Deciduous Fruit Crop Demonstration Area at Water Conserv II Project in Central Florida

Gary K. England, Ryan A. Atwood


There is increased interest in the evaluation of alternative crops grown in the central Florida region as a possible replacement for citrus. With the cooperation of the Water Conserv II Project, the Mid Florida Citrus Foundation and University of Florida (UF) IFAS established a Deciduous Fruit Crop Demonstration Area where alternative crops were planted and have been evaluated as potential selections for producers in the area. Fruit crops that have been evaluated include pecan, persimmon, fig, blueberry, peach, plum, and grapes. In 2006, a decision was made to evaluate some of the newer promising fruit crop cultivars from the University of Florida breeding programs. The first phase of the project began with the planting of seven peach, three nectarine, and two plum cultivars in mid-Dec. 2006, followed by the addition of three plum cultivars in Summer 2007. Dr. Dennis Gray from UF provided three numbered muscadine and one bunch grape cultivars that were established in Summer 2007. A container-grown blueberry planting including some of the cultivars adapted to central Florida was planted in Spring 2008. Some potential persimmon and pomegranate cultivars were added in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Observations of appropriate production practices and field day opportunities, which introduced local growers to some of the crops, have taken place. In Spring 2010, a trial to evaluate the effect of different peach and nectarine thinning techniques (no thinning, 4, 6, and 9 inches) was conducted.


peaches, deciduous crops, thinning

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283