Fresh citrus variety options for Florida

Last week, in a virtual presentation, plant breeder Fred Gmitter from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has discussed potential fresh fruit variety options for Florida growers.

Sugar Belle
Gmitter said the Sugar Belle mandarin hybrid has high tolerance for HLB. This variety’s harvest period is compressed to three to four weeks. According to Gmitter, 2020 was a bad year for Sugar Belle quality. He said he wondered if climate change might harm the quality of all citrus varieties in the future.

Bingo, a mandarin, matures very early and is attractive, easy to peel and always seedless. A slide Gmitter showed stated that the fruit offers a “superb eating experience.” Bingo has good HLB tolerance but comes with tree establishment and dieback challenges, Gmitter said.

Marathon mandarin fruit matures early and is attractive, peels fairly easily, is always seedless and has good quality, Gmitter said. It has a longer harvest season than Bingo; it can hold into December.

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