Citrus Variety Trials Underway at UF/IFAS NFREC-Quincy

A citrus variety trial was established in 2011 at the North Florida Research and Education Center to evaluate their potential for Northwest Florida.  Photo Credit:Doug Mayo
A citrus variety trial was established in 2011 at the North Florida Research and Education Center to evaluate their potential for Northwest Florida. Photo Credit:Doug Mayo

Researchers at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center near Quincy are evaluating the longevity and production of a number of citrus varieties for use in Northwest Florida. A planting of new and old cultivars was established during the spring 2011. The following cultivars are being evaluated for horticultural characteristics and cold-hardiness: Owari Satsuma, Brown Select Satsuma, Xie Shan Satsuma, Minneola Honeybelle, Sugar Belle, Tango and US Early Pride. All cultivars are budded on Swingle rootstocks. Plant spacing is 15 and 20 feet within and between rows, respectively. None of the cultivars have experienced any significant cold damage over the winters.

Cold damage for all citrus can be minimized by exposure to preconditioning cold temperatures before a severe freeze. Site selection is the most important element of freeze protection. If possible choose a location that is protected on the northwest side by a house or woods. Artificial wind breaks are also an option. Freeze protection methods such as micro-sprinkler irrigation, tree wraps and mounding soil around the tree trunks (in a cone shape) can be used to minimize freeze damage.

Citrus Cultivars being evaluated at NFREC Quincy

Caption Photo Credit:  Pete Anderson
Photo Credit: Pete Anderson

Satsumas (Citrus unshiu Marc.) are adapted to subtropical regions of the world and are generally acknowledged to be the most cold tolerant commercially-grown citrus. They produce small- to medium-sized fruit and are usually seedless. They are easily peeled, they have deep orange flesh and are sweet when ripe. Mature Satsuma trees at the NFREC-Quincy have withstood temperatures down to 12-14 F without any significant damage. Another advantage of satsumas is that fruit ripening is during October and November before the occurrence of minimum winter temperatures. Owari is probably the most common Satsuma cultivar. It ripens about 1 November in north Florida. The tree is fairly slow growing, but this is also dependent on the rootstock. Tree shape tends to be drooping. Brown Select ripens about 15 October and it has produced very high yields in our trial. It is not quite as drooping as Owari. Xie Shan is an early ripening Satsuma cultivar (October ripening date). More information on Xie Shan will be available in the future.

Navel orange (Citrus sinensis) is characterized by the growth of a second fruit at the fruit apex. Navel orange is an old fruit with a history dating back to 200 years. Tree growth is upright. They are large in size (3 ½ + inches) with good flavor. Cold-preconditioned Navel trees have survived 14 F with no significant cold injury at the NFREC-Quincy.

Minneola Honeybelle Tangelo is a Duncan grapefruit x Dancy tangerine hybrid that was released in 1931. Fruit are large (3 ½ inches in diameter), usually bell shaped with a distinct protruding neck on the stem-end. The flesh and the skin are orange red in color and ripen in mid- to late-December. Minneola is not strongly self-fruitful, and the yields are improved with a nearby pollinizer cultivar. When Minneola is planted as a solid block the fruit are seedless, while in mixed plantings fruit often have 7 to 15 seeds. Cold-preconditioned Minneola trees have been hardy at the NFREC-Quincy down to 14 F.

Sugar Belle is a mandarin hybrid (Clementine tangerine x Minneola Honeybelle) recently released by the University of Florida. It has the characteristic bell shape of Minneola, but ripens in early November. Fruit size is medium (2 ½ inches in diameter). The flavor of Sugar Belle is rich and sweet (14 Brix) with a good sugar/acid balance. Cold hardiness is being evaluated.

Tango is a seedless mandarin developed by the University of California. It is similar to Murcott in all characteristics except that it is seedless. Fruit size is medium (2 ½ inches), and fruit are high in sugar (12 to 14 Brix). Tree growth is very upright. A disadvantage of Tango is a ripening date of mid-January to March so the fruit may be exposed to minimum winter temperatures. Cold tolerance is being evaluated at the NFREC-Quincy.

US Early Pride is a seedless mandarin hybrid that was recently released by The United States Department of Agriculture, derived from the seeded Fallglo varieity. The parentage of Fallglo includes mandarin, grapefruit and Temple orange. Fruit size is 2 ¾ to 3 inches in diameter. Fruit average between 11 and 12 Brix. There is an average of less than two seeds per fruit. Ripening can begin in October, which is the earliest of any mandarin hybrid. Cold tolerance is being evaluated at the NFREC-Quincy.



