Wood To Chop

Citrus Nursery Source: Wood To Chop

The mandated conversion of Florida’s citrus nursery segment to insect-proof facilities, in response to the threat from HLB, has affected more operational functions than meets the eye. Florida’s citrus nurseries were faced with an extreme challenge, and they responded with innovation and resiliency. Though Florida’s citrus nursery capacity lags behind the slowly recovering demand, significant progress has been made in a short period of time. If pressed five years ago to predict that Florida’s citrus nursery capacity would be as healthy as it is today, most of our predictions would have missed the mark.

The conversion of traditional nurseries to insect-proof facilities affected many aspects of nursery operations; but perhaps none more significantly than budwood increase. There was a time when citrus nurseries could supply their own budwood needs from outdoor budwood sources. It was not unusual for outdoor budwood source trees to produce up to 20,000 buds annually. Although nurseries were permitted under the old system to produce mother trees of their own, nurseries also could rely on the Department of Plant Industry (DPI) for large orders of the most frequently planted varieties.

Paradigm Shift

There are two primary factors that have changed the way budwood is increased in Florida. First, there are more varieties today than there were 10 years ago, and it is anticipated that dozens of new varieties will be introduced in Florida over the next decade. The addition of new varieties places great strain on DPI’s resources, as budwood must be increased rapidly to enable nurseries to establish their own increase blocks. Second, indoor budwood increase trees are smaller, and therefore produce far fewer buds per tree than traditional outdoor source trees. DPI has finite resources, and simply cannot expand greenhouse capacity to the point where it can multiply large amounts of budwood for every new variety under trial.
 
These factors necessitate an important change in the way Florida citrus nurseries function. As new varieties are made available, nurseries will need to determine which varieties are likely to command the attention of their client base. Nurseries must determine how much space should be reasonably dedicated to each new variety, and budwood increase must become a planned and purposeful aspect of operations. However, the movement of the state budwood increase process under screen transfers some responsibility for increase to the private nursery. It would serve nurseries well to monitor the progress of new citrus varieties, and make early decisions on which varieties are worthy of capacity.

Eye On Inventory

Early budwood increase of new varieties will enable the nursery to establish sufficient capacity for tree orders in approximately three years. The reality of the situation is that if a client wishes to order trees of an emerging new variety (e.g., Tango, Sugar Belle, or Valquarius), and the nursery must begin budwood increase from the time of the order, the grower will not receive trees for roughly four years. If the order is large, it may take longer, which translates into an order lost.
 
DPI will now provide nurseries with a starter set of buds, from which mother trees and increase trees can be started. In some cases, buds produced the first couple years will be channeled back into budwood increase. Obviously, there will not be enough screen-house space to follow this plan for each new variety that comes along at every nursery. Stay informed, monitor variety development activities, and start early on the ones that have the most potential for your customers. Together, we can replant this industry.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
Grapes
February 18, 2017
Sustainability Is a Growing Factor in Wine Purchasing
California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance updates certification program, shows sustainability is important part of wine trade. Read More
citrus psyllid closeup
Insect & Disease Update
February 18, 2017
The War on Citrus Psyllids Still Raging
Despite control challenges, keeping the pest in check remains the best approach to managing HLB. Read More
IMPAC.org screenshot
Citrus
February 17, 2017
How Precision Agriculture Is Helping Farmers Win Over Consumers
New Florida-based organization is seeking to break down barriers between farmers and shoppers by providing a platform to not only show what it is grown, but how it's grown. Read More
Grapes
February 17, 2017
Washington Organization Rebrands Itself
Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers unveils new identity at convention, now known as Washington Winegrowers Association. Read More
Registration area at the 2017 Florida Blueberry Growers Association Spring Meeting
Berries
February 17, 2017
Florida Blueberry Growers Counting on a Comeback
With last season's disaster in the rear view, all eyes are searching for bluer skies. Read More
Agras MG-1 agriculture drone
Equipment
February 17, 2017
Wanted: Tech Innovators for Drone Challenge
Land O'Lakes Prize offers up $150,000 to help make drones more useable for farmers Read More
Fruits
February 17, 2017
Are Drones the Future of Pollination?
Researchers in Japan have turned drones into robot bees as artificial pollinators. Read More
GenNext Growers
February 16, 2017
Young Start-Up Hort Tech Companies Honored
Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology Scholarships promote sustainability. Read More
GenNext Growers
February 16, 2017
Young Farmer Success Act Reintroduced to Congress
Bill to add young growers to Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Read More
Fruits
February 16, 2017
New App Helps Fruit Growers Calculate Chill Hours
App helps growers calculate chill hours based on locations and models and assess physiological needs of fruit crops. Read More
The Latest
Grapes
February 18, 2017
Sustainability Is a Growing Factor in Wi…
California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance updates certification program, shows sustainability is important part of wine trade. Read More
Insect & Disease Update
February 18, 2017
The War on Citrus Psyllids Still Raging
Despite control challenges, keeping the pest in check remains the best approach to managing HLB. Read More
Citrus
February 17, 2017
How Precision Agriculture Is Helping Far…
New Florida-based organization is seeking to break down barriers between farmers and shoppers by providing a platform to not only show what it is grown, but how it's grown. Read More
Grapes
February 17, 2017
Washington Organization Rebrands Itself
Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers unveils new identity at convention, now known as Washington Winegrowers Association. Read More
Berries
February 17, 2017
Florida Blueberry Growers Counting on a …
With last season's disaster in the rear view, all eyes are searching for bluer skies. Read More
Equipment
February 17, 2017
Wanted: Tech Innovators for Drone Challe…
Land O'Lakes Prize offers up $150,000 to help make drones more useable for farmers Read More
Fruits
February 17, 2017
Are Drones the Future of Pollination?
Researchers in Japan have turned drones into robot bees as artificial pollinators. Read More
GenNext Growers
February 16, 2017
Young Start-Up Hort Tech Companies Honor…
Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology Scholarships promote sustainability. Read More
GenNext Growers
February 16, 2017
Young Farmer Success Act Reintroduced to…
Bill to add young growers to Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Read More
Fruits
February 16, 2017
New App Helps Fruit Growers Calculate Ch…
App helps growers calculate chill hours based on locations and models and assess physiological needs of fruit crops. Read More
Citrus
February 16, 2017
Food Trends Driving Growth Opportunities…
More niche markets emerging for growers to give consumers what they want and need. Read More
Vegetables
February 15, 2017
Tanimura & Antle Will Now Be Partial…
The third-generation farming company takes employee commitment to the next level Read More
Business Planning
February 15, 2017
Are Retailers Your New Competition?
Target will be following a trend that is already under way in Germany and China: offering shoppers greens that are grown right there in the store. Read More
Citrus
February 15, 2017
Florida Citrus Community Loses Longtime …
John Merritt, known as an innovative grower and staunch industry advocate, was 60. Read More
Farm Management
February 14, 2017
Californians Holding Breath as More Stor…
Nearly 200,000 people evacuated below nation’s tallest dam; even growers have had enough for now. Read More
Stone Fruit
February 14, 2017
Georgia Peach Growers Brace for Low Chil…
Last year trees netted almost 700 chill hours; however, Extension agent expects that figure to drop to 600 hours this year. Read More
Grapes
February 14, 2017
2016 California Winegrape Crush Up 9%
Prices were up 12%, and red wine grapes continue to gain on white wine grapes in popularity, though ‘Chardonnay’ remained king. Read More
Berries
February 14, 2017
Wish Farms Shows Love With Super-Sized S…
More than 4,000 pounds of locally grown produce from Central Florida farming operation goes to help feed needy families in the Tampa area. Read More