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not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
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site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.
Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
FOR COMMERCIAL USE ONLY
Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida, Gainesville
John T. Woeste, Dean for Extension
OKRA PRODUCTION GUIDE
Okra is grown in Florida in the home garden
and commercially for consumption as a fresh,
frozen or canned product. It will grow and pro-
duce good yields during certain seasons in all
locations in Florida. It is adapted to all soil types
found in Florida, but performs best in rich sandy
loams with pH between 5.8 and 6.2. Extensive
acreage is grown on rockland soils of Dade
county. Okra will not thrive during periods of
cool weather and is killed by frost. The most im-
portant limiting factor in okra production is usu-
ally the crop's susceptibility to nematode injury.
Clemson Spineless-A standard variety; used
for fresh market and as a frozen product. Pods
straight with short taper at tip, spineless, ridges,
rich green in color, good quality and uniform;
plants are 4 to 5 feet tall, relatively free of spines
and bear sparse foliage.
Emerald-Pods emerald green, spineless, and
smoothly rounded, good quality, and remain
tender even at large size. Plants are 3 to 4 feet
Long Green Pod-Similar to Clemson Spineless.
Other Varieties-Perkins Dwarf Spineless.
Planting dates Days to maturity
North Florida: March -June
Central Florida: February August 50 to 60 Days
South Florida: January March; August October
Planting Distances and Seed Rates
Planting distances Depth Seed required
Between rows- 1/2" to 1" 3 to 10 Ibs./ac.
36" to 48"
Within the row 2 oz./100 ft. of row
4" to 10"
Placement-Where soluble salt injury is not
anticipated, the basic application of fertilizer
normally used at planting can be banded 2 to 3
inches to each side and slightly below the level
of the seed. However, where soluble salt injury
may occur; the basic fertilizer should be broad-
cast and mixed into the soil before planting.
Timing-The basic application of fertilizer may
be applied before planting, during planting,
shortly after planting, or in split applications
combining any two or all three times of applica-
tion. Supplemental fertilizer may be applied
whenever needed during the growing season and
especially after heavy rains that may leach the
Okra Fertilization for Different Soil Types
Soil Basic subsequent Number of
type application application applications
mineral soils 108-144-144 30-0-30 1 to 5
mineral soils 72-96-96 30-0-30 1 to 3
muck soils 0-60-120 (3) (3)
Marl 54-72-72 30-0-30 1 to 3
Rockland 45-60-60 30-0-30 or 1 to 3
SIncludes all mineral soils (except marl and rockland) having a
dependable supply of moisture.
2Includes all mineral soils (except marl and rockland) not having
a dependable supply of moisture.
3The amount of fertilizer suggested here is the amount needed for
organic soils low in P205 and K20. When soil tests show a
medium level of P205 in an organic soil, reduce the amount of
P205 by one-third; and when soil P2O5 levels are high, reduce by
two-thirds. Follow the same suggestions for medium and high
levels of K2O.
The amount of fertilizer suggested is sufficient
to grow these crops under normal conditions.
Most crops will respond to supplemental applica-
tions of nitrate-nitrogen during periods of cool
weather or following heavy rainfall.
Optimum range of soil pH for okra production
is between 5.8 and 6.2.
A general guide for supplying adequate levels
of micronutrients (minor elements) in the ab-
sence of past experience or soil tests is to add
0.3 percent MnO, 0.2 percent CuO, 0.3 percent
Fe2O3, 0.2 percent ZnO, and 0.2 percent B203: to
the fertilizer mixture. The micronutrients can be
obtained from mixtures of oxides, sulfates, che-
lates or fritted materials. Growers should con-
sider the elements applied in fungicides in the
overall management of a micronutrient program.
Higher rates of the micronutrients may be re-
quired to overcome the tendency of micronu-
trients to be tied-up by the organic matter in
muck and peat soils and from the high pH effect
on marl and rockland soils.
On new peat soils, broadcast 15 pounds of CuO,
10 pounds of MnO, and 4 pounds of B2O:3 per acre
before any crop is planted.
Read the label on each pesticide container be-
fore each use. Heed all cautions and warnings.
Store pesticides in original labelled containers in
a safe place, preferably under lock and key. Dis-
pose of empty containers promptly and safely.
Information is given on recommended pesticides
and minimum days between last application and
harvest. There will be changes and cancellations;
therefore, the grower must keep abreast of devel-
opments through county extension agents, ex-
periment stations and industry.
Insecticides and Amount days
Insect formulation1 per acre to
Aphid Parathion 4E /2 pt. 21
Mevinphos (Phosdrin) 2E 1 pt. 1
Okra Mevinphos (Phosdrin) 2E 1-2 pts. 1
Caterpillar Carbaryl (Sevin) 80% WP 1'/4 Ibs. NTL2
Leaf Miner Parathion 4E 1/ pt. 21
Stinkbug Parathion 4E /2 pt. 21
Mevinphos (Phosdrin) 2E 1 pt. 1
Carbaryl (Sevin) 80% WP 1 % Ibs. NTL
1Other formulations may be registered and available.
