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A.K. Alva and D.P.H. Tucker

Recent trends in increased nitrate contamination of groundwater in parts of Central Florida have prompted this study to evaluate the potential for reducing the rates of nitrate (N) fertilizer to citrus. `Pineapple' orange trees on Swingle citrumelo rootstock growing on Candler fine sand were selected for the study. Fertilizer blends were applied using N as: (1) soluble ammonium nitrate and calcium nitrate in 4 applications per year and (2) controlled-release sources (Meister, Osmocote, Escote in one application per year and IBDU and Neutralene in 2 applications per year). Nitrogen rates varied 18-154, 36-308, and 57-454 g/tree/year during the first, second and third year after planting, respectively. Tree growth and leaf mineral concentrations (during the first 3 years) and fruit size and juice quality (second and third years) were not adversely affected by application of reduced N rates. Fruit yield (third year) was lower in the trees which received ≤ 114 g N/tree/year than in those which received higher rates of N.

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T.A. Wheaton, W.S. Castle, J.D. Whitney and D.P.H. Tucker

`Hamlin' and `Valencia' oranges [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb.], `Murcott' tangor (C. reticulata Blanco × C. sinensis), and `Redblush' grapefruit (C. paradisi Macf.) on 15 rootstock and own-rooted cuttings were planted at a 1.5 × 3.3-m spacing providing a density of 2020 trees/ha. Growth rate, productivity, and fruit quality varied among the scion and stock combinations. Combinations of moderate vigor and precocious fruiting performed better than very vigorous or dwarfing materials. Several freezes slowed canopy development and delayed production. Most trees had filled their allocated canopy space 7 years after planting. At that age, the orange trees yielded 23 to 75 t·ha-1. Scion and stock combinations with desirable vigor and fruiting characteristics were satisfactory in this high-density planting. However, there appears to be little advantage of high tree density under Florida conditions, and moderate densities of fewer than 1000 trees/ha may be preferable.

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T.A. Wheaton, J.D. Whitney, W.S. Castle, R.P. Muraro, H.W. Browning and D.P.H. Tucker

A factorial experiment begun in 1980 included `Hamlin' and `Valencia' sweet-orange scions [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb.], and Milam lemon (C. jambhiri Lush) and Rusk citrange [C. sinensis × Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf.] rootstocks, tree topping heights of 3.7 and 5.5 m, between-row spacings of 4.5 and 6.0 m, and in-row spacings of 2.5 and 4.5 m. The spacing combinations provided tree densities of 370, 494, 667, and 889 trees ha. Yield increased with increasing tree density during the early years of production. For tree ages 9 to 13 years, however, there was no consistent relationship between yield and tree density. Rusk citrange, a rootstock of moderate vigor, produced smaller trees and better yield, fruit quality, and economic returns than Milam lemon, a vigorous rootstock. After filling their allocated space, yield and fruit quality of trees on Milam rootstock declined with increasing tree density at the lower topping height. Cumulative economic returns at year 13 were not related to tree density.

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Robert E. Rouse, David P. H. Tucker and Edgar D. Holcomb Jr.

Evaluation ratings of cold injury following a freeze on December 24 & 25, 1989, showed differences among scion cultivars and rootstock. `Star Ruby' grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf.) and `Fallglo' citrus hybrid, a cross of Bower mandarin citrus hybrid × Temple tangor (C. temple Hort. ex Y. Tanaka) were the most severely damaged scion cultivars. `Rohde Red' valencia orange selection 472-11-43. [C. sinensis (L.) Osbeck]. was the least damaged scion cultivar. Scions budded to Cleopatra mandarin (C. reshni Hort. ex Tan.) and FL 80-18 citrumelo [C. paradisi × Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf.] rootstock were damaged more than on other rootstock. Scions budded to smooth flat seville (C. aurantium?) and P. trifoliata × Ridge pineapple sweet orange selection 1573-26 [C. sinensis (L.) Osbeck] had the least injury. Analysis comparing replications showed the greatest damage to be in the north side of the planting.