Price, J.1
1County Extension Coordinator, University of Georgia, Valdosta, GA, 31601


~~Since 2013, commercial citrus planted in Georgia has increased from less than 1500 trees and 5 growers to approximately 150,000 trees and 125 growers as of spring of 2019. Most growers have no prior experience with citrus and are faced with choosing from satsuma varieties, rootstocks, and other citrus hybrids in which they have little information.  Limited research data cold hardy citrus in the southeast to guide growers.  To provide information to growers in Georgia and other citrus growing regions in USDA zone 8b, Lowndes County Extension has established four cold hardy citrus research trials with a fifth and sixth in development to provide growers with researched based information to guide their decisions to support this emerging industry.   Planted trials include: 1) Evaluation of “Owari” Satsuma on 10 Different Rootstocks, planted in 2014.  2) Evaluation of 10 Early Maturing Satsuma Varieties, planted in 2016. 3) Evaluation of Satsuma Hybrids “Orange Frost” and “Artic Frost” on Rubidoux and US-852 Roostocks, planted in 2018. 4) Evaluation of “Sugar Belle” Mandarin on four rootstocks, US-852, Rubidoux, US-897, US-852, and US-942, planted in 2018. A fifth and sixth trial, 5 & 6) Evaluation of “Silver Hill” satsuma and “Tango” on 10 new Huanglongbing (HLB) tolerant rootstocks, is currently being produced for planting in 2020.  To establish trials, Lowndes Extension has cooperated with USDA-ARS rootstock geneticist, Dr. Kim Bowman of Ft. Pierce Florida, three USDA certified citrus nurseries in Florida, the USDA-ARS National Clonal Germplasm Repository for Citrus and Dates in Riverside California, and Greenleaf Nursery based out of Oklahoma. Due to restrictions of shipping citrus budwood to citrus producing states, trees for the early satsuma variety trial and the satsuma hybrid trial consisting of “Orange Frost” and “Artic Frost” were produced by Lowndes Extension in Cooperation with Loch Laurel Nursery of Valdosta.  Data gathered from these trials includes fruit quality, yield, cold tolerance, early ripening, fruit color, tree size, and tendency towards alternate bearing.  Citrus trials require many years of harvest data to draw meaningful conclusions.

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