2No time limit.
Cutworms: If cutworms are known to be pres-
ent, toxaphene at the rate of 2 lbs. active ingre-
dients per acre can be applied to the soil surface
rior to planting. After emergence, a 2.5 percent
ait can be applied at the rate of 20 to 40 lbs.
Control of nematodes is critical for successful
kra production. Rates given in the following
able are based on either an overall application
7ith chisels spaced at 12 inches or a single row
application spaced at 36 inches. Wider spaced
ows will result in use of less total fumigant per
cre. If two or more chisels are used per row at
2-inch spacings, the rate per chisel should be
he same as for the overall treatment.
Nematicide Rates and Uses*
Overall Row (36-inch spacing)
Fl oz/chisel FI oz/chisel
per 1000 per 1000
ematicide Gal/acre linear feet Gal/acre linear feet
-D 20-25 59-73 9-11 79-97
ELONE II 12-15 35-44 5.3-6.7 46-62
OWFUME W-85 4.5-6.0 13-18 1.5-2.0 13-18
EMAGON 12.1 1.5-2.0 4.4-5.9 0.75-1.0 4.4-5.9
XY DBCP 12
UMAZONE 70 2.0-2.8 5.9-8.2 1.0-1.5 5.9-8.2
1For organic (peat and muck) soils, rates should be increased 75
to 100%. Fumazone, Nemagon, or OXY-DBCP should not be used
on organic soils.
In addition to these nematicides, various multi-
purpose soil fumigants are available for effective
control of soil-borne disease complexes, nema-
todes, and certain insects and weeds. However,
these materials are generally more expensive be-
cause of the rates required. If these materials
are used, read the manufacturer's label for speci-
fic use, rates, and general directions for applica-
*At time of publication, the nematicide DBCP (Fumazone, Nema-
gon and Oxy DBCP) was under threat of suspension by EPA.
Although use of DBCP for okra was still legal, its status may change.
Check with your local County Agent for current registration and
Relatively few diseases attack okra. Occasion.
ally, Fusarium wilt is present on old land. In
Dade county, Verticillium wilt is a serious di-
sease. A good rotation program will aid in re-
ducing the damage from wilts and other soil-
borne diseases. Powdery mildew is sometimes a
problem; however, no fungicides are approved by
EPA for its control on okra.
For weed control, use one of the following
Trifluralin (Treflan)--Applied preplanting, /
to 1 pound per acre (active ingredient) on sandy
soils. Trifluralin should be incorporated immedi-
ately after application. Use the lower rate on
sandy soils low in organic matter and the higher
rate on sandy soils high in organic matter. The
1 pound per acre treatment can also be used on
the marl and rockland soils.
Diphenamid (Dymid or Enide)-Applied pre-
emergence, 5 pounds per acre (active ingredient).
Harvesting and Handling
Okra pods generally reach prime condition for
harvesting in 4 to 6 days after flowering. Pods
should be harvested when they are from 3 to 4
inches long. If allowed to remain on the plants an
extra day or two, the pods become too tough and
fibrous for food and subsequent production is
impaired. For that reason, plants must be har-
vested daily or on alternate days.
Okra can be kept satisfactorily for fresh con-
sumption over a two-week period at a tempera-
ture of 500F and a relative humidity of 85 to
90 percent. At temperatures lower than 500F,
okra is subject to chilling injury, evidenced by
surface discoloration, pitting and decay.
For additional information, the reader is di-
ected to the following publications:
Florida Extension Circular 225, "Commercial
vegetable Fertilization Guide."
Florida Extension Circular 193, "Commercial
vegetable Insect and Disease Control Guide."
Florida Extension Circular 196, "Chemical
eed Control for Florida Vegetable Crops."
Since these circulars are revised periodically;
e sure to obtain the latest editions.
prepared by: R. D. William and James Montelaro.
Acknowledgements: The authors wish to express
their sincere thanks to L. H. Halsey and other
faculty members of the Institute of Food and Agri-
cultural Sciences (IFAS) who made many helpful
suggestions in the preparation of this production
guide. Special contributions were made by:
F. A. Johnson and J. E. Brogdon- Insect Control
T. A. Kucharek Disease Control
R. A. Dunn -Nematode Control
The use of trade names in this publication is
solely for the purpose of providing specific infor-
mation. It is not a guarantee or warranty of the
products named and does not signify that they are
approved to the exclusion of others of suitable com-
Single copies are free to residents of Florida and may be obtained
from the County Extension Office. Bulk rates are available upon
request. Please submit details of the request to C.M. Hinton, Publi-
cation Distribution Center, IFAS Building 664, University of
Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611.
TEACHING A^B ^
RESEARCH lll~ l JII-I..
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Cooperative Extension Service, IFAS, University of Florida
and United States Department of Agriculture. Cooperating
K. R. Tefertiller, Director
This publication was promulgated at a cost
of $344.95, or 11.5 cents per copy, to provide
commercial farmers with information on
okra production in Florida.