Assistance for Growers Interested in Bamboo

Florida’s citrus industry has been under siege for many years. Between the relentless
citrus greening disease and devastating weather events, many groves have been
decimated, forcing growers who have been in the industry for generations to re-evaluate
their business strategy.

Battling Blue-Green Algae With Bamboo Biochar

There’s been a problem lately with cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, affecting Florida’s lakes and waterways. Cyanobacteria are common in Florida’s freshwaters, and many species can produce dangerous toxins.

Versatility of Bamboo Lends Options to Struggling Owners

Florida’s citrus growers have faced significant challenges in recent years due to the devastating effects of citrus greening. As they seek alternative crops, one plant that holds immense promise is bamboo.

The Future Is in the Research

While the news cycle reaction to the announced May citrus forecast focused on the
numbers, there was an underlying sentiment about the future impact this season may
have on the citrus industry. 

CRAFT Cycle Four the Biggest in the Program’s History

Since 2019, the Citrus Research and Field Trial (or CRAFT) Foundation has supported growers who are experimenting with various means of addressing citrus greening in their operations, such as alternate varieties, nutritional supplements, or grove maintenance practices.

Expedited Budwood Program for Early Oranges

The Citrus Budwood Program through the Florida Department of Agriculture is currently increasing stock of early-season orange varieties for expedited advancement into nursery production: Donaldson, Parson Brown, Carney’s 2 and 3, and roble.

Citrus Greening Control and Increased Citrus Production on the Horizon

Florida citrus growers may have a new tool in the fight against greening.

The Big Ag Pivot: Bamboo’s Role in Florida Farming

Florida has become the number one state in the country that people move to. As a result, our agriculture industry is already struggling to compete against foreign imports and combating invasive pests.

NVDMC Focuses on the Future of Florida Citrus Growers and Producers

Central Florida Ag News, October 2022, By Phillip Rucks The New Varieties Development and Management Corporation, or NVDMC, is working to help ensure that Florida Citrus growers stay competitive in the produce market by providing timely, affordable access to newly developed varieties.

Bamboo Gains Traction as Alternative Crop for Citrus Growers

Central Florida Ag News, September 2022, By Phillip Rucks As citrus greening continues to ravage the Florida citrus industry, many growers are looking for alternative crops to supplement their income. One crop growing traction among citrus growers is bamboo.

CRAFT Foundation Helps Growers Face Greening

Central Florida Ag News, August 2022, By Phillip Rucks Ever since the first case of citrus greening was detected in Florida in 2005, the citrus industry in the state has been struggling. Naturally, the search for solutions to the problems of greening is on, with various research labs and numerous growers all searching for an answer. 

Do Hybrids Hold the Answer to Greening?

Central Florida Ag News, July 2022, By Phillip Rucks Florida citrus growers have been struggling with dwindling yearly harvests and lower quality due to HLB, so researchers have been on the hunt for orange-like citrus hybrids that could offer both quality and HLB tolerance for both the juice and fresh fruit markets. 

Gibberellic Acid Application on Hamlin

Central Florida Ag News, June 2022, By Phillip Rucks Hamlin has long been Florida’s leading early season orange variety, but like many orange varieties in the Sunshine State, Hamlin is severely affected by HLB, with fruit drop being a major issue. Research using gibberellic acid to combat the effects of HLB has shown success with Valencia sweet oranges; the research results of September through January applications—which occur during Valencias’ floral induction and fruit growth periods—include a 30 percent average improvement in yield, a reduction in fruit drop, and an improved defense response by the citrus trees. 

Bamboo’s Viability as a Commercial Crop in Florida

Central Florida Ag News, May 2022, By Phillip Rucks Florida is well known for the diversity of its agricultural offerings and alternative crop opportunities for growers. Bamboo might just be the next alternative crop to be added to Florida’s ever-growing list of commercial crops. There are many reasons to consider growing bamboo in The Sunshine State.

Florida’s Top Rootstocks and Varieties

Central Florida Ag News, April 2022, By Phillip Rucks Rootstocks and varieties are important considerations in Florida citrus due to the many constraints growers must deal with, from diseases like phytophthora, citrus tristeza virus, and HLB, to issues like climate and soil types.

Farmers Suffering From Disasters Have Options

Central Florida Ag News, March 2022, By Phillip Rucks When natural disasters impact Florida growers, it’s good to know that we have advocates working to help us get federal aid.

Donaldson Sweet Orange

Central Florida Ag News, February 2022, By Phillip Rucks Lesson to the Wise: Attend the Field Days. You never know what might happen. 

Was the Secret to Saving Citrus Trees Just Unlocked?

Central Florida Ag News, October 2021, By Phillip Rucks Trifoliate orange and its hybrids have been widely utilized as rootstocks in citrus production.

