Author Topic: Is there any citrus still worth growing in south FL?  (Read 2370 times)

TheVeggieProfessor

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Is there any citrus still worth growing in south FL?
« on: February 02, 2023, 09:13:37 AM »
Are all citrus varieties too high maintenance and disease prone to warrant growing? Or are there any species that are still relatively maintenance free? I'm in west broward county BTW>

skhan

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Re: Is there any citrus still worth growing in south FL?
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2023, 09:31:19 AM »
Are all citrus varieties too high maintenance and disease prone to warrant growing? Or are there any species that are still relatively maintenance free? I'm in west broward county BTW>

I've been looking into it and growing a few things for fun.

Random thoughts and observations in no particular order:

One of the forum members recommended netting the trees, and that seemed to work well for him.

I personally just plant the $10 citrus from Home depot and replace them every 2-3 years (Lemon, Lime, Calamondin)

I have sugar bell growing and though it might be greening tolerant, it does look like crap more often than not.

It's possible to grow them well enough here but it is higher maintenance than something like Mango or Avocado.
For me, with 40 other trees, It's too hard to constantly spray things and I don't think I'd like the aesthetic of netting the whole tree.

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roblack

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Re: Is there any citrus still worth growing in south FL?
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2023, 09:45:43 AM »
Kumquats and fingerlimes do best from what I know.

Timbogrow

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Re: Is there any citrus still worth growing in south FL?
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2023, 10:11:11 AM »
In my opinion the citrus industry has no future in florida unless we take measures to destroy all the plants for a decade or more so that MAYBE there is a future industry. They don't care about that though with the amount they sell their only in it for $ and don't give 2 hoots what happens or how resistant they are to disease. My 2 verigated lemons I have 3 yrs now just started flowering and now seems the nematodes are devouring the roots and the canopies are thinning out, looking like crap. Too much work to replace trees every few years to keep the disease alive. I'm never buying another stupid citrus tree anyway. Mango is king anyway so don't waste your 3 years to have you plant eaten up above and below ground.

Tropheus76

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Re: Is there any citrus still worth growing in south FL?
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2023, 10:37:00 AM »
Supposedly if you grow a citrus under an oak canopy with oak leaf mulch you are more likely to have less problems. I am experimenting with this currently in a neighboring wooded lot. I know I see a lot of citrus in pine farms under the canopy and they appear from the road to be doing quite well.

Flgarden

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Re: Is there any citrus still worth growing in south FL?
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2023, 11:54:54 AM »
Over the years i lost so many oranges
lumes and mandarins trees. Only bearss lemon, kumquat are doind well long term and an unknown orange grown from seed, with minimal attention and care is surviving cold weather, fruit are sweet, no diseases.
Ana
Ana

FloridaManDan

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Re: Is there any citrus still worth growing in south FL?
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2023, 12:46:14 PM »
Kumquats and fingerlimes do best from what I know.

My exact experience. May just be my luck, but my Japanese Yuzu (C. junos) is thriving; wont fruit for a year or two though.
Even though the variegated centennial kumquat had good bug resistance, I still replaced it with a container starfruit. Much easier to deal with.

As far as planting by oaks, supposedly best way to fight citrus greening. Has to be planted in the ground though, some sort of symbiosis in the soil or something idk. Likely will still require sprays.

FruitGrower

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Re: Is there any citrus still worth growing in south FL?
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2023, 01:31:49 PM »



I may be the proponent of netting that skhan was referencing. I grow my citrus in containers under a protective netting. For sure itís not aesthetically pleasing, but if you can get over that, citrus is not that hard in S. Florida. The one thing I have noticed with the netting is that the trees are more prone to fungal issues as the netting gets wet and retains moisture and restricts airflow. Hereís a pic of my Excalibur red lime with some fruit.

Timbogrow

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Re: Is there any citrus still worth growing in south FL?
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2023, 02:05:04 PM »
South florida says there's no point and if you keep buying them the end isn't in sight. This property had all kinds of citrus dead as dead gets, I tried bringing some back but there's no point. and even if you have a good rootstock that things gonna get infected above ground eventually. The nets good for above ground problems (til the thorns and wind rips holes in it and your wallet) but won't do a thing vs nematodes. Florida citrus industry is a ridiculous battle for what, to keep the chemical pesticide companies in business? A mediocre orange/yellow fruit I can buy at the store is not worth the effort. There's too many other trees that perform 100x better without the pest battle. Your going to me mad as heck 3 years later when your ripping the dumb thing out and you got nothing to eat. Big waste of effort.

EddieF

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Re: Is there any citrus still worth growing in south FL?
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2023, 03:00:27 PM »
2 yrs ago i planted a 15gal Ortanique & Flame grapefruit.  Leaf miners are my problem.
Bifenthrin gets them but needs reapplying & i'm busy enough.
Drenched them both with kelp a couple times recently, fertilizer, sulfur, gypsum, they're looking better.
No i will not plant citrus again.

