See tips for summer citrus tree care with an eye towards improving fruit quality, retention, and yield.
Summer finds citrus trees developing and bearing fruit, so it’s an important time for citrus tree maintenance. Two UF/IFAS assistant professors shared summer citrus tree care practices that can improve fruit quality, retention, and yield, in a Citrus Industry article. See their tips below.
Summer Citrus Tree Care Tips
UF/IFAS assistant professors Fernando Alferez and Tripti Vashisth shared the following practices for summer citrus tree care that can improve yield and fruit quality, and increase fruit retention:
- After the “May-June drop, nutritional requirements for fruit development decrease compared with spring. As a rule of thumb, any time there is growth in the tree, nutrient supply should be higher so there are enough nutrients available.”
- “Potassium (K) increases fruit size, especially if applied in summer.” “later summer applications can be performed in a wetter-than-normal summer.”
- “Preliminary experiments indicate that removal of fruitlets increases fruit detachment force FDF in maturing or nearly mature Hamlin fruit.” The writers advise that “removing the off-bloom fruitlets could be a strategy to maintain mature fruit on the tree and increase yield.”
- “Traditionally, for juice-producing varieties such as Hamlin oranges, light maintenance pruning through hedging can be conducted throughout the summer with no effects on fruit yield. Severe pruning should be avoided as loss of canopy can result in significant fruit drop.” Additionally, “In Valencia oranges or late-harvested grapefruit, hedging may be problematic due to overlapping canopies. In this case, hedging should be performed in late spring, after the old crop has been harvested and the new crop is already set.”
- “In HLB or canker-affected trees, hedging and topping in early summer may induce heavy flushing in late summer and contribute to increased populations of leafminers and psyllids, which spread canker and HLB, respectively.”
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