By Clint Thompson
Rooting issues in citrus containers were a major problem this year for producers in Georgia.
Kim Jones, who farms citrus in Georgia and Florida, implores producers to inspect their trees extensively before planting in the future. He said there were various reports of j-rooting and circle-rooting in container plants. The trees would be more vulnerable to high-stress environmental conditions if left undetected before planted in the ground.
“It’ll survive, it just won’t thrive,” Jones said. “That’s what happened this year in Georgia. We lost so many trees.
“J-rooting is when they put the root in the ground, the tap root turns up. It goes down and turns up. Circle rooting is when the tree reaches the edges of the pot, and it starts going around and around. Those are worse than the j-rooting, honestly,” Jones added. “It won’t kill a tree, but it can put it in stress. When cold temperatures come, that’s when you wind up getting the problem with it. It will kill the tree. That’s what happened this year. About everyone that we pulled up that was dead had a circle rooting problem.”
That puts the responsibility on the grower who needs to inspect the roots before they go into the ground.
“It can be mitigated at the time of planting, but they have to look for it,” Jones said. “When they pull it out of the pot, they knock the dirt off of it and they see it there. They clip it. The tree can survive once you do that.”
Georgia’s citrus production has increased exponentially with an estimated 2,700 acres this year, compared to just 1,000 acres in 2019. About 85%, or 2,300, of those acres are for satsuma mandarins.