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Grove Design :: Model Grove


Why plant a model grove?...because the success of mechanical harvesting is directly related to the amount of fruit to harvest and the ability of the system to efficiently remove fruit. Thus, yield/acre drives the economics of mechanical harvesting. We designed the model grove to evaluate new production systems that have the potential to allow more efficient and economical harvesting to occur regardless of whether the harvesting is done mechanically or robotically with current or as yet undeveloped technology. Also, the model grove project represents designs and production systems not currently available among commercial groves.

  • Evaluate and compare sweet orange trees planted on appropriate rootstocks at either a conventional spacing (150 trees/acre), intermediate spacing (200 trees/acre), or close spacing (545 trees/acre) and grown on an intensive irrigation and fertility program in order to produce cropping trees as rapidly as possible.
  • Evaluate (operational and economic) mass and robotic harvesting systems or develop new procedures and equipment appropriate for each production system.

Key Findings (Updated on 12/07)

Many high-headed trees need support stakes when first planted in the field from the nursery. These trees grow off will but require some sprouting on the trunk if tree wraps are not used the first year.

Activities Planned for 2007-2008

  • The demonstration site will be continually monitored and measured. It is also available for growers to visit as they plan new plantings and reset in existing groves. Also, data from the concept grove demonstration site will help growers determine how they can save money in harvesting and remain in business in the presence of citrus greening.
  • Completion of the demonstration video on retrofitting existing trees for mechanical harvesting machines is needed to show growers how they can take advantage of lower harvesting costs.

Publications and Extension Products


Bob Rouse, Bill Castle, Kelly Morgan, Fritz Roka, and Adair Wheaton. 2007. Why plant a model citrus grove. Citrus Industry 88:13-14.

For more information:

Bob Rouse
Bill Castle

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