Nematodes- interesting one of you said they're eating roots yet their suggested for weevils.
I chose 1/2oz/gal bifenthrin for weevils on my mangos & they vanished 99% after 1 spray.  No drench.

daisyguy

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Re: Is there any citrus still worth growing in south FL?
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2023, 03:07:49 PM »
Kumquats and fingerlimes do best from what I know.

My exact experience. May just be my luck, but my Japanese Yuzu (C. junos) is thriving; wont fruit for a year or two though.
Even though the variegated centennial kumquat had good bug resistance, I still replaced it with a container starfruit. Much easier to deal with.

As far as planting by oaks, supposedly best way to fight citrus greening. Has to be planted in the ground though, some sort of symbiosis in the soil or something idk. Likely will still require sprays.

I think the oak tree stuff turned out to be bunk but UF hasn't pulled their old news releases from the internet so the advice keeps getting circulated around. It's been years with no followup from them about it.

Calusa

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Re: Is there any citrus still worth growing in south FL?
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2023, 05:16:39 PM »



I may be the proponent of netting that skhan was referencing. I grow my citrus in containers under a protective netting. For sure itís not aesthetically pleasing, but if you can get over that, citrus is not that hard in S. Florida. The one thing I have noticed with the netting is that the trees are more prone to fungal issues as the netting gets wet and retains moisture and restricts airflow. Hereís a pic of my Excalibur red lime with some fruit.

I have a Tango and a Sugar Belle in the ground covered in netting which will remain for 2-3 years, when hopefully the trees will be large and healthy enough to sustain the inevitable HLB psyllid damage and produce some healthy fruit.

FloridaManDan

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Re: Is there any citrus still worth growing in south FL?
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2023, 05:28:36 PM »
Sucks about the oak tree thing, suppose everyone just wants to be hopeful lol.

I agree with ya timbogrow, if you cant fight the bug on a manageable scale, scale down. And it looks like that scale goes all the way down to each individual tree cause spraying the groves doesn't do jack. But thats likely never going to happen, and citrus greening is in like 7+ states and US territories, so its never going away no matter how strictly they regulate imports in the state.

Dont forget to give credit to every big box store selling the citrus trees like candy. Its nice to get a good deal on some things, but like so many people have no idea what theyre getting into and just buy a citrus tree and plant it without background research. Probably hard for people in this forum to grasp that concept haha. Seriously though, I have met so many people that have citrus trees around here that dont amend soil, fertilize, or spray ever, just cause Florida = Oranges.

If its never going away, I say why not try on a small scale. Pick from the plants mentioned in this thread and avoid those recommended against. Keep it sheltered, netted, and overall healthy and in a few years maybe itll be worth it. Or maybe it wont. Your choice!

Timbogrow

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Re: Is there any citrus still worth growing in south FL?
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2023, 05:44:23 PM »
I'm gonna go chop out my caterpillar/sri lanken weavil/aphid/nematode/canker buffet so I'll be free from now on. I can't bear the though of feeding the problem.

Timbogrow

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Re: Is there any citrus still worth growing in south FL?
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2023, 05:51:20 PM »
Dont forget to give credit to every big box store selling the citrus trees like candy.
I say the same thing when all they sell are magnets for problems. I like taking care of a challenge but a treatment doesn't cure much anything.

Timbogrow

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Re: Is there any citrus still worth growing in south FL?
« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2023, 06:53:09 PM »
R.I.P.


FruitGrower

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Re: Is there any citrus still worth growing in south FL?
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2023, 07:09:47 PM »



I may be the proponent of netting that skhan was referencing. I grow my citrus in containers under a protective netting. For sure itís not aesthetically pleasing, but if you can get over that, citrus is not that hard in S. Florida. The one thing I have noticed with the netting is that the trees are more prone to fungal issues as the netting gets wet and retains moisture and restricts airflow. Hereís a pic of my Excalibur red lime with some fruit.

I have a Tango and a Sugar Belle in the ground covered in netting which will remain for 2-3 years, when hopefully the trees will be large and healthy enough to sustain the inevitable HLB psyllid damage and produce some healthy fruit.

Good luck!

Calusa

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Re: Is there any citrus still worth growing in south FL?
« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2023, 08:28:12 AM »
Thanks. I will not be using any systemic insecticides or herbicides on or around these trees. I fortified the soil a few weeks ago with composted pine bark and topsoil and coffee grounds to acidify the soil. Planted the trees on 2/1/23 and as I mentioned, have them covered with citrus tree netting. I'll be adding an oak leaf compost/mulch around them in a few weeks and feeding them with a non-organic 6-4-6 with micronutrients and foliar/drench of liquid Peters Classic Citrus 20-10-20 also with micronutrients.

This is as much an experiment as it is a strong desire to grow some delicious, edible fruit. In a few years I want to be able to say that it was a true success, or that in spite of all of my effort it was an abject failure. I'll keep you posted.

bulldawg305

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Re: Is there any citrus still worth growing in south FL?
« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2023, 08:40:20 AM »
Kumquats and fingerlimes do best from what I know.

