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

All Vegetables Stories >All Fruits Stories >All Nuts Stories >All Citrus Stories >

The Latest

LaborWestern Growers President Speaks Out About Passage Of C…
September 29, 2014
California Governor Jerry Brown recently vetoed a Senate Bill 25 and approved Assembly Bill 1897. Read More
BerriesDrought Could Impact Spring California Strawberry Crop
September 29, 2014
Ventura County expects reduction of acres planted as surface water availability takes a hit. Read More
Apples & PearsUnusual Weather Slows Michigan Apple Maturity
September 29, 2014
Fruit may have lower Brix levels, soluble solids lower than normal. Read More
BerriesFlorida Blueberry Growers Ready To Rise To The Occasion…
September 29, 2014
Florida Blueberry Growers Association president Dudley Calfee provides state of the industry insight. Read More
CitrusFlorida Announces Its 2014 Woman Of The Year In Agricul…
September 29, 2014
Longtime award recognizes women who have made outstanding contributions to the state’s farming sector. Read More
FruitsNational Security May Depend On A Healthy Diet [Opinion…
September 29, 2014
Your bottom line as well as the future of our country will depend on promoting healthy eating to the next generation. Read More
CitrusFlorida Produce Industry Embracing Progress, Confrontin…
September 29, 2014
Production pressures and politics hot topics at FFVA’s 71st Annual Convention. Read More
BerriesDon’t Let Your Guard Slip When Taking On Thrips
September 27, 2014
Tiny insect pests can present big problems for blueberry growers. Read More
CitrusFlorida Farmers Finding Ways To Cultivate An Environmen…
September 26, 2014
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam salutes producers putting their best management practices forward. Read More
CitrusGrowers Should Partner Wisely To Stay Afloat Amid WOTUS…
September 26, 2014
According to Florida Grower editor Frank Giles, the Clean Water Act is muddying waters for farmers. Read More
GrapesCalifornia Winegrape Industry Leaders Adapt To Drought
September 26, 2014
State’s players stand in good stead despite numerous challenges, surveys show. Read More
GrapesGet Ready For Unified Symposium
September 26, 2014
Registration and housing slated for industry’s biggest event to open Oct. 28, and the hotel rooms go fast. Read More
BerriesIs The Diaprepes Root Weevil An Emerging Blueberry Pes…
September 26, 2014
Reports indicate longtime citrus nuisance might be tempted by the fruit of another. Read More
PotatoesIdaho Potato Commission Appoints New Commissioners
September 26, 2014
Hardy and Blanksma to serve three-year terms; Christensen reappointed. Read More
PotatoesNorthwest Potato Crop Value Up 2% From 2012
September 26, 2014
The Idaho, Washington, and Oregon combined potato crop is valued at $1.98 billion for 2013. Read More
Farm ManagementUSDA Takes Steps To Help Farmers Manage Risk
September 25, 2014
New programs offers farmers protection against price drops and additional unforeseen risks. Read More
Insect ControlTake The Battle To Bagrada Bugs
September 25, 2014
Crops Affected The bagrada bug (Bagrada hilaris) is a type of stinkbug that can cause substantial damage to cruciferous crops Read More
BerriesBeat Blueberry Gall Midge
September 25, 2014
Due diligence required in the identification, tracking, and control of this flying fiend. Read More