LAKE ALFRED, Fla. — University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers have tips for citrus growers dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. Tips include applying the plant growth regulator gibberellic acid to fight future fruit drop on trees weakened by the hurricane-force winds, spoon-feeding irrigation, applying kaolin clay to shade and cool the leaves from too much sunlight, and proactively protecting trees from phytophthora diseases.
Growers are also needed to participate in an important post-hurricane research project. Growers affected by flooding and high winds from Hurricane Ian have seen the immediate effects, but the stress to the trees will have longer lasting effects as well. Right now, researchers do not know how damaging these effects will be or how long trees take to recover.
“We want to survey trees around the state to learn how long it takes trees to recover physiologically, which will help us predict growth and production. We need trees from a wide variety of locations to be able to understand how the different windspeeds, flooding and topography impacted how the trees suffered and recover. We are also looking for a range of treatments, like IPCs or reflective mulch,” said Christopher Vincent, assistant professor of horticulture and the one heading up the project.
The assessment will not harm the trees, and researchers will not apply any treatments. The project needs growers with Valencia- or Hamlin-type sweet oranges, or grapefruits from around the state. No specific grower information will be publicly shared; all observations will be shared with participants. If you are willing, please send an email with your name, phone number and email to Christopher Vincent (firstname.lastname@example.org).
These and more hurricane-related resources may be found on the citrusresearch.ifas.ufl.edu website. You can also receive updates by subscribing to the UF/IFAS statewide citrus newsletter at newsletter signup – UF/IFAS Citrus Research – University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences – UF/IFAS (ufl.edu).
The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human, and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS brings science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents.
ifas.ufl.edu | @UF_IFAS