What is in this article?:
- Mandarins gaining larger foothold in Western citrus
- Fairchild LS
- Mandarin citrus production represents about 14 percent of California’s total citrus acreage with significant gains in bearing and total acreage.
- An estimated 2 million Tango mandarin trees are planted in California.
- Tango is an irradiated, low-seed version of the popular W. Murcott mandarin released for commercial production in 2006 by the University of California, Riverside Citrus Breeding Program.
- Lemon variety trials are designed to provide growers with information on tree growth, yield, packout, and fruit quality characteristics.
Also a UCR breeding product is the Fairchild LS, an irradiated selection of the Fairchild mandarin. The size 24 fruit averages 2.4 seeds each, matures in January, and holds well on the tree into April. Yields average 45 tons/hectare. The brix-acid level in February is about 12:1.
“The Fairchild SL needs a cross pollinator for the best yields,” Kahn said. The variety is alternate bearing yet controllable.
A mandarin variety with roots in the USDA citrus breeding program in Florida is called USDA 88-2. The fruit is a hybrid cross from the Lee mandarin and Nova tangor. The early-maturing fruit retains low seeding under all cross pollination conditions, Kahn says.
USDA 88-2 has a distinctive rich flavor and yields can be erratic. The brix-acid level is 15:1 to 16:1. The fruit can develop a slightly bulging navel.
Kahn is also evaluating about 20 new Satsuma mandarin varieties plus new Clementine selections. The most commercially-planted Clementine in California is the Clemenules (Nules) Clementine.
The CVC is evaluating the Spanish-patented varieties Hernandina Clementine and Arrufatina Clementine and others for possible Western commercial production.
The Red Nules (Top Mandarin Seedless), developed in Italy and Sicily, is a hybrid between Nules Clementine and Tarocco blood orange and is a proprietary variety. The flesh can have red streaks or pigmentation across the entire surface, but without the intensity of the Moro blood orange. The harvest window in the San Joaquin Valley is January through February.
Turning to lemon varieties, Kahn and Glenn Wright, University of Arizona citrus specialist, are in the second year of yield evaluations on 12 selections in CVARS trials. The goal is to provide lemon growers with crucial information on tree growth, yield, packout, and fruit quality characteristics.
The Walker Lisbon and Femminello Santa Teresa selections have produced the highest yields, Kahn said, followed by Corona Foothills and Limonero Fino 49.
“These selections so far exhibit precocity, good yield, and large fruit,” Kahn said. “These could be good alternatives to currently planted selections in desert production.”
In UCR evaluations on limes, the CVC has released a version of the popular Australian finger lime variety for propagation. Nicknamed the “caviar lime,” the Australian variety has dense foliage with heavy thorns. The best harvest method is to shake the fruit onto a tarp. Harvest occurs year round with December and January the best months. The fruit rind is greenish black to dark purple in color.
For more information on CVC studies and findings, go online to www.citrusvariety.ucr.edu.