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Grove Design :: Retrofitting Existing Trees


Traditional trees in groves have low hanging branches along the lower canopy (tree skirt) which hang very close to the soil surface and are not well suited for mechanical harvesting machines. These traditional trees were grown in citrus nurseries and headed (branched) at about 16 inches to form branching that would become the scaffold limbs of the mature tree. Low hanging branches, near the ground, can interfere with trunk shaking machines and catch frames that collect the fruit when shaken from the tree. When a catch frame is used to receive the fruit as it is shaken off the tree, clearance is also required regardless of whether a trunk shaker or the canopy shaker machine is used.

  • Establish demonstration site and retrofit existing trees for mechanical harvesting

Key Findings (Updated on 10/07)

Trees in the SWFREC citrus grove have been skirted and hedge & topped so they are suitable for trunk shakers and canopy shaker machines. All varieties of oranges and grapefruit are available to see by anyone interested.

Activities Planned for 2007-2008

  • Completion of the demonstration video on retrofitting existing trees for mechanical harvesting machines.

Publications and Extension Products


Rouse, Bob and Steve Futch. 2007. Trimming The Fat. Florida Grower Magazine. Vol. 100(8):24-25.

PowerPoint Presentation>

The shape of nursery trees in the future to improve mechanical harvesting efficiency, Citrus Mechanical Harvesting Field Day, April, 2006. Bob Rouse, UF-SWFREC

Brochures and Posters

High-Headed Nursery Trees: Preparing for the Future of Mechanical Harvesting Barbara Hyman and Robert Rouse

Bob Rouse, UF-SWFREC, and Mongi Zekri, UF-Hendry Co. Ext. High Headed Tree Handout. Citrus Mechanical Harvesting Field Day, January 2007. SWFREC.

For more information:

Bob Rouse

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