See the results of a recent UF/IFAS study that indicates young citrus trees do not benefit from restricted irrigation like mature citrus trees.

Scientists and researchers with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences are looking to give Florida citrus growers whatever advantages over citrus greening they can. It’s the focus behind a recent study that indicates that young citrus trees may benefit from a full irrigation schedule, unlike mature citrus trees, which seem to benefit from restricted irrigation. See the details of the study, shared in a UF/IFAS blog, below.

Young Citrus Trees and Irrigation

According to the UF/IFAS blog, mature citrus trees infected with citrus greening require approximately 25 percent less water on average than citrus trees free from citrus greening, but the study indicated the same was not the case for young citrus trees.

“Over the past few years, there has been interest in the possibility that mature trees with HLB might benefit from temporary irrigation deficits, because when we impose those conditions it can force a tree to improve its water-use efficiency. But our findings indicate that young trees with HLB grew faster when they received what growers would consider a full ration of water,” said Davie Kadyampakeni, an assistant professor with the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred.

The greenhouse study is not the end-all, be-all on young trees and irrigation, however. “These findings are intriguing, but we’re not ready to issue a recommendation yet,” Kadyampakeni said in the UF/IFAS blog. “We need to follow up with field trials, probably over a period of time close to three years, to assess the irrigation needs of young trees under typical industry conditions. You have to remember that this was a greenhouse study, and the vast majority of Florida citrus is grown outdoors.”

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