Additional index words. Citrus sinensis, fertigation, open hydroponics
A novel practice called advanced citrus production systems (ACPS) using high tree density, dwarfing rootstocks, and a modified intensively managed open hydroponics system (OHS) were developed to accelerate tree growth and bring young trees into production so growers can break even economically as soon as possible after establishing a grove. Several experiments were conducted to compare the performance of the intensively managed drip and microsprinkler irrigation and fertigation systems with conventional grower practices on the Florida Flatwoods and central Ridge soils. The field studies revealed non-significantly different water uptake of ACPS/OHS compared with current grower practices. However, nutrient accumulation, particularly N, was greater for ACPS/OHS than the grower practices. Overall, the results underscore the importance of using innovative and carefully managed intensive fertigation practices for increasing nutrient and water uptake efficiency while conserving environmental quality and sustaining high citrus yields on Florida’s sandy soils.