EVALUATION OF CITRUS TREES PLANTED DIRECTLY FROM THE NURSERY AND TREES GROWN FOR TWO ADDITIONAL YEARS IN BAGS BEFORE TRANSPLANTING IN THE FIELD

ZEKRI, MONGI

Abstract


Citrus production must use the most efficient techniques and practices for rapid recovery of capital investment and maximum net returns. A long-term field study was conducted to evaluate the performance of four groups of 'Valencia' orange trees on 'Volkamer' lemon rootstock. Three groups of trees came from a container nursery and were transplanted into three different size bags (12-, 18-, or 24-inch) and allowed to grow for two years. A fourth group of trees were standard container nursery trees two-years younger than the other groups of trees. The size of the bag in which the trees were grown did not affect the leaf mineral status and fruit quality. However, the young nursery trees accumulated more potassium and less calcium in their leaves and had less soluble solids, acid, and juice in their fruit. During the first four years after planting, tree size and fruit production were highest for the trees coming from the large size bags and the lowest for the trees planted directly from the nursery. Although the early yield and return of the bagged trees were relatively high, they did not offset the higher planting costs for the larger trees from bags. This study did not reveal any economical advantage in growing nursery trees for two years in fabric bags before transplanting them into the field. After six years, the trees planted directly from the nursery were able to catch up to the trees previously grown for two extra years in 24-inch bags.

Keywords


orange; growth; tree size; citrus juice; fruit quality; fruit yield; leaf mineral concentration; economical analysis

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