Florida’s Citrus Industry Essay

1097 words - 5 pages

What is the first thing that comes to mind when citrus is brought up? Citrus has been a part of Florida’s History for nearly 400 years. Citrus trees were brought to Florida from the island of Hispaniola around the year 1579 (Joyner 3). A Spanish explorer named Ponce de Leon planted them in St. Augustine, the oldest European settlement in the United States (Joyner 3). This was the first place to have citrus because of the rich soil, easy seaport, and the right temperature to produce a successful crop.
In the early 1800s, the French Count Odet Philippe brought citrus trees from the West Indies to Florida (Joyner 3). He decided to plant the first grove ever in the history of Florida in Tampa. ...view middle of the document...

Many smaller citrus producers sell the by-products of the citrus production in Florida’s Citrus Industry. (Wolfe 20-21)
One of the first diseases that were discovered in Florida was foot rot. Discovered in as early as 1876, young seedlings were affected the most. Foot rot, which is still prominent in today’s Citrus, is caused by two species of fungi. The fungi live in soil that is extremely moist, “mostly found in low, fine-textured soils.” (Wolfe 144) The foot rot starts at the base of the tree and ascends up the trunk of the tree and affects the remainder of the tree.
Another disease that costs the Florida Citrus industry is the rust mite. This mite causes the tree’s oranges to be “russeted,” meaning that they “show slivering to the rind.” (Wolfe 182) The rust mite is a pest that is hard to detect because of their size, 1/200 inch long. The mites’ presence is only known of when the fruit is injured. Mites can be discovered with a magnifying lens by looking at the tree’s foliage. For several years, the standard treatment for rust mites has been to spray the trees with sulfur. In recent years, varying treatments have been used. Miticide, one of the newer treatments, is an effective treatment that also treats for other diseases and pests. (Wolfe 182-183)
One of the most prevalent diseases in Florida is citrus canker, which was discovered in 1910. Aggressive means of eradication were put into place to try to rid the disease form the Florida Citrus Industry. The disease was “irradiated,” but has been reintroduced by imports from other countries. Plant inspectors are continually inspecting for this deadly disease to pinpoint the origin and to prevent the further spread of this disease. (Wolfe 185)
A disease that is “grappling with the most serious threat” is citrus greening. This bacterial disease, first discovered in 2005, has no cure and is ravaging throughout Florida’s Citrus groves. This disease causes the fruit to drop off the trees prematurely and or to taste bitter. Citrus greening has caused the total production of Florida’s citrus to decrease...

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