Posts Tagged: orange
The Orange County Master Gardeners have lived up to their name with their website information on citrus. It's a truly impressive information site for not only homeowners, but also growers:
The “Citrus Problem Diagnosis Chart” is especially work perusing:
There's been a lot of avocado and citrus planting going on and this is a good time for a reminder about how to dig a hole. This is by our colleague Jim Downer in Ventura County, Horticulture Advisor and also past president of the International Society of Arboriculture, Western Chapter. In the text, where you see Fraxinus or some other tree name you don't recognize, just slip in avocado or citrus and keep reading. Also, check out the references.
Green side up! Oh, and do not sink the rootball below grade!
I have always been amazed at how the simplest of procedures or practices can go so wrong. For the green industry, the best example of this is planting. The act of putting green in the ground is our business. We do this. The problem is, we often do it wrong, carelessly, or without regard for the outcome—dead trees! A consultant friend often expressed how deep planting and covering the root ball with native fill are the most common mistakes he sees. I have to agree--landscape plants die at the hand of man more than from all the diseases and insects combined. There are various incorrect ways to plant a tree, such as adding too much organic matter to the backfill, installing a dry root ball and then not irrigating after planting, or adding too much fertilizer to the backfill. The practice I want to cover in this article is planting too deeply. The problem continues despite research about planting that recommends correct planting depths.
Planting depth is often ignored when plants are installed in landscapes.
Deep planting can result in death of woody and non-woody or herbaceous plants either because they rot (in moisture-saturated soils) or because they dry out. In either case, the symptoms are similar: wilting, sunscald or burnt leaves (necrotic tissues in the middle of the leaf), lack of growth, leaf drop, and eventually, necrosis of leaves, shoots and branches (all above ground parts). Irrigation usually does not improve symptoms because by the time they are noticed the plant has already been harmed beyond repair.
Root balls placed below grade cause several problems during establishment. Since native soil surrounds the root ball, there is an immediate problem with an interface between the two soil textures. Most container media are “light” to promote drainage characteristics necessary for container culture. When these soil-free media are planted in soil which is of a much finer texture, the resulting interface does not allow water to enter the root ball. Water must completely saturate the surrounding soil before it will cross the interface (Harris et al., 1999). As the plant draws down its container media moisture, the root ball desiccates beyond the permanent wilting point and the plant dies. This process is extreme in plants that are grown in peat-based media because the peat moss can become quite hydrophobic as it dries and then the interface issues are exacerbated. Special care should be taken with citrus and avocados to plant them at or above grade so the media itself is exposed to irrigations.
Acid plants are however, no exception to the above suggestion. Installing the plant at or above grade (if only ½-1 inch) will prevent excessive drying of the root ball due to interface smothering. It is however, very important that the root ball itself is irrigated in the first month of establishment not just the surrounding soil. Newly planted nursery stock does not absorb water from landscape soil, only from its own rootball. Until roots grow into the native soil, the plant must be irrigated to keep its rootball moist. The surface of the rootball can be protected with a coarse wood chip mulch.
Not all installers get planting depths wrong at the start. When the plants are first installed, everything looks good. The problem is sometimes related to the amount of digging used to make the planting hole. If the hole is dug too deep, and soil added back to bring the final grade to level, the plant can slump as water settles it. Digging destroys soil structure, so backfill under the rootball always settles - the plant sinks.Soil will wash in from the sides covering the root ball and sealing it from future irrigations.
Deeply planted woody plants are subject to diseases. The area where the roots of a plant join its main stem is the root collar. This area is very metabolically active and requires oxygen. In some cases, the stem above the root collar is green and photosynthesizes. Acer japonicum the Japanese maple has a clearly demarcated root collar region. Soil goes on the brown part and the green part should remain above ground. When the main stem is buried, the plant is predisposed to attack from canker forming fungi or other plant pathogens that can girdle the stem, killing it and all that grows above it.
It is quite clear from the literature that there is a strong species effect to the tolerance (or lack of tolerance) to deep planting. In a study of red maple and Yoshino cherry, only 50% of cherries survived deep planting, while there were no significant losses of maple to deep planting practices (Wells, et al., 2006). Arnold and others, 2007, found that green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) was more tolerant to below-grade installation than golden rain tree (Koelreuteria bipinnata). In the same paper by Arnold et al., they showed that mulching can make deep planting worse. When trees planted below grade were mulched, mortality levels increased.
