Handwarmers placed inside conventional insulating tree wraps increased trunk temperatures and improved tree survival under freeze conditions. Handwarmers generate heat by oxidation of Fe powder. In freeze-chamber tests with air temperature as low as –7.1C for 4 hours, wraps plus handwarmers kept trunk temperatures above freezing. Handwarmers increased minimum temperatures by 7C during a one-night freeze. Benefit of the handwarmer decreased the second night of a simulated two-night freeze but still increased minimum temperature by 1.3C. Tree survival was significantly improved by handwarmers in the freeze-chamber tests. In a field test during a mild freeze, handwarmers increased the minimum temperature by 3.5C the first night but provided no benefit the second night.
The effectiveness of microsprinkler irrigation for frost protection was examined during several cold nights in central Florida in 1981. Air temperatures ranged from 0 to 2.8°C warmer in the irrigated area above the spray zone than in the non-irrigated area, and were generally 0.5 to 1.5°C warmer. By irrigating under the tree, microsprinklers avoid some of the disadvantages associated with overhead sprinklers. Overhead sprinklers are not practical for freeze protection of large evergreen citrus trees because of limb breakage due to ice loading. During calm radiation cold nights, microsprinkler irrigation can provide some protection and is one alternative to burning petroleum products for citrus cold protection.
Conversion of wastewater to reclaimed water for crop irrigation conserves water and is an effective way to handle a growing urban problem: the disposal of wastewater. Water Conserv II is a large reclaimed water project developed by Orlando and Orange County, Fla., that presently irrigates ≈1900 ha of citrus. The project includes a research component to evaluate the response of citrus to irrigation using reclaimed water. Citrus trees in an experimental planting responded well to very 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 2500-mm rate is excessive, and since disposal was of interest, this rate was used to determine if citrus could tolerate such high rates of irrigation. The effects of these treatments were compared on `Hamlin' orange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb.] and `Orlando' tangelo (C. paradisi Macf. × C. reticulata Blanco) combined with four rootstocks: Carrizo citrange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb. × Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf.], Cleopatra mandarin (C. reticulata Blanco), sour orange (C. aurantium L.), and Swingle citrumelo (C. paradisi × P. trifoliata). Growth and fruit production were greatest at the highest irrigation rate. Concentration of soluble solids in the juice was usually lowered by the highest irrigation rate, but total soluble solids per hectare were 15.5% higher compared to the 400-mm rate, due to the greater fruit production. 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. Fruit peel color score was lower but juice color score was higher at the highest irrigation rate. Crop efficiency (fruit production per unit of canopy volume) was usually lower at the 2500-mm rate and declined as trees grew older. Weed cover increased with increasing irrigation rate, but was controllable. Irrigation with high rates of reclaimed water provided a satisfactory disposal method for treated effluent, benefited growth and production of citrus, and eliminated the need for other sources of irrigation water. Reclaimed water, once believed to be a disposal problem in Florida, is now considered to be one way to meet irrigation demands.
Citrus is a major international tree fruit crop. In the United States, citrus production surpasses the combined production of apples, peaches, cherries, pears, nectarines, apricots, plums, avocados, olives, figs, and dates (14). As one of the major industries in Florida, agriculture is the 2nd largest generator of income in the state. Citrus is the primary agricultural industry in Florida, and Florida is the largest producer of citrus in the United States.
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.
This study examined the effect of irrigation rates, nitrogen (N) fertilizer rates, and methods of applying N on growth and productivity of young (3 to 5 years old) and maturing (8 to 10 years old) citrus trees. A long-term study was conducted with the following objectives: 1) to measure the main effects of N rate, N application method, and irrigation on citrus tree growth and production from planting to maturity; 2) to establish growth and production relationships for long-term N rates and irrigation on well-drained sandy Entisols; and 3) to determine the effect of split fertilizer applications at two soil moisture regimes on citrus growth and production for two tree age classes as trees mature. Irrigation was applied using two selected ranges of soil moisture tensions and annual N rate varied by tree age as percentages of recommended. Methods of applying N included a dry granular fertilizer (DGF) containing soluble N applied four times annually or a controlled-release fertilizer (CRF) applied once per year and fertigation applied either four (FG04) or 30 (FG30) times annually. Canopy size and yield were higher with the moderate irrigation rate compared with the low rate for both young and maturing trees. Critical N rates for both canopy volume and yield were between 178 and 200 kg·ha−1. The CRF and FG30 treatments produced larger trees and higher yields compared with FG04 and DGF in the young tree study, indicating that younger trees benefitted from frequent split fertilizer applications. As the trees matured and filled their allocated space, the two irrigation rates were continued and N was applied at six rates using either DGF or FG30. For these 8- to 10-year-old trees, critical values of N application rates were 210 and 204 kg·ha−1 for DGF and FG30, respectively. The absence of a significant interaction between N rate and application method indicated that N uptake efficiency was similar for all application methods tested. DGF and FG30 treatments resulted in similar maturing tree yields and fruit total soluble solids. Canopy volumes, for the same trees, were significantly greater all 3 years with the FG30 treatment compared with DGF. Thus, if increase in tree size is desired, increased number of split applications will likely promote tree growth; however, little increase in fruit yield may be obtained.
Water Conserv II is a municipal reclaimed water project operated by the city of Orlando and Orange county, FL. The Water Conserv II project has been supplying high-quality reclaimed water for irrigation of citrus orchards, nurseries, greenhouse operations, golf courses, and residential landscapes in Orange and Lake counties since 1986. Selected commercial citrus orchards in the Water Conserv II service area receiving either groundwater or reclaimed water have been monitored quarterly since the project began. This yearly monitoring was undertaken to determine any adverse long-term effects on citrus tree growth or production associated with irrigation using this reclaimed water. Citrus blocks were rated for horticultural condition quarterly, fruit quality was determined before harvest, and soil and leaf samples were analyzed yearly from 1994 to 2004. Citrus growers irrigating with reclaimed water were encouraged to use higher-than-recommended amounts of water as a means of disposal of this reclaimed water resulting in increased weed growth and dilution of juice solids per box of fruit. Leaf boron and magnesium were significantly higher after irrigation with reclaimed water. Calcium and boron from the reclaimed water have eliminated the need in orchards receiving reclaimed water for liming of the soil and applying annual foliar sprays containing boron.
The severe advective freeze of 23-26 Dec. 1989 killed most nonprotected trees in Florida's northern citrus region. Minimum temperatures reached - 8.3C with >43 hours below freezing. Microsprinklers elevated to a height of 0.6 or 0.9 m and placed inside the canopy of young `Hamlin' and navel orange trees [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb.] provided excellent protection to heights well above 1 m. Initial survival height of trees with emitters elevated to 0.9 m was higher than has been reported for microsprinklers at a conventional 0.2-m height in earlier severe freezes. Trees rapidly approached prefreeze canopy size from regrowth of the protected scaffold branches. Six months after the freeze, trees protected by microsprinklers elevated to 0.6 m and delivering 26 or 47 liters·hour-1 had regrown to a height of 1.4 or 1.7 m, respectively. Trees with microsprinklers at a height of 0.9 m and delivering 101 liters·hour -1 had regrown to a height of 2.5 m. Trees with no microsprinkler irrigation were killed to the ground. Twelve months after the freeze, trees with elevated microsprinklers were still significantly taller and showed greater recovery than those with microsprinklers near the ground.