It’s Friday morning, October 7, 2016. Hurricane Matthew passed through the area last night and early this morning. A quick survey shows that it caused little or no damage to most of our citrus crops. However, we’re looking at some more wind and rain today, so we’ll do a more detailed check this weekend. The screen grab is from the Storm app on my iPhone, which provides a great overview of the weather situation.
One thing we’ve noticed in our area Florida is that some grapefruit groves seem to do well, even in the shadow of citrus greening disease. Many of our young grapefruit trees look green and healthy. We’d like to see more production, and hopefully that will come soon. The photo shows healthy-looking trees in the Lakeland area. If you get closer, you do notice a few minor signs of disease in the leaves here and there. But overall, you’d have to say this grove looks pretty good. Time will tell, though, because we’ve seen anything can change on a dime with this disease.
As a test to see how well olives trees do in Florida, we retrofit several olives into existing citrus groves. We have had them under the same production program as the citrus trees for almost a year. As you can see in the photo, they are doing well.
• Aperture:ƒ/2.2• Camera:iPhone 6 Plus• Taken:September 26, 2015• Focal length:4.15mm• ISO:32• Shutter speed:1/1412s
This part of Florida is known to some as the “Lightning Capital of the World”. This photo from the Storm iPhone app shows a storm that moved through our area on August 18, 2015. In addition to safety measures that have to be taken in the field, we’re also turning off a lot of computers at these times!
Alturas, Florida, has been hit hard with citrus greening. Trees in groves continue to be removed at an increasing rate. This photo, next to one of our groves, shows the devastating result of this disease. At least the risk of transmission of disease to our grove is reduced once this grove is taken out.
Recently, we’ve been looking at different roostocks for our citrus plantings. As seen in this mind map, there are no less than 15 or 20 different information sources that need to be considered. Much of this information is gathered over time, but there comes a point where you to refresh your memory to see if anything has changed since the last time you looked. How do you access and manage all the information that goes into making this kind of decision? If you’re like most people, you talk to others, email back and forth, read and you probably check 20 or so websites for the most recent information. That’s a lot of work, and becomes even more so if you have to do it more than once. I can’t disclose all the details yet, but I’m working with the University of Florida on a solution that will help growers make better rootstock decisions. Stay tuned for more later!
I recently heard from the Florida Department of Citrus that they like one of my citrus grove photos that appears on a site I did for the Indian River Citrus League. After a day or two of negotiating, we arrived at an agreement for the FDOC to license the image for their national and international marketing program! Keep on the lookout for it–it might appear in a grocery store near you!
This image was taken at sunrise on November 21, 2010, on the west shore of Lake Hancock in Highland City, Florida. We rented an elevation platform and just hoped we got great sunlight and clouds to go along with it. Sure enough, we did!
• Aperture:ƒ/22• Credit:Steven Rogers• Camera:NIKON D700• Taken:November 21, 2010• Exposure bias:-4/6EV• Focal length:25mm• ISO:500• Shutter speed:1/8s
Last week, we reached a milestone in our Tamarixia release program–200,000 wasps released! Tamarixia is a parasitic wasp species that attacks citrus psyllids, which transmit greening disease. We’re interested in establishing Tamarixia in our area to help cover the declining backyard citrus trees that are difficult to treat for psyllid control by other means. We keep track of our wasp releases using our own iPhone app we developed (Tamarixia Tracker) to GPS and photograph each release.
Today, Drew Dyes from PFS and I are surveying citrus groves in Southwest Florida. This past week, I covered about 500 miles looking at groves around the state. I’ll update this post later with more photos and details, but generally, trees are looking better than they did the last two years on a similar drive.