Stompin’ Around the Orchards

FlordaPrince
‘Flordaprince’ Peach

August 10, 2011

Thus far 2011 has been a great year!  We had a pretty warm spring that was relatively dry and most growers harvested a fantastic crop of peaches.  Some growers were harvesting as early as late March, a few weeks earlier than the typical start date in early April.

Our program staff has expanded with the addition of a Ph.D. graduate student, who is working on determining optimal rates of nitrogen for subtropical peach production and a new biological scientist who has been a HUGE help in the orchard this season.  Unluckily for him, he started at the beginning of harvest, and was thrown into the lion’s den of research.

We are working on several research projects in the program:

  • Impact of Nitrogen Rate on Peach Tree Growth and Fruit Quality
  • Rootstock evaluation for resistance to M. floridensis and genetics of resistance
  • Economics of orchard establishment and production
  • Impact of IBA concentration on rooting softwood, semi-hardwood, and hardwood cuttings
  • Impact of gibberellic acid on tree growth and fruit quality

The other part of my program is Extension and outreach – and we have had several field days that started with our annual Citra Field Day on April 27, 2011, then the May 2011 Conserv II Field Day, and a Variety Showcase in Hastings, FL.  I am also involved in a couple of national grants that do research and extension on a national level – RosBREED, and Tree Fruit Genomic Database Resources (tfGDR).  These projects serve to further the Rosaceae industry (the parent family for peaches, plums, nectarines, and other crops) and I am trying to integrate outreach and breeding to trumpet the successes of these programs and involve stakeholders that help us to get funding on a national level.  If you have questions about these projects or the tools provided by these projects, please let me know!

Mongi-1
Growers at the Stone Fruit Field Day, Citra, FL
April 27, 2011
MFCRECFieldDay051011-105
Peach Pruning Demonstration, Conserv II, Winter Garden, FL
May, 2011
Peach Variety Showcase, Hastings, FL
Peach Variety Showcase, Hastings, FL
May, 2011

If you would like to be notified of these events, please send me an e-mail at mercy1@ufl.edu to get on my peach mailing list.

Finally, we installed a research and demonstration orchard down at the Indian River REC in Fort Pierce, FL last week – and it was stinking hot!  We tried to start at 7 am, and it still wasn’t early enough! We will be using this orchard for field days in the future and rotate between our Citra orchard and the Fort Pierce facility.

Peach Bed Preparation
Prepared Bed with Two Rows
Peach Orchard Establishment
Peach Tree Ready for Planting
Orchard Establishment, Fort Pierce, FL
Established Orchard, IRREC, Fort Pierce, FL

I also continue to get around the state to see new orchards being established and teach groups of growers about production techniques – I can’t get around to everyone, but let me know if you need some help and we can usually solve the problem with e-mails and phone calls!

Have a great summer!

352-273-4772
mercy1@ufl.edu

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