By Alison DeLoach
Peaches can often be a difficult crop for growers to produce in Florida. Ali Sarkhosh, an assistant professor and Extension specialist at the University of Florida (UF), dedicates his research to helping growers overcome these challenges. Recently, Sarkhosh hosted a stone fruit field day with the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
The speakers at this event included scientists and Extension specialists from different fields of crop and tree management. Nematology, plant pathology and the future of a new variety were a few of the topics that were presented at the field day. Sarkhosh said his goal for the event was to provide peach growers with practical information to improve their productivity.
Sarkhosh, who has been with UF for almost two years, works with basic science and applied science in the lab and in the field. “I’m proud to work for UF. Our program has been very successful doing a lot of research and collaborating with different scientists in different fields to improve … the productivity in stone fruit,” Sarkhosh said. He also mentioned how welcoming the growers in Florida have been.
Initiated by growers, Sarkhosh conducted a shade experiment. Some growers used shading methods and reported they saw better quality of fruit and better flowering on the shade side of the windbreak. By using shade on peaches in this experiment, he wanted to see how the shade affected the required chilling hours. The data from the experiment shows shading can increase the chilling hours, but more research is needed to determine the effectiveness of shading on peach tree orchards. Sarkhosh said shading has improved fruit color and fruit quality while reducing sunburn.
In addition to research with shade, Sarkhosh is looking at rootstock selection and the impact water logging has on a tree’s rootstock. “We want to see which individual or combination (rootstock) can handle saturated soil with the water in Florida,” he said. Again, more research on this experiment is needed to provide growers with a solid rootstock recommendation.
Share this Post