Citrus Production, Part 3 Fruit Management Practices

Pre-Conditioning Stage

Pre-conditioning is done at least two months before bud formation. Pre-conditioning helps in obtaining maximum yield of the citrus plants. Powdery mildew is the most common disease during this stage.

Management practices

  1. Prune broken, dead and infested branches, and paint pruned parts with fungicide paste solution to avoid disease infestation.
  2. Cut or remove weeds to avoid alternate hosts of pests and competition in nutrient and water.
  3. Brush branches infested with molds or snow scales with soap and water.
  4. One month after harvest, apply the recommended organic fertilizers based on soil analysis.
  5. After a month of organic fertilizer application, apply the recommended inorganic fertilizer based on soil analysis. Dig about two inches deep
  6. along the root system or drill at about 100 cm away from the base of the plant.
  7. Cover the fertilizer with soil and mulch with rice straw or rice hull to avoid nutrient losses and to conserve moisture. Cut grasses can also be used as mulch.
  8. Irrigate the citrus trees during the dry season to dissolve the fertilizer applied to make it available to the plant’s roots for absorption.

Flushing Stage

Flushing stage is the development and emergence of new sprouts of leaves.

Management Practices

  1. Monitor for the occurrence of pests like aphids, white fly, leaf miners and defoliators and diseases like powdery mildew, canker and gummosis.
  2. If there is a light to moderate infestation of aphids and white fly, spray soap and water solution by power spraying.
  3. Apply copper-based fungicide to control the occurrence of powdery mildew, canker diseases and gummosis. If the roots are affected, drench the root system with copper-based fungicide.
  4. Weeds are alternate hosts for pest. Thus, weed the orchard regularly.
  5. Irrigate the orchard to avoid water stress.
  6. Spray appropriate insecticide to protect the new flushes from leaf cutting insects.

Bud Break/Pre-Bloom

This stage shows the emergence of flower buds.

Management Practices

  1. Major pests observed during this stage are aphids, white fly and rind borer for oranges and pummelo. To control infestation of these pests, alternately apply the recommended insecticide against rind borer. Avoid cocktail mixture of pesticides. Also, avoid the continuous use of pesticide with the same active ingredient. This may cause the insect to develop resistance to the pesticide and may cause resurgence.
  2. Full protection against rind borer should be done to prevent severe damage to the fruits.
  3. Properly observe preventive measures to avoid severe infestation.
  4. Irrigate the orchard to supplement moisture.
  5. Manual or mechanical weeding is recommended at this stage. Avoid spraying weedicide since this will cause flower abortion.

Full Bloom

  1. Rind borer is the major pest for oranges and pummelos at this stage. If proper control measures were done at the pre-bloom stage,
  2. Do not spray chemicals. This is to protect the pollinators and to avoid the dropping of fruitlets.
  3. Regularly monitor the moisture of the soil and irrigate to avoid plant stress and minimize fruit fall

Petal Fall/Post Bloom

Management Practices

  1. Spray appropriate post bloom pesticides for rind borers if necessary.
  2. Use contact insecticides to control severe infestation of aphids.
  3. Reduce the spread of crawlers from tree to tree by pruning and allowing adequate spacing between plants.
  4. Scrub or scrape the scales from the fruit. Avoid using broad-spectrum insecticides.
  5. Apply mineral oil and spray thoroughly to branches. Use 50 ml to 100 ml oil per 10 liter water if no other oil sprays have been applied within two months. Apply these sprays when the majority of scales are immature.
  6. Continue to monitor the soil moisture and irrigate when necessary to avoid fruit fall.

Fruit Development – Mungo Size

Management Practices

  1. Apply contact insecticides to control fruitworm.
  2. Always observe sanitation to prevent severe occurence of pests.
  3. Irrigate the orchard to supplement moisture.

Fruit Development – Marble Size

Management Practices

  1. Infestation of mealy bugs & scales are moderate, spray with soap & water solution. However, if infestation is severe, apply the recommended pesticides at recommended dosage.
  2. Hand pick rind borer infested fruits and diseased fruits and bury on the ground or burn to avoid further spread of the pests & diseases.
  3. Apply recommended fungicide solution against scab and gummosis.
  4. Continue to irrigate the field to avoid severe fruit fall.
  5. Apply foliar fertilizer as supplement to enhance fruit development.
  6. To enhance the sweetness of fruit, apply muriate of potash (0-0-60), based on soil analysis.

Fruit Development – Pimpong/Ball Size

The fruits reach the stage of full development. Pests and diseases at this stage include fruit fly, gummosis and citrus canker. Start baiting against fruit fly.

Ripening Stage

Maturity index appears at this stage. The prominent green color of rind change to yellowish.

Management Practices

  1. Continue baiting the fruit flies.
  2. Apply fungicides to control fruit diseases.
  3. Dispose properly all fruit fly-infested fruits to regulate fruitfly population.
  4. Immediately harvest off-season matured fruits.

Harvesting Stage

Management practices

  1. Harvest the fruits dry to avoid oleocellosis.
  2. Harvest matured fruits ready for market.
  3. Continue baiting against fruit fly.

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