Posted: September 13, 2013

Category: Agriculture
Tags: Citrus, Horticulture, Panhandle Agriculture, Variety Trial


Wiersz Poleceń
January 23, 2022

Hello :-) Your post is very brilliant and fascinated, I like the idea and conception. I retargeting main address for all friends... :-) Thanks!

Mary Derrick
May 17, 2016

You or your Master Gardener Coordinator can contact the author of the article Gary Knox at the NFREC for possible tour information.

May 13, 2016

Hi--my name is Pat Watkins and I am a master gardener in Columbia County, FL. I am trying to put together field trips for my group and wonder where I can find info about the Gardens of the Big Bend. If field trips/group tours are not available, then I am personally interested in the Magnolia Gardens. Where can I find out about that, please?

Donna Legare
April 21, 2016

One of my favorites! Nice article - we enjoyed speaking with the Gardening Friends last week and glad we had time to walk through the garden first. Keep up the good work! Thanks Donna

Vanderlei Barbosa
April 19, 2016

Dear Joe: I work with tomato in Brazil, west part of S.Paulo State, and so far TSWV in one of most important virus disease in my area. This article is very important, because I can now be more confident that there is a new strain (TSCV) of tospovirus also occurring in my field. Hopefully TSWV tolerant hybrid tomato could be also be tolerant to this new strain TSCV. Vanderlei Barbosa (Agronomist, tomato grower)

Donna Durgin
April 1, 2016

Good Morning Dr. Ober - Do you have any information on building bat boxes? We would like to build some to put down by our pond on our property - Thanks, Donna D

Doug Mayo
January 25, 2016

Yes I think these numbers are set by the Ag Census and are not completely accurate.

Mary Veitch
January 22, 2016

Would love to have our 6 acres of Blueberries in Jackson County. Mary Veitch Veitch's Blueberry Farm 7772 Howell Rd Sneads, FL 32460

Suzy Young
November 16, 2015

Is there a soil fumigant that works on Sclerotium rolfsii fungus? We have a home garden and have rotated crops but are running out of options.

Doug Mayo
November 16, 2015

Follow the links in this article and go to the App store that applies to your smart phone. If you don't have a smart phone, you can get similar information on the following website:

Doug Mayo
November 16, 2015

Follow the links in this article and go to the App store that applies to your smart phone. If you don't have a smart phone, you can get similar information on the following website:

Dr. Mohamed Kndiel
November 14, 2015

I would like to receive the AI cow calculator

Nicolas DiLorenzo
October 27, 2015

It is a relatively new byproduct but our first estimates based on digestibility and nutrient analyses indicate that the TDN of B. carinata meal should be around 70-75% TDN.

Doug Mayo
October 6, 2015

What is the average TDN value for carinata meal?

Chris merritt
August 30, 2015

Have you tried fixation clover ? I am thinking about in north Jefferson county

Chris Baker
June 27, 2015

I would like to receive the calculator

Gary Knox
June 24, 2015

Thanks for your comment! The Black Diamond series of crapemyrtles have been planted at the UF North Florida Research and Education Center (outside Tallahassee). An older, outstanding planting can be found at the Louisiana State University Hammond Research Center, if you happen to be traveling along I-10 in Louisiana.

Dena DiFilippo
June 24, 2015

I found this article most timely as I just purchased my first crape myrtle ever. It is the black diamond series with red blooms. I can't wait to see how well this performs here. I hope eventually to plant it in my yard also at my home in Brevard county(Melbourne) also. Are there any evaluations ongoing for this new black diamond? It's the first crape myrtle ever that I liked well enough to plant. Thanks!!!!!

Doug Akers
June 23, 2015

Hi Gary, I was just reading the crapemyrtle article and then looked at the bottom to see it was by Gary Knox. Marilyn (Bennett) Akers and I live in Elberta, AL (near Pensacola) six months a year. We've planted several crapemyrtle at our home there. I retired from Purdue Extension 2 summers ago. In case you don't remember, Marilyn was Phil Carpenter's grad student. She say hi! I got a Master's in Botany & Plant Pathology. I was Purdue Extension Educator, Ag & Natural Resources for 30 years. All in Boone County, (Lebanon) less than an hour from W. Lafayette. We still have our home in Lebanon, too. Doug Akers

