Citrus growers are important to Florida AGRICULTURE

Fun fact, AGRICULTURE of Florida citrus began in the 1500’s when Spanish explorers planted the first orange trees in St. Augustine and today Florida oranges produce about 3/4 of the United States orange juice.

Below freezing overnight temperatures hit central Florida this past week. Growers protected their crops by turning on water sprinkler systems which creates a layer of ice protecting the trees and fruit from damage. I stopped by an orange grove to see how effective this icing practice was. 

 The grove was staggered planted with early season, mid season and late season varieties of oranges. So there were trees with fruit that was ready to pick, fruit blossoms, fruit just set and the blossoms were fading and fruit that had begun to mature and it was still green.

 Here are a few examples of what I saw in the grove. 

The skin of juice oranges aren’t eye appealing like the oranges we buy at the market.

The new blossoms on this tree appear not to be affected by the cold temperatures.

 

Newly formed fruit approximately 4 – 6 mm with with fading blossoms look unaffected by the cold.

A cluster of maturing green oranges ranging in sizes between chestnuts and golf balls also seem to be unscathed however, the leaves surrounding the fruit shows evidence of weather stress.

From the walk I took through the grove it appears to these untrained eyes that the practice of icing to protect from frost works well.

BTW another fun fact, cold temperatures sweeten the juice but prolonged periods of time with freezing temperatures can ruin a crop. 

Do You See What I See…

© PC PHOTO 2012      All rights reserved 

Sorry there aren’t any photo’s with the ice on the trees, I’d  have to get up too early.


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54 thoughts on “Citrus growers are important to Florida AGRICULTURE

  1. I love that you took this theme to the next level by telling a photo story. I’m from New York and have never even seen an orange tree (or even a farm for that matter). Orange blossoms are beautiful!!

  2. I never knew how they kept the plants warm in freezing temps…interesting facts and even better pics! I must like it to be cold a bit….I LOVE the sweet oranges! 🙂

    • Thank you! Guess the timing of my stop at the orange grove was perfect because I have never seen the tiny fruit like the ones I shared here. Glad you enjoyed.

  3. for us it is the Murrembidgee Irrigation area but there problems differ. Last years floods have resulted in the best growing season on record and the markets for the best eating oranges in the world are drying up due to the economic problems so thousands of tons are left on the tree as it costs too much money to harvest something that no-one will buy. Elsewhere in the world people are starving to death – Madness.

  4. Hi!
    Great photo story. I knew they used frozen water on fruit ready to pick, but I didn’t know they used it on the whole process, blooms and baby fruit. Have a great day!

    Sherrie

  5. Love the top image. Selective coloring is very effective here, making the background seem very cold indeed and setting off the fruit.

  6. Fascinating .. I read about this practice and for several years I’ve sprayed the blossoms on the wisteria when a late frost is forecast.

    I must say, I really don’t see how this works. I was told it’s because the slight rise in temperature as the water spray evaporates keeps the frost from biting, but it doesn’t sound plausible to me, nor can I see how a layer of ice would be any better for the plants than frost … however, as you say, it DOES seem to work, and in the years I’ve sprayed, we haven’t lost any blossom. If a frost has not been forecast and I haven’t sprayed, the whole lot will drop over the next day or so and we have no flowers.

  7. Great story which I enjoyed along with your illustrative photos. We always spray our garden flowers with water if a freeze is threatened…seems to help stave off the inevitable. Much more important effect when your livelihood depends on it. Was just hearing in the news about the contaminated imported orange juice that is somehow making its way into our supply. Why????When we have plenty, I’m sure, that is produced in the US that meets the standards for not using the banned fungicides. Some of these trade agreements are for the birds!!

    • Yes, your heart has to go out to growers when seasons are harsh!
      The suspected tainted oranges were from Brazil – guess this is where the other one quarter of oj comes from. Thankfully reports are now saying there was no threat from Brazilian oranges.

  8. Fun to learn something new, and got some gorgeous pictures, in particular the first one with the oranges. There is just some great graphical quality to it, the shades around the oranges and the contrast between the warm orange colours and the cool winter background.

    • Thanks for stopping in and taking time to comment. I so appreciate your input and happy to learn that what I was attempting to portray came through in the images!

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