309 Rapid Growth of Microbudded Citrus Planted Ultra-high Density

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  • 1 Texas A&M University-Kingsville Citrus Center, P.B. 1150, Weslaco, TX 78599

High-density or ultra-high-density orchards have had positive economic return up to 12 years after planting. However, an initial higher investment on more number of trees needed is a limiting factor for high-density planting. Our preliminary studies have shown that a microbudding technique that we had developed would produce less-expensive, budded citrus trees. In June 1997, several hundred microbudded citrus trees were planted in a field, under drip irrigation. The planting continued monthly until Dec. 1997. The cultivars planted were: `Marrs' orange, `Rio Red' grapefruit, `Meyer' and `Ponderosa' lemon, and satsuma mandarin. All plants were microbudded on sour orange rootstock grown in 5′′ long “conetainers.” Our objectives were to study the growth performance of small, microbudded trees planted in the field. The plants grew normally and even out-performed the conventionally budded trees in a field nursery next to the test plot. In Dec. 1999, tree height reached 60 inches. Five percent of the trees produced fruit and they were normal in shape, color, and quality.

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