Texas citrus is fighting its way back after a February freeze destroyed it. But how much of a comeback is it making? The orchards are showing some green. It wasn’t long ago when they were all brown, one of the most depressing sights that came out of the Texas freeze.
“Yeah the trees are trying to flush out at a certain point and it makes it look like there's hope," says Fred Karle, Rio Grande Valley, TX citrus producer.
But there might not be much hope of a full recovery. “Some of that growth dies back because they're just not enough support in the structure of the tree to keep it going. And so, just because it's trying to green out, doesn't mean that that's all alive, gonna be live wood in a future," he explains.
There’s no exact figures for the loss in the Texas freeze. But Karle says it is significant. He predicts that next year’s crops will be at a loss of about 85 to 90 percent. “We had a really good year going, and that (freeze) kind of took the wind out of our sails. We lost about, probably about two thirds of our grapefruit crop that was on the tree. All the, most all of the Valencia oranges were left on the trees," Karle says.
Karle says most citrus producers did not expect the February freeze to be as serious as it was.