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.
Eye On Inventory