drop, according to a Citrus Industry article, and their research has turned up takeaways for Florida citrus growers. See the details below.

Takeaways on Reducing Fruit Drop

According to the article, fruit drop is on the rise. Usual fruit drop from a healthy tree would be about 10 to 15 percent, but with the rise of citrus greening 25 percent became the norm, and some growers are seeing upwards of 50 percent fruit drop. UF/IFAS scientists Tripti Vashisth and Fernando Alferez have been looking at reducing fruit drop, and have come away with the following points:

  • Removing Fruitlets. According to the article, their preliminary research has indicated that removing fruitlets from off-blooms in mature Hamlin oranges leads to more mature fruit hanging onto citrus trees.
  • Fruit Development. Alferez said in the article, “we have found that fruit drop is associated with fruit development. Small fruit are more likely to drop.”
  • Carbohydrates. The article maintains that research indicates that “insufficient carbohydrates do not cause fruit drop,” and that researchers recommend “good irrigation and nutrition practices during the fruit-development period.”
  • Gibberellic Acid. Applying gibberellic acid during fruit development can help reduce fruit drop.
  • Causes. Fruit drop is caused by a host of issues, including citrus greening and competition for resources between mature fruit and fruitlets, and research is continuing.

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