Explore the benefits of off-season flower management in Florida citrus groves, especially with concerns like citrus greening and postbloom fruit drop.

Like people, stress makes citrus trees do strange things. According to a Citrus Industry article written by UF/IFAS employees, stressors like citrus greening, heat, cold, drought, and more can cause citrus trees to flower in the off season or to have prolonged periods of flowering. Off-season flower management can benefit citrus trees in many ways; explore them below.

Benefits of Off-Season Flowering Management

One of the main benefits of managing off-season flowers in citrus is to combat postbloom fruit drop, or PFD, a fungal infection that causes flowers and young fruit to fall off the citrus tree. Spread by rain and high temperatures, PFD can seriously affect yield. Suppressing off-season flowering has the following benefits, according to the article, in the face of PFD:

  1. “Compressed and synchronized flowering period can be efficiently targeted with fungicides.
  2. With a shorter flowering period, fungicide use can be reduced.
  3. Reduced inoculum build-up in the tree during off-season
  4. Profuse flowering of citrus provides plenty of opportunity for the fungus to flourish; fewer flowers could reduce potential locations for fungal growth.”

There are other benefits too. The article cited a 3-year study that started in 2016 using the plant hormone gibberellic acid (GA) to reduce off-season flowers on both Valencias and Navels. The study showed that GA reduced off-season flowers without affecting yield and may have shown that it could actually improve yields. Extraneous flowering that does not result in harvestable fruit is a waste of the tree’s resources, so reducing flowering could help create healthier citrus trees.

Furthermore, the study also found that trees treated with GA had a “significantly higher” fruit detachment force (FDF), or the “force required to remove the fruit from the peduncle of the twig,” than those trees not treated with GA. This is significant in helping secure harvests in the face of PFD.

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.