Favoring More Oranges
As the days cool down, many people start thinking about duck hunting and tracking chilling hours.
While you can imagine the scheming and dreaming involved in the first one, we may have different ideas about the second.
Now, if you’re getting visions of chilling with the boys over beer and football, I wouldn’t blame you.
But I’m talking about something different, a blend of nature and science. This is a story about creating more orange buds and promoting healthy fruit sets.
On Apples And Oranges
When a tree sets a bud it can end up as a leaf or a fruit. How do you determine which? Early in the 1930s research was begun to identify the unique problems citrus growers have in determining the timing for bud differentiation.
On apple trees, blossom and leaf buds look different and grow in different places. But there is no such pattern for citrus. The growth patterns are as different as – well, apples and oranges!
Stress = Fruit
For all plants, bountiful fruit is produced because of stress. Any kind of extreme: cold, heat, not enough water, too much water, insect attack. You get the picture.
Increased yield in citrus begins with the cold. When dormant, cold temperatures and reduced water will make an orange tree decide to make more flowers, which means more fruit.
But how do we control the weather? Over an entire grove?
By counting and waiting patiently.
Yup, it’s called chill hours, or chill units. Roughly speaking, the right amount is 800 hours below 60 degrees.
To confuse things, every week and a half or so, there’s a cold spell. These extra cold days count for more chill units than the actual hours.
Sounds complicated, I know...
Solution: The weather tracking stations sprinkled amongst Florida’s citrus groves do the calculations very exactly when the magic number is approaching.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!
The chilling requirement can be reached anytime from just after Christmas to around the 20th of January. A period of about three weeks
Okay, nature’s done its bit. Now it’s time for science to make sure the nutrition is perfect for flower formation.
Boy, the crop sprayers are busy. Airplanes, most spraying is done from the air. Crop sprayers have tens of thousands of acres to spray – During the critical one week window.
Using over 80 years of research and experience, Growth Products helps nature get ‘luckier’. Let’s look at that in detail. Phosphorus and nitrogen at just the right time also make the tree decide to make more flowers than leaves.
Favoring flowers takes 2 quarts of GP’s "TKO" Phosphite 0-29-26 and one gallon of Nitro-30 SRN 30-0-0 per acre at the pivotal moment. And since we're spraying anyway, it's worth adding 2 quarts of MicroTech AG, GP’s essential micronutrient blend, for overall tree health.
Nitro-30 contains no nitrates. And because Nitro-30 SRN uses a high percentage of Slow Release Nitrogen (SRN) it has a low salt index. Which means no fear of crop damage. View a Salt Index Study here.
"TKO" Phosphite provides phosphorus and a highly absorbable form of potassium. When applied at such a critical growth time, it ensures bud formation, blossom and fruit set.