The satsuma (C. unshiu Marcovitch) originated in southeast Asia, but was first reported in Japan over 700 years ago (Andersen et al., 2012). The satsuma was introduced to St. Augustine, FL in 1876 from the province of “Satsuma” located in southern Japan. More than a million ‘Owari’ satsuma were subsequently imported from Japan and planted in the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Texas. In Alabama, there were over 8000 ha of satsumas in the early 1900s (Dozier, 1924), although severe freezes between 1925 and 1950 virtually eliminated this industry. Since 1950, there have been several attempts at orchard reestablishment, but once again, freeze events of 1984/85 and 1988/89, decimated the satsuma industry in the northern Gulf of Mexico region. There has been a resurgence of interest in satsuma orchard establishment due to the relatively mild winters during the last two decades. Currently, there are several hundred hectares of satsumas in the northern Gulf of Mexico region. The use of soil mounding, commercial tree wraps, and microsprinkler freeze protection have facilitated successful orchard reestablishment (Ebel et al., 2004, 2005; Nesbitt et al., 2000, 2002).
The mandarins include satsumas [e.g. ‘Armstrong Early’, ‘Brown Select’, ‘Early St. Ann’, ‘Kimbrough’, ‘Owari’ (most popular), ‘Silverhill’, ‘Xie Shan’] and tangerines (e.g., ‘Clementine’, ‘Dancy’, ‘Ponkan’, ‘Sunburst’) (Andersen et al., 2012; McClendon, 2004; Powell and Williams, 1998). Satsuma mandarins, when grafted on trifoliate orange [P. trifoliata (L.) Raf.] rootstocks, are the most cold-hardy commercial citrus (Andersen et al., 2012; McClendon, 2004; Yelenosky, 1985). In laboratory studies, satsuma trees have survived temperatures of −9.4 °C (Yelenosky, 1985), −11 °C (Anderson et al., 1983), and −11.1 °C (Gerber and Hashemi, 1965). Cold hardiness of citrus (Yelenosky, 1978, 1985, 1991) including satsumas (Nesbitt et al., 2002) is largely impacted by the degree of cold acclimation. Field-grown satsumas in Mississippi survived −9.9 to −11.0 °C when fully cold acclimated (Ferris and Richardson, 1923); however, satsumas sustained significant injury in Alabama when not fully cold acclimated at −6.7 °C (Wimberg, 1948).
In addition to cold hardiness, satsumas have other attributes for adaptation to the north Gulf of Mexico region. Fruit maturation occurs from 15 Oct. to 15 Dec., well before the onset of minimum winter temperatures (Andersen et al., 2012; Powell and Williams, 1998). Early fruit ripening is also desirable from a marketing perspective. The flavor of satsumas is sweet; fruit have no or very few seeds and are very easy to peel (Campbell et al., 2004). The satsuma is parthenocarpic (fruit set occurs without fertilization or seeds) and does not require a pollinizer cultivar. In addition, citrus greening, which has resulted in severe reductions in acreage and yield on citrus grown in the Florida peninsula, has not yet impacted satsuma production in the Florida panhandle.
The objective of this study was to quantify yield, tree size, and fruit quality of mature (7th to 11th growing season) ‘Brown Select’ and ‘Owari’ satsuma cultivars on trifoliate orange [P. trifoliata (L.) Raf.] (‘Rubidoux’ and ‘Flying Dragon’) rootstocks in north Florida (‘Flying Dragon’ is a dwarfing rootstock). We acknowledge a previous evaluation of young (fourth to sixth growing season) satsuma trees (Andersen and Brodbeck, 2010).
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