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Frederick S. Davies and Michael A. Maurer

Reclaimed municipal wastewater has been used to irrigate young and mature sweet orange and grapefruit trees in Florida. In the central ridge area of Florida, trees receiving reclaimed wastewater had greater yields and improved tree vigor compared to trees receiving wellwater. The high level of reclaimed wastewater applied (2.54 cm/week), however, decreased fruit total soluble solids, acids, and their ratio. In contrast, tree vigor and fruit quality were not different for mature grapefruit trees growing in the coastal, flatwoods area of Florida, which received reclaimed wastewater or canal water. Yields, however, were higher for the reclaimed wastewater treatments in one season, but the effect was variable. No adverse effects of applying high levels of reclaimed wastewater were noted at either site. The use of reclaimed wastewater for citrus irrigation has potential benefits for Florida citrus growers in the future.

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Michael A. Maurer and Frederick S. Davies

Two field studies conducted from 1990 to 1991 evaluated the effects of reclaimed water on growth and development of 1- and 2-year-old `Redblush' grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf.) trees on Swingle citrumelo [Citrus paradisi (L.) Osb. ×Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf.] rootstock. Treatments were arranged as a3 (water sources) x 3 (irrigation levels) factorial at two locations on an Arredondo (well drained) and Kanapaha (poorly drained) fine sand near Gainesville, Fla. Irrigation treatments included 1) reclaimed water, 2) reclaimed water plus fertigation, and 3) well water plus fertigation. The reclaimed water was formulated to simulate that of a sewage treatment plant at Vero Beach, Fla. Irrigation was applied at 20% soil moisture depletion, or at 19 or 25 mm·week regardless of rainfall. In both experiments, visual ratings of tree vigor, and measured tree height and trunk diameter, were significantly lower for trees watered with reclaimed water without fertilizer than for the others in both years. Moreover, there was no fourth leaf flush in 1991 with reclaimed water. There was a significant increase in leaf Na, Cl, and B concentrations for the reclaimed water and reclaimed water plus fertigation treatments in 1990; however, in 1991 only leaf B concentrations showed a similar trend. In 1991, there were no significant differences in leaf Cl concentrations. Visual symptoms of N deficiency were observed by the end of the first season in trees grown with reclaimed water. Irrigation levels generallv did not affect tree growth.

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Michael A. Maurer, Frederick S. Davies and Donald A. Graetz

An experiment was designed to determine the effects of canal water and reclaimed wastewater on growth, yield, and fruit quality of mature (25-year-old) `Redblush' grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macf.) trees on sour orange (C. aurantium L.) rootstock. The study was conducted from 1 Oct. 1990 to 18 Apr. 1994 at a site adjacent to the Indian River County municipal wastewater treatment facility located near Vero Beach, Fla. Treatments included canal water applied based on one-third or two-thirds soil water depletion and reclaimed wastewater applied using microsprinklers at 23.1 mm/week (low), 30.7 mm/week (moderate) and 38.6 mm/week (high). Trees receiving low and moderate levels of reclaimed wastewater had the largest canopies and trunk diameters and highest yields, even though the amount of fertilizer applied was less than that of canal water plots. Leaf nutrient levels were generally within acceptable ranges for N, P, K, Ca, Mg, and Na except in 1991 when levels were deficient due to excessive rainfall and leaching. Leaf B levels were similar for all reclaimed wastewater treatments but were lower for the canal water treatment in 1992 and 1993. Fruit growth rate, fruit and juice weight, total soluble solids (TSS), titratable acidity (TA), and TSS: TA ratio were similar for all treatments in 2 of 3 years. Peel thickness was similar for all treatments. Heavy metal concentration in the reclaimed wastewater was at low or nondetectable levels. Similarly, enteric viruses in the effluent were always <0.003 plaque forming units/liter. Reclaimed wastewater irrigation significantly increased weed growth compared to the canal water treatment.

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Tom L. Weinert, Thomas L. Thompson, Scott A. White and Michael A. Maurer

Microsprinkler irrigation may result in increased efficiency of N and water application to citrus. However, best management practices (BMPs) have not yet been developed for microsprinkler use, particularly on newly established citrus. Experiments were conducted during 1997-98 in central Arizona to evaluate the effects of N rate and fertigation frequency on `Newhall' navel oranges (Citrus sinensis) planted in Mar. 1997. Two experiments were conducted, each with factorial combinations of N rate (0 to 204 g/tree/year) and fertigation frequency (weekly to three times per year). In one experiment, nonlabeled N fertilizer was used, and in the other 15N-labeled fertilizer was used. Trunk diameter, leaf N, and 15N partitioning in the trees were monitored. During 1997, neither trunk diameter nor leaf N were affected by N rate or fertigation frequency. No more than 6% of N applied was found in the trees. During 1998, leaf N in fertilized plots was significantly higher than in nonfertilized plots, but leaf N in all trees remained above the critical N concentration of 25 mg·g-1. During 1998, no more than 25% of the fertilizer N applied was taken up by the trees. Results suggest that N applications are not needed during the first growing season after planting for microsprinkler-irrigated citrus in Arizona. Only low rates of N (≤68 g/tree/yr) may be needed during the second growing season to maintain adequate tree N reserves.