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Growing Citrus in Florida

This summer we are hosting a Friday FarmChat® series in partnership with Scott, Buchanan and Delaware County Farm Bureau! We have a fun pre-recorded video for you brought to us by Noble Tangerines and Florida Ag in the Classroom!

Find the video link here!

I had the opportunity to interview Bill Roe, Vice President of WG Roe and Sons, about what it is like to grow citrus in Florida. Noble Tangerines is a world-wide citrus operation based in Winter Haven, Florida. Florida tangerines can even be found in local Linn County grocery stores! It was so fascinating to learn about the process of growing citrus.

The lifecycle of a citrus tree begins in a greenhouse nursery. Trees are grown inside to protect against disease pressure. Once the trees are about a foot tall, they are grafted to a rootstock using the budding method. Grafting is used to help speed up growth, encourage shorter trees (for easier harvest), decreasing disease pressure and stabilizing sugar content.

There are approximately 125-250 traditional trees per acre and 400-450 dwarf trees per acres. Bill and his crew fertilize the trees in the spring but avoids spraying in the summer months; when ground leeching is more prevalent. Fertilizing adds essential nutrients back into the soil and helps increase the quality and quantity of the fruit.

All of the fruit is harvested by hand! The picking crew clips a small amount of branch above the fruit to avoid pulling the plug and damaging the fruit. There are 10 truckloads of fruit harvested in one day! A crew of 25 people can harvest an average of 1500 boxes of fruit!

Noble Tangerine develops their own fruit varieties; one being the 'Juicy Crunch'! Bill said you can find it in the stores around the holiday season! To learn more about growing this awesome Florida Ag in the Classroom FarmChat®!

Find the video link here!

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