Water Management and Citrus Tree Response to a Humid Climate

in HortScience

Four decades ago, irrigation in much of the southeastern U.S. was considered not sensible economically because of normal rainfall in excess of 1200 mm in some areas. More-recent research has shown that irrigation makes definite economic sense because it can increase production substantially. This is especially true in Florida citrus, where irrigation can increase yield by up to 60%. Drip and microsprinkler irrigation have become popular, and these methods of partial root-zone coverage affect tree water potential and yield. Growing environmental concerns about possible nitrate and pesticide leaching to the groundwater have led to greater emphasis on irrigation management in an area of highly variable rainfall. Rapidly growing population has brought about increased competition for water and greater restrictions on agricultural water use. Reclaimed water, once considered a disposal problem, is now being promoted as a partial solution for periodic water shortages. Discussion will focus on tree response to different irrigation management systems and how agriculture is dealing with greater irrigation restrictions.

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