If plants survive deep planting, there can be other consequences. Wells and others 2006, showed that red maple (Acer rubrum) had increased numbers of girdling roots the deeper they were planted. When planted 6 inches below grade trees had 48% of their trunk encircled by girdling roots, when planted 12 inches below grade 71% of the trunk was affected.
Not all researchers found that soil over the root ball is detrimental. Gilman and Grabosky, 2004, found that if irrigation is plentiful (over an inch of applied water), trees survived and were less stressed three months later. Although planting depth did not impact growth of Southern live oaks, the study was relatively short term (7 months). I have also found in my own study of landscape shrubs that deep planting of five different genera of shrubs were not affected by planting depths of up to 4 inches below grade. The limitation of these studies is that they are short term. Over longer periods, disease and greater periods of hypoxia during high rainfall seasons may have cumulative detrimental effects not seen in the establishment phase of growth. When studied for three years, Arnold and others (2007), found that planting slightly above grade (3 in) improved growth of oleander and sycamore, while planting slightly below grade (3in) was harmful to all tested plants.
Broschatt, T. 1995. Planting depth affects survival, root growth, nutrient content of transplanted pygmy date palms. HortScience 30:1031-1032.
Arnold, M.A., G.V. McDonald, and D. Bryan. 2005. Planting depth and mulch thickness affect establishment of green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica and Bougainvillea goldenraintree (Koelreuteria bipinnata). J. Arboric. and Urban Forestry 31:163-170.
Arnold, M.A. G.V. McDonald, D.L. Bryan, G.C. Denny, W.T. Watson and L. Lombardini. 2007. Below-grade planting adversely affects survival and growth of tree species from five different families. J. Arboric. and Urban Forestry 33:64-69
Gillman, E. and J. Grabosky. 2004. Mulch and planting depth affect live oak (Quercus virginiana Mill.) establishment. J. Arboric. and Urban Forestry 30:311-317
Harris, R.W., J.R. Clark, and N.P. Matheny. 1999. Arboriculture: Integrated Management of Landscape Trees, Shrubs, and Vines. 3rd ed. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.
MacDonald, J.D., L.R. Costello, J.M. Lichter, and D. Quickert. 2004. Fill soil effects on soil aeration and tree growth. J. Arboriculture 30:19-27.
Wells C., K. Townsend, J. Caldwell, D. Ham, E.T. Smiley and M. Sherwood. 2006. Effects of planting depth on landscape tree survival and girdling root formation. J. Arboriculture and Urban Forestry 32:305-311.
The proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Huanglongbing (IRCHLB V) is now published, available and citable online through the Journal of Citrus Pathology: http://escholarship.org/uc/iocv_journalcitruspathology
Joseph (Josy) M. Bové - Selected Photos
Joseph (Josy) M. Bové Dedication
Tribute to Prof. Dr. Joseph Bové
If you download the Bové Dedication pdf file, there is a link near the top of page 3 that will redirect you to the video interview of Prof. Bové. This is the video that we could not show during the meeting due to audiovisual technical difficulties. You must download the pdf for the link to be active. The link is not active when simply viewing the publication online.
The keynote speakers are working on their contributions. These will be available shortly and we will send another email announcement when they become available as well.
sIn the bottom left corner is the Search box for finding authors and topics of the abstracts.
providing some advantage to the farmer. Frequently, these are new fertilizer mixes presented as proprietary cocktails promoted and dispensed with promises of a multitude of profitable (yet improbable) benefits to the buyer. With the large number of new products available, and the number of salespeople promoting them, it is often difficult for growers to distinguish between products likely to provide real benefit, and those that may actually reduce the profitability of the farm.
In all situations when a company approaches the University or a commodity research board with a new product or technology for sale to California growers, these institutions act as grower advocates. They are charged with sorting through the available information; asking the right questions; getting the necessary research done if the available information warrants this pursuit; disseminating accurate information on these new technologies and products, and doing all that can help maximize grower profits now and in the future. When approached with a new product or technology it is obligatory to challenge claims with the following questions:
Is there some basic established and accepted scientific foundation on which the product claims are made?
Language that invokes some proprietary ingredients or mysterious formulations, particularly in fertilizers mixes registered in the State of California, raises red flags. A wide range of completely unrelated product benefit claims (such as water savings, pesticide savings, increased earlier yield) raises more red flags. Product claims that fall well outside of any accepted scientific convention generally mean the product is truly a miracle, or these claims are borderline false to entirely fraudulent.
Has the product undergone thorough scientific testing in orchards?
Frequently, products are promoted based on testimonials of other growers. While testimonials may be given in good faith, they are most often not backed up by any real scientific testing where a good control was used to compare orchard returns with and without the product.
