474 High Application Rates of Reclaimed Water Benefit Citrus Growth and Production

in HortScience
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  • 1 University of Florida, IFAS, Citrus Research and Education Center, Lake Alfred, FL 33850

Citrus trees in an experimental planting responded well to high application rates of reclaimed water. Irrigation treatments included annual applications of 400 mm of well water and 400, 1250, and 2500 mm of reclaimed water. The effects of these irrigation treatments on two citrus cultivars (`Hamlin' orange and `Orlando' tangelo) combined with four rootstocks were compared. Growth and fruit production were better at the higher irrigation rates. The concentration of soluble solids in juice was diluted at the highest irrigation rate, but total soluble solids per hectare increased due to the greater fruit production. Average soluble solids/ha production was >15% higher at the 2500-mm rate than the 400-mm reclaimed water rate. While fruit soluble solids were usually lowered by higher irrigation, the reduction in fruit soluble solids observed on three of the rootstocks did not occur in trees on Carrizo citrange. Trees on Cleopatra mandarin grew similarly at the different irrigation rates, but canopy volume of trees on Swingle citrumelo was significantly smaller at the 400 mm rate than at the 2500 mm rate. Fruit peel color score was lower but juice color score was higher at the highest irrigation rate. Weed pressure increased with increasing irrigation rate, but was controllable. Both juice and fruit soluble solids were higher on Swingle citrumelo and lower on Cleopatra mandarin rootstock. Total soluble solids/ha, solids/acid ratio, and juice color were higher on Swingle rootstock. Reclaimed water, once believed to be a disposal problem in Florida, can be an acceptable source of irrigation water for citrus on well drained soils at rates up to twice the annual rainfall.

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