The same things that make Florida a great place to live and work also make it a great place to grow citrus. Sub-tropical temperatures, abundant rainfall, plentiful sunshine, and unique sandy soil help grow the sweetest and juiciest grapefruit in the world. Florida Grapefruit growers are committed to preserving the state’s natural resources by adopting sustainable agricultural practices.
Partnering with leading scientific researchers, Florida Grapefruit growers use data to continually improve the way they care for their trees in order to reduce water usage, protect wildlife and limit erosion. A few highlights include:
- Low-volume precision microjets at the base of citrus trees improve the efficiency of water management practices. The microjet irrigation can also apply liquid fertilizer for precision nutritional treatments, eliminating excess usage.
- Automated weather stations throughout citrus groves provide real-time rainfall, wind speed, and humidity measurements for precise irrigation and fertilization schedules.
- Black mesh ground cover in the tree rows minimizes the use of water by 50 percent, which decreases the need for herbicides.
- Cover crops planted in strategic areas of the groves protect the soil from erosion and enhance the soil quality without the addition of other elements.
- Red kaolin clay sprayed on newly planted citrus trees masks the leafy canopy and minimizes the use of pesticides to repel the Asian Citrus Psyllid. Kaolin is a fine organic non-toxic mineral that becomes clay when mixed with water. The color confuses the insect’s sensory system when sprayed on citrus trees.
- Tree bags covering newly planted citrus trees act as a barrier to repel pests, combat citrus greening, and reduce the need for pesticides.
- Many acres of citrus groves are dedicated to the conservation and preservation of the natural habitat of birds, otters, snakes, fish, alligators, and other Florida wildlife.
For more than a century, Floridians have cultivated the land to minimize the impact on the environment and preserve its natural resources. Growing the world’s sweetest and juiciest Grapefruit requires passion to protect and nurture the groves, and perseverance to meet the challenges of the present without compromising the future.