Florida’s subtropical climate is ideal for growing citrus during the hotter months and harvesting them from September through June. The most prominent citrus fruits are oranges and grapefruit, which grow in dozens of delicious varieties. Citrus is not native to Florida, believe it or not. It arrived early in the 16th century with Spanish explorers who planted orange trees near St. Augustine and began to grow commercially in the 19th century when railroads made it possible to ship citrus fruits across the country. It did not take long for citrus growers to recognize the importance of applying chemicals and fertilizers to their crops to increase production. The citrus industry welcomed Bell Chem and their sister company, Safe Chem, two decades ago to provide the ultimate chemicals, such as CSAN Cleaning and Sanitation products, and practices to use those products safely. The sanitation product supplier, Bell Chem, keeps abreast of the latest trends and difficulties facing citrus growers and offer products to ensure the best crops possible.
Top producing crops in Florida include oranges, grapefruits, and a category known as specialty fruits – tangerines, tangelos, and many cross-breeds.
The unprecedented freeze over the winter of 1894 destroyed a significant percentage of citrus crops. Growers regrouped and moved their produce from North Central Florida to locations farther south. Within 15 years production was back on track, and 2/3 of Florida’s peninsula is now commercially viable for citrus growth.
Surprisingly, the top citrus-producing county in Florida is Polk County, located in Central Florida.
Growing citrus takes well drained, deep soil because citrus roots do not enjoy being saturated. Soil should be at a pH of 6-8 on average. Citrus do not appreciate high salt content in the ground. To produce the best possible fruit, ensure your soil is slightly nitrogen rich or use a balanced NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium) fertilizer. Most citrus trees benefit from the trace elements found in fertilizers, such as magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, zinc, and boron. Bell Chem stocks many of these products for industrial citrus growers.
The citrus industry relies on herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides to keep their plants healthy and productive. Without these products, a tree containing a deadly fungus could infect the entire orchard, causing a complete shutdown of production, or, even more devastating, the destruction of every tree. Many of the products stocked by the sanitation product supplier Bell Chem, such as caustic potash 45% and urea form the basis of the chemicals used by citrus tree farmers in treating their crops. Contact Bell Chem at 407-339-2355 (BELL) for a complete listing of all our citrus industry products to keep your trees thriving. Our blogs detail many of these chemicals for a more in-depth understanding of their functions.