Deadline to Apply for CRAFT Cycle III is October 14

Central Florida Ag News, September 2021, By Phillip Rucks While many of us have been enjoying a little down time for the summer, the CRAFT staff, Technical Working Group (TWG), and Board of Directors have been hard at work collecting data from Cycle 1 projects, putting the finishing touches on Cycle II and developing the framework for Cycle III. 

Staying Up to Date on Citrus Fertility Recommendations is Critical

Central Florida Ag News, September 2021, By Phillip Rucks Research has led to changes in the production practices of citrus since HLB was introduced to Florida. Nutrient rates, applications, irrigation timing and managing soil pH are all important to the best health of citrus trees, especially those that are HLB infected. 

August – Link Found Between Organic Acid, HLB

Central Florida Ag News, August 2021, By Phillip Rucks A common symptom of Huanglongbing (HLB) in citrus trees is leaf chlorosis, where the leaves develop yellow blotches. 

What Citrus Should I Plant in the Era of HLB?

Central Florida Ag News, July 2021, By Phillip Rucks HLB, or citrus greening, can infect most citrus trees and even some citrus relatives. 

New Citrus is on the Front Burner for a Team of Scientists

Central Florida Ag News, June 2021, By Phillip Rucks Australian finger limes have a natural resistance to citrus greening, or HLB. 

The Top Reasons Why We Believe in Florida Citrus

Central Florida Ag News, May 2021, By Phillip Rucks The first orange trees were planted in Florida in the mid-1500s around St. Augustine. 

A.H. Whitmore Grove site at FCRF and USDA Facility in Groveland, FL

Central Florida Ag News, April 2021, By Phillip Rucks A.H. Whitmore Foundation Farm is owned and partly managed by the Florida Citrus Research Foundation (FCRF).

Why Bamboo is a Viable Commercial Crop for Former Citrus Growers

Central Florida Ag News, March 2021, By Phillip Rucks Bamboo is a useful commercial crop grown around the world. There are 2 broad types of Bamboo growth habits that we consider. The running types can spread quickly and become invasive, while the clumping types spread slowly and are commonly used for timber bamboo.

Gene Mapping May Be The Key to HLB-Resistant Citrus

Central Florida Ag News, February 2021, By Phillip Rucks Beating citrus greening disease is on the front burner for all of those involved with citrus, and advancements in genome mapping will open up a whole range of opportunities for both beating the deadly disease in the future and keeping the citrus industry going in the interim. 

Red Kaolin Clay Reduces Psyllid Attacks

Central Florida Ag News, October 2020, By Phillip Rucks Kaolin clay, especially when dyed red, is great for enhancing tree growth and discouraging infestation by psyllids.

Citrus Outlook is Stable

Central Florida Ag News, September 2020, By Phillip Rucks While this year didn’t break any records, it was a decent harvest for Florida citrus growers.

Psyllid Control Improves Crop Yield

Central Florida Ag News, August 2020, By Phillip Rucks Renowned entomologist Dr. Lukasz Stelinski recently spoke to Florida Citrus Mutual about the impact of psyllids on the health of citrus trees.

Bamboo a Major Component of the Agriculture Scene

Central Florida Ag News, August 2020, By Phillip Rucks It may surprise you to learn that bamboo is poised to become a major component in America’s – and Florida’s – agricultural scene.

New Fast Track Revisions for Varieties Release

Central Florida Ag News, June 2020, By Phillip Rucks Citrus growers have new licensed varieties more assessable with FAST TRACK, a program developed through the combined efforts of the Florida Foundation Seed Producers, Inc. (FFSP), the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), and the New Varieties Development & Management Corp.   

The Use of Biochar in Growing Citrus

Central Florida Ag News, May 2020, By Phillip Rucks Biochar holds a lot of promise for improving soil health in Florida’s citrus industry, especially when it comes to combating citrus greening.

The Importance of Soil Health for HLB

Central Florida Ag News, April 2020, By Phillip Rucks The importance of soil health for citrus trees facing citrus greening cannot be denied. 

Bamboo an Alternative Crop for Citrus Growers

Central Florida Ag News, March 2020, By Phillip Rucks Florida citrus growers are doing everything in their power to stay solvent in the face of citrus greening. 

Combating Postbloom Fruit Drop  

Central Florida Ag News, February 2020, By Phillip Rucks Citrus greening has certainly taken center stage when it comes to combating diseases in Florida’s citrus groves, but Postbloom fruit drop (PFD) is one disease that citrus growers cannot afford to overlook.   