My exact experience. May just be my luck, but my Japanese Yuzu (C. junos) is thriving; wont fruit for a year or two though.
Even though the variegated centennial kumquat had good bug resistance, I still replaced it with a container starfruit. Much easier to deal with.

As far as planting by oaks, supposedly best way to fight citrus greening. Has to be planted in the ground though, some sort of symbiosis in the soil or something idk. Likely will still require sprays.

I think the oak tree stuff turned out to be bunk but UF hasn't pulled their old news releases from the internet so the advice keeps getting circulated around. It's been years with no followup from them about it.

Not sure exactly how or why this works, but I have seen plenty of citrus growing in the understory of oak hammocks and swamps that are healthy. This is also within a mile of an old citrus grove where all the trees are dead or look like crap.






After seeing this, I finally got inspired to test it out and plant an orange tree under oaks. It's only been in ground for 1 year, and it actually looks healthy with dark green leaves. I have another planted in an open space and almost all the new growth gets destroyed by leaf minors. Also, for the one in the open, I tried putting a heavy oak-leaf mulch around it but seems to have no benefits.

SaltwaterTx

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Calusa

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Re: Is there any citrus still worth growing in south FL?
« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2023, 09:34:44 AM »
bulldawg305 - those trees do look pretty healthy. Have you eaten any fruit from them?

achetadomestica

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Re: Is there any citrus still worth growing in south FL?
« Reply #21 on: February 03, 2023, 09:36:11 AM »
Yesterday I went up 27 from 29 to Avon Park.
I was amazed to see acres and acres of restarts in one area and
right next to it the next grove had nets around their restarts throughout
the mature trees? For a dead industry the big companies are still planting
for the future? In my area Duda was planting thousands of acres the past few
years as well. I know an ex grove manager and he said if greening would not
have happened orange juice would have been 10 cents a gallon with the supply
from the US and Brazil and Mexico. I think we are being played?

Personally I have one Kishu tree and it produces about 250 small
seedless tangerines a year. It has greening and looks a little rough
but it's more than enough for me. Like most tangerines it ripens in
the Fall before we have any cool weather and the tangerines are not sweet.
They are tangy and decent but no where close to CA tangerines.
One good tangerine for Florida is the Murcott. It ripens around March
and has the benefit of cool weather. It is a seedy tangerine but I saw there
was a seedless murcott now available but I didn't pursue it.
Citrus is a labor intensive tree but not impossible to grow in
Florida. With the greening it is recommended to fertilize monthly
including the Winter. I have access to free cricket frass and the first
of every month a put a scoop or two around all my trees. For the leaf
minor I hit the tree with imidacloprid every 90 days which is not hard
to mix and drench the roots. After the tree becomes large the leaf minor
only attacks the new flushes. I don't hit them when the tree is flowering
I wait until April and then July and that takes care of most of the leaf minor
The past couple seasons I have skipped the imidacloprid. It doesn't hurt
the fruit production
« Last Edit: February 03, 2023, 10:02:27 AM by achetadomestica »

bulldawg305

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Re: Is there any citrus still worth growing in south FL?
« Reply #22 on: February 03, 2023, 11:03:07 AM »
bulldawg305 - those trees do look pretty healthy. Have you eaten any fruit from them?

Yes, all the oranges I have tried have been sour and have used them as a marinade for cooking. However the grapefruit are the best I have had. They are full of seeds but very large, juicy with a pale flesh. They taste sweet and sour with minimal sulfur taste that most others have. The variety I found online that closest resembles these traits is Duncan.

Calusa

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Re: Is there any citrus still worth growing in south FL?
« Reply #23 on: February 03, 2023, 01:20:10 PM »
bulldawg305 - those trees do look pretty healthy. Have you eaten any fruit from them?

Yes, all the oranges I have tried have been sour and have used them as a marinade for cooking. However the grapefruit are the best I have had. They are full of seeds but very large, juicy with a pale flesh. They taste sweet and sour with minimal sulfur taste that most others have. The variety I found online that closest resembles these traits is Duncan.

OK so the Duncans are in good shape. But the oranges - do you think they are sour because they've come up from below the graft, or maybe planted from seed years ago?

pagnr

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Re: Is there any citrus still worth growing in south FL?
« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2023, 01:46:40 PM »
Oaks are not native here in Australia, and not that common except in parks in cities. I am more inland and not sure I have seen any here.
Any advice as to what species are used for greening protection ?
Think the experiment was with Live Oak, anybody growing Citrus with other species ?
Spanish Cork Oak may grow here, or maybe American Oak species "Out of the South and Texas Too" ?

The Oak treatment sounds interesting, possibly the research can't be commercialised as anyone can grow under oaks or make oak leaf tea.
Maybe that put it on the back burner, unless a specific Oak chemical was isolated and marketed as a treatment.
Still that wouldn't stop the simpler treatment version being used.
A peptide from greening resistant Fingerlimes is also being investigated as a treatment.
Some research into Fingerlime Citrus hybrids, or other Citrus hybrids that have higher resistance is also going on.

 

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