A “test” where a whole block was treated with a product and which has no reliable untreated control does not meet accepted standards for conducting agricultural experiments. Also, a treated orchard cannot reliably be compared to a neighboring untreated orchard; and a treated orchard cannot be compared to the same orchard that was untreated the previous crop year. Even a test with half a block of treated trees and half untreated is not considered dependable by any known scientific standard of testing.
Only a well designed, statistically replicated, multi-year trial allows for direct comparison of untreated versus treated trees with statistical confidence. Verifiable data from tests that meet acceptable standards of scientific design, along with access to raw baseline (before treatment) yield data from the same trees (preferably for the two years prior) should be used to determine the validity of test results provided.
Are the test results from a reliable source?
If the testing were not done by a neutral party, such as university scientists, agency, or a reputable contract research company using standard scientific protocols, this raises red flags. If the persons overseeing the tests have a financial interest in seeing positive results from the product, it raises red flags.
Does the product have beneficial effects on several unrelated farm practices?
A product that increases production of trees, makes fruit bigger, reduces pests, reduces water use, and reduces fertilizer costs, is more than a little suspicious. In reality, if such a product really existed, it would not need any testing at all because its benefits would be so obviously realized by the grower community that it would spread rapidly by word of mouth and embraced by the entire grower community.
Are other standard and proven farm products put down in the new product sales delivery?
If a new product vendor claims that their product is taken up 15 times faster than the one growers are currently using, or is 30 times more efficient, it probably costs 15 to 30 times more per unit of active ingredient than the standard market price. Growers should always examine the chemical product label to see what active ingredient they are buying. There has to be a very good reason to pay more for an ingredient where previously there had been no problem supplying the same ingredient at a cheaper price to trees in the past.
There are impartial sources of such information available to farmers to help corroborate information provided by product vendors. Perhaps the most reliable and accessible impartial research and education resources for growers are their local Cooperative Extension Farm Advisors and commodity research boards.
When promising products emerge, local university Farm Advisors can advise growers on how to evaluate these products and may help design a small trial to test a particular product on a few trees under local orchard conditions. If in these pursuits a truly promising new product or technology emerges, research board funding may follow but only on the recommendation of that board's Research Committee.
'Pixie' mandarin is a very vigorous, upright tree. Although the fruit is small, hence its name, it can produce fruit on the ends of long branches which deform the canopy structure, making it hard to pick. The sweet, seedless fruit is worth picking, though. The rootstock standards for this small industry are ‘Citrumelo' and ‘C-35' citrange. The industry is looking for alternatives to these choices, especially those that reduce the vigor of the trees.
There is no one ideal rootstock at this point and growers have the option of a wide range of choices. The search includes those that are resistant to Citrus Tristeza Virus (CTV), Phytophthora, calcareous soils and ideally one that is resistant to the bacteria that causes Huanglongbing.
In many California coastal growing areas, land is expensive, water scarce and costly and prone to calcareous soils that are derived from marine sediments which can bring on iron chlorosis. Growers are also looking for smaller trees that will give early economic returns, are easier to prune and pick, and may be more compatible with the economics driven by Huanglongbing.
‘Citrumelo' citrange yields a large tree with good quality and quantity of fruit. It is tolerant of CTV (Citrus tristeza virus) and Phytophthora spp, but is susceptible to iron chlorosis in high pH soils. ‘C-35' citrange is a smaller tree than Citrumelo, also has resistance to Phytophthora spp and CTV, and is more tolerant of high pH soils.
The USDA had a breeding program in California which was taken over by the University of California. Out of this breeding project, the university selected three rootstocks for release in 2009 because of their horticultural characteristics, such as dwarfing, although not as much as ‘Flying Dragon' trifoliate, resistance to CTV and tolerance of calcareous soils. These three rootstocks also show good tolerance to Phytophthora parasitica and nematodes.
Pixie growers have been looking for a more compact tree, easier to handle and not need so much pruning. They funded a long-term project to see how these newer selections of rootstock performed in their area which has a hot summer/cool winter. A 2014 planting of ‘Pixie' has been evaluating the size reducing effects of the relatively new rootstocks ‘Bitters' citrange, ‘Carpenter' citrange and ‘Furr' citrange. After two years, ‘Pixie' on ‘Citrumelo' is the largest tree. Of the new rootstocks, ‘Furr' is the largest and ‘Bitters' the smallest. The trial was replicated at two sites with two different pH soils. At one site with the highest soil pH, ‘Bitters' showed iron chlorosis.
Photo: long whip growth on 'Pixie'