Postbloom Fruit Drop  

Central Florida Ag News, September 2019,  By Phillip Rucks A common problem that many citrus growers face annually is post-bloom fruit drop. This disease is caused by a fungus known as Colletotrichum Acutatum. The fungus survives between bloom periods as resistant structures on the buttons, leaves, and twigs.  Read more>>

High Density Citrus Farming  

Central Florida Ag News, July 2019,  By Phillip Rucks While one part of the citrus research industry is looking for ways to develop HLB-resistant trees in order to maximize yield, another part is focused on the configuration of the groves themselves.  Read more>>

Citrus and Gene editing  

Central Florida Ag News, June 2019,  By Phillip Rucks Creating a citrus-greening resistant plant has been at the forefront of agricultural research since the disease was first diagnosed in 2005.  Read more>>

Drone Technology For Citrus  

Central Florida Ag News, August 2019,  By Phillip Rucks The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, is becoming a low-cost, essential tool for precision agriculture that can help citrus growers better manage their crop in new and revolutionary ways.  Read more>>

Rootstocks and Citrus  

Central Florida Ag News, May 2019,  By Phillip Rucks Creating a citrus-greening resistant plant has been at the forefront of agricultural research since the disease was first diagnosed in 2005.  Read more>>

Windbreaks For Citrus  

Central Florida Ag News, March 2019,  By Phillip Rucks As citrus season progresses, let’s take a moment to talk about windbreaks and their importance to citrus trees. The United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service defines windbreaks as “plantings of single or multiple rows of trees and shrubs that are established for environmental purposes.”  Read more>>

Planning Ahead to Maximize Your Success  

Central Florida Ag News, September 2014,  By Phillip Rucks I can’t stress how important it is to plan ahead.  Read more>>

Citrus Growers Planting Denser to Boost Yields  

Central Florida Ag News, August 2014,  By Phillip Rucks Every citrus tree is like a factory producing a product.  Read more>>

Healthy Citrus Trees may Hold Answer to Greening Disease

Central Florida Ag News, June 2014,  By Phillip Rucks We’re in a war. Although our weapons are insecticides and nutritional sprays instead of rifles and grenades, the battle against the greening disease is real.   Read more>>

Citrus Growers Need to Weigh Options

Central Florida Ag News, May 2014, By Phillip Rucks Citrus groves are becoming living laboratories, according to Dr. Jude Grosser, a University of Florida (UF) professor at Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred.  Read more>>

Planning is Critical for Citrus Growers Today

Central Florida Ag News, April 2014, By Phillip Rucks The nursery industry sure has changed.  Since I opened Phillip Rucks Citrus Nursery 17 years ago, citrus canker and greening disease have taken a tremendous toll on nursery businesses.  Read more>>

What Growers Need to Know: Emerging Greening Tolerant Cultivars, Part I

Central Florida Ag News, March 2014, By Phillip Rucks Citrus varieties more tolerant of citrus greening disease are head- ing for large- scale fi eld trials as early as March. University of Florida (UF) researchers have identifi ed 16 rootstalks showing a lower rate of infection and more tolerance to greening, also known as Huanglongbing (HLB).  Read more

August is National Peach Month

TC Palm, August 2013 VERO BEACH — August is National Peach Month and you can enjoy delicious and juicy peaches grown right in our own county—if you can find them.    Read more

Scientists Working to Develop Citrus-Greening Resistant Tree

The Ledger, June 2013 BONITA SPRINGS | Developing new citrus trees suited to Florida’s environment, especially ones tolerant to citrus greening, is a long road with many branches.  

New Uses for Old Crops

Central Florida Ag News, October 2012 Eucalyptus, Sugar Cane and other crops get and agritechnology makeover  More>>

Citrus nurseries struggling to keep up with demand

Bay News 9,  Sept 26, 2012 Workers at the Rucks Citrus Nursery in Frostproof are turning out nursery trees at the rate of a million per year. But there simply aren’t enough nurseries like Rucks to keep up with the demand.   More>>

Florida’s Experience Growing Citrus in Protected Culture

Citrus Research Board, April 27, 2012 Phillip Rucks, a Florida-based commercial citrus grower, shares his experience growing citrus trees in protected culture.


Rucks Discusses Citrus Nursery Tree Shortage And The Future

Southeast Ag Net, February 4, 2012 Nurseryman Phil Rucks in these reports reflects on the current shortage of nursery trees available for Florida citrus growers to plant and looks at the future situation.  More>>

Citrus growers excited about new seedless mandarin

Bloomburg Business Week, February 4, 2011 Phillip Rucks, who runs the biggest citrus nursery in the country in Frostproof, Fla., will ship his first round of Tango trees to growers in Florida’s fabled Indian River district this summer.  More>>

Citrus Restrained By Nursery Tree Shortage, Greening Fears

The Ledger, February 3, 2012 HAINES CITY | The Florida citrus industry is stuck in neutral and could remain there through the end of the decade.  More>>

CFAN AGTV Exclusive Interview: Phillip Rucks of Phillip Rucks Citrus Nursery in Frostproof, FL

Central Florida Ag News,  August, 19, 2010

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