Citrus Update: Soil Testing May Reveal Cause of Smaller Fruit

by BRAD WEIHRAUCH
November 2013

As citrus harvesting begins, many citrus growers are finding fruit smaller and not as sweet. The trend proves true regardless of the amount of citrus greening, that dreaded disease spread by the Asian psyllid, present in the grove.

Make no mistake. Size and sugar ratios CAN be affected by greening, also known as Huanglongbing or HLB. But it appears there’s more to it than that. It’s possible extra summer rains washed away granular fertilizers prematurely, leading to nutritional deficiencies.

Growers are reporting smaller than average Navel oranges with a lower sugar content, which affects fresh fruit prices and quantities needed to fill a “box.” As a result, it’s important to review your caretaking records and look for anything different that may have caused this. Look at the past and learn what works for the future!

We take soil samples on citrus every six months, or even more frequently when there’s a cause for concern. In our case, our caretaking methods have been consistent, except for the addition of more nutritional and canker sprays.

So if you’re finding fruit quality off this year, consult your caretakers and take soil samples. Work with your harvester to sell your crop in the most advantageous manner.

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