Track the Journey From Citrus Seed To Growing Success

The Florida Citrus Research Foundation (FCRF) provides oversight and support for the A.H. Whitmore Foundation Farm near Leesburg. The foundation and farm were initiated in 1959 as a means of supporting the Florida citrus industry through citrus field research, trial plantings, and cropping new citrus crosses for evaluation and data collection.

FCRF has long enjoyed a close working relationship with USDA-ARS, and many of the foundation’s activities support ARS research.

The February 2020 “Citrus Nursery Source” column describes an expansion of the Whitmore Foundation Seed Source Block in 2017, which included trees of several of the more commercially popular USDA rootstock varieties plus others that were viewed as “potential candidates for expanded use” at the time.

Because it takes years for citrus rootstocks to solidify their value in a range of planting conditions, removals and additions are necessary every few years in order to keep the block current and relevant. The frequency of such changes is much greater in an HLB environment than it ever was previously.

Diagram of Whitmore Foundation Citrus Rootstock Seed Production Block 2

The above chart shows the location and composition of the seed source trees at Whitmore. Rows 11-19 of the chart are part of the 2021 planting plan and should be producing seed within three years. All of the seed is extracted under contract with a commercial citrus nursery and is directed to FNGLA’s Citrus Nursery Division for equitable distribution to industry. Funds from the sale of citrus rootstock seed are used by the Foundation to support farm upkeep, improvements, and general operations.
NOTE: The seed source block does not currently include UF/IFAS rootstocks, as these are produced at the research and education centers.

Consequently, FCRF is again initiating significant improvements to the Whitmore seed source block to provide more seed of high demand rootstocks as well as seed of rootstocks that growers and nurseries have targeted for trial. Since less than 15% of this year’s citrus rootstock liners were from tissue culture,* seed supply remains a critical component of the industry recovery, and FCRF intends to do its part to help avoid shortages.


*Appreciation to FDACS’ Bureau of Citrus Budwood Registration for calculating this number.


Save the Date: A.H. Whitmore Foundation Farm Field Day

The 2021-2022 season Foundation Farm Field Day will take place on Friday, Dec. 3, 2021. Mark your calendars. It will be a chance to sample some of the new USDA citrus selections, tour the farm, and see first-hand the good work that is ongoing in support of Florida’s citrus industry. This year’s Field Day will feature a sponsored BBQ lunch and a guided farm tour.

Times and additional details will be sent to the Variety Display invitation list maintained by New Varieties Development & Management Co. RSVPs will be required.

If you do not presently receive email information about variety displays, field days, and similar opportunities, please send a request to lucy.torres@ffva.com and ask that your email address be added to the list. You may also call 321-214-5214 or visit nvdmc.org.

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