February 6, 2015

Excellent, and to the well trained ear, this article may well be the best introduction to profitable grazing for all ranchers, and not just for cattlemen. "Adjusting the stocking the most important grazing management tool to improve forage utilization." Well said, but rotational grazing only marginally adjusts the stocking rate and still allows the animals to pick and choose what they eat, taking the best and leaving the worst--thereby affirming that animals don't make good business decisions. Adjusting the stocking density (not rate) using management intensive grazing whereby one restricts the amount of available forage insures the animals consume only an amount of forage required to meet their demands for the day and are then released the next day into a new paddock (subunit). The amount of acreage provided daily can easily be estimated while considering all the factors listed above. The key is inexpensive temporary electric fencing and a good eye for growth rate. For those willing to follow the successful and disregard the "That won't fly around here Sonny"-mentality, I'd point you to "Management-Intensive Grazing: The Grassroots of Grass Farming" by Jim Gerrish; or visit

Matthew Orwat
February 6, 2015

Take a look at this link for info on Crapemyrtle Pruning. Thanks, Matt

Phil Stump
February 6, 2015

What level of pruning is appropriate for a Crepe Mytle? Is there any or should I just let it grow? Thanks! Phil

Matthew Orwat
February 6, 2015

We don't have a button yet..... Just copy and then paste the URL on your facebook page and post it...this will achieve the same effect.

February 4, 2015

I looked for a Facebook "Share" button.

kenneth avery
December 22, 2014

please send me a catalog on you January 17 2015 florida bull test sale. Kenneth avery 2993 county road 67 Hartford Alabama 36344.

thomas loeffler
December 5, 2014

Finally! Would you be able to supply me a list of sellers of trees that are the most scab resistant? I believe now would be a good time to plant a few. Regards, Tom

Doug Mayo
August 4, 2014

I wrote an article few weeks ago on that very topic. Check out this article:

T.J. Gates
August 1, 2014

Other than cutting my hay field, what can be done when army worms are found ? Is there any preventive measure that can be taken to help prevent army worms ? Will adding sulfur to my fertilizer help prevent army worms ? If so how many pounds to the acre ? What can be sprayed to kill army worms ?

Tim Tucker
July 19, 2014

Is there any Balansa Clover seed available for sale to the public? I would love to try some on my farm. Hope I can get over and see all the projects you all have going on. Tim Tucker Uriah AL.

July 16, 2014

I adore pomegranate fruit and shrubs, so I was especially thrilled to learn of this new variety. However, I’m not sure how I feel about one that doesn't produce edible fruit . I've had a pomegranate in my greenhouse for several years, and although it doesn't produce much fruit, it’s always a beautiful, flowering plant. I’d recommend them to anyone. As to fruit, I think the Wonderful variety (as its name implies), is simply wonderful and the most delicious variety I've tried. Richard

May 30, 2014

Hello Peter, My wife and I are new at planting trees. We have 20 acres in North Walton County and the pH is 5.7. Please correct me if I am wrong, but it looks like the fuyu species is the best all-around fruit. We are looking at planting 5-10 trees. In addition to applying fertilizer as you discussed, should we address the pH level as well? Can we obtain the trees through the extension office? If not, can you recommend a source where they are available? We are open to any suggestions you may have. Thank you in advance for your help- Brett

girish karamta
January 12, 2014

sir, can i have more information on above two newly introduced variety of peanuts? if so i will be thankfull to you, I from India guajrat state and we are the farmers and maily cultiviting peanuts on our farms, here is production is around 1ooo kg per acre i.e. 2500 kg per hectare, so please let me know about new variety Thanks

Matthew Orwat
January 10, 2014

The sort of trimming known as "crape murder" will not ensure the long term health of the crapemyrtle. Those repetitive cuts will allow disease and rot to enter the tree. Older cultivars might be in too much shade and not blooming to their full potential. They may also be suffering from powdery mildew, scale or sooty mold. Thinning of the interior of the tree may help. See this publication on crapemyrtle pruning for more information.

January 8, 2014

I love crepe myrtles of any kind. I guess it reminiscent of my grandmother's gardens. In southwest Florida she never cut back our crepe myrtles and they were more like the last photo in bloom. However, here in the Panhandle everyone does what I my sister and I call crepe murder, cutting the trees back. I want to know what is really appropriate. I've always said this was improper, but I notice that the trees that are cut this way to appear more healthy and vibrant each spring. I've moved to a home that has several varieties and the older ones are not doing well (blooming profusely) but I'm afraid it's because I have refused to cut the trees, I just trimmed them a little. Thanks for your help.

Doug Mayo
September 15, 2013

Dr. Anderson was talking about the gradual cooling that occurs normally in Northwest Florida. More damage occurs with extreme temperature changes, like can often happen in South Florida.

Ron Potts
September 14, 2013

What is meant by cold pre-conditioned trees in your article above? Is that something that nature does, or something that the grower can do?

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