Fred R Lawrence
SELECTING A GROVE SITE
FRED P. LAWRENCE
Citriculturist, Florida Agricultural Extension Service
If the grove is to be a success, it must be favo
ably situated. In considering a grove site, th
economic a-i'i.t, of land values, taxes, road
rural development and nearness to market ar
important. But even more important are th
horticultural aspects of cold protection and so
Florida now has over 600,000 acres of citr
with a value in excess of a billion dollars. Th
great industry, although it has had its ups a
downs, has steadily grown and expanded through
findings of the research workers and persistent
of the citrus grower. During recent years th
expansion has been rapid-the number of tre
planted has risen from one million to over tN
million per year. A tendency to purchase ar
plant acreage from the dwindling available citr
land without giving proper consideration to t
citrus potential of the land is evident.
In the early development of Florida's citrus
dustry, selection of a grove site was based large
on soil fertility, with apparently little thought
air drainage and cold protection. Disastro
effects of the freezes of 1894-95 and 1898-99 er
phasized the importance of cold protection and t
citrus industry moved southward.
After this pronounced southward trend, gro
owners found that being located in this gener
area was not enough. Some groves in the ne
area were frozen, and some others, although n
frozen, did not thrive. Growers became awa
that air drainage, water protection, soil type
roads and nearness to markets were all import
factors and began to select sites with these fact
in mind. In recent years, land values, taxes ar
rural development have become important co
Experience has shown that in selecting a loc
tion for a grove, cold protection is still of prima
importance. Cold protection cannot be defined
by broad zones within the state, but rather must
be determined by local conditions.
The first consideration is topography. Rolling
lands with gentle slopes and no depressions are
preferred because of air drainage. Cold air,
heavier than warm air, drains downhill. Any
preferable location for citrus should have an ade-
quate outlet provided by adjacent low areas into
which cold air can drain. The site should never
>e trapped by surrounding higher areas that could
preventt natural drainage away from the grove.
In addition to favorable topography, nearness
o water is also an important factor in cold pro-
ection. The heat radiated from large bodies of
vater tends to moderate cold air moving across
hem. Cold fronts usually approach the state
rom the northwest, so locations on the south and
southeast borders of lakes are more desirable.
-arge, deep lakes afford maximum protection.
however, the number of lakes within an area is
important, for one lake, even if fairly large, may
ail to give the protection that can be had from
number of smaller deep lakes. Some degree of
protection is afforded in coastal areas where the
varm waters of the gulf and ocean have a moder-
atiig effect, but there are areas where this does
not extend inland to an appreciable distance.
Soil type also must be considered. Florida soils
may be divided into four broad groups: flatwoods,
low hammocks, high pinelands and high ham-
Fiatwoods soils are the low, flat areas normally
u-derlaid with hardpan and poorly drained. These
lands, although somewhat more fertile than the
high pinelands, are usually considerably colder
than the surrounding better drained soils. Groves
located on these soils are constantly affected by
a fluctuating water table (too wet and then too
dry) and frequently by cold weather. Some of
these soils in selected locations can be used for
citrus, but they required special preparation such
as ditching, bedding and other measures for ade-
qua0e v-ater control.
Low hammock soils are considered to be better
than flatwoods soils for citrus, but they are often
poorly drained and usually lack adequate air
drainage. Under proper conditions of drainage
and cold protection, these fertile soils are desir-
able for citrus.
The largest expansion in citrus has occurred
on the high pineland soils. They are usually light,
A site with elevation, air drainage and water protection is best for a citrus grove.
well-drained sands of low natural fertility which
are found on higher elevations. Not all soils in
this group are good citrus soils. Unless they are
in the warmer, southern portion of the citrus belt
such soils are good only when they have cold pro-
tection through proper air drainage and close
proximity to lakes or large bodies of water.
High hammock soils are best for citrus produc-
tion. The surface layer of this soil type is usually
thicker and darker because of higher organic mat-
ter content. Consequently, the fertility of these
soils is naturally higher than that of the high
pinelands. High hammock soils offer better soil
drainage and are usually sufficiently elevated to
afford good air drainage.
In selecting a good grove site, questions of ade-
quate cold protection and proper soil drainage
must be considered of paramount importance.
Soil fertility should take precedence over such
factors as nearness to market and good roads.
Any location selected without considering air
drainage and water protection, together with the
history of what occurred in the immediate loca-
tion in previous periods of freezing temperatures,
is likely to be a poor choice.
Acknowledgments.-The material presented herein is
a compilation of observations and experiences of many
individuals. We are deeply grateful to those at the
University of Florida, the Citrus Experiment Station at
Lake Alfred and others whose ideas and suggestions have
been of value in the preparation of this circular.
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN
AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida,
Florida State University and
United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
M. 0. Watkins, Director