Research at Work: Citrus

Nearly 300 acres of satsuma oranges have been planted in southern Georgia in the last four years with the help of University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. UGA research also led to the development of new seedless, cold-hardy tangerine, lemon and grapefruit varieties. Our faculty educates Georgia farmers and helps them deliver the fresh foods you eat, like satsuma oranges. 


A sweet new prospect for Georgia farmers

Satsuma mandarins are a high quality, seedless, and easy to peel fruit. They are in the same family and very similar to Cuties and Halos, which are clementines grown in California and sold all over the United States. There has been a history of satsumas grown in north Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana since the late 1800s with much of the acreage fluctuating because of severe freezes. Georgia had never explored growing satsumas until recently. 

In August 2013, the Lowndes County Extension agent Jake Price discussed the possibilities of introducing satsumas to growers. From late 2013 to 2016, six nationally attended programs have been presented in Lowndes County focusing on production and marketing of satsumas. Prior to the initial satsuma production meeting, there were about eight total acres of satsumas in Georgia and three growers.

As of 2017, the acreage has increased to over 300 acres and more than 40 growers. Price has created a database of growers to keep track of information such as the number of trees planted, variety, rootstocks used, source of trees and location in Georgia. Projections for fall of 2018 based on 80 acres coming into production are 994,000 pounds or $1,491,000 of income for Georgia growers. Three growers in Georgia have now invested in producing rootstocks with hopes to propagate about 60,000 citrus trees in Georgia for local and national sale.


Citrus Industry Grows in Mitchell County

Newly-developed citrus trees developed by UGA reseracher Wayne Hanna have been planted next to the Mitchell County Extension office. Learn more about the project by watching the video clip below.

How sweet it is to be a Georgia-grown satsuma orange! (Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski/UGA) CAES News
Red and Black and … Orange?
Wayne Hanna, a legend in the plant breeding world, specifically with turfgrass, retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2002. He immediately joined the faculty at the University of Georgia’s Tifton campus. When he arrived, he asked the assistant dean if he could work on developing a cold-tolerant citrus tree that produced seedless fruit. “Go ahead” was the answer.
Since it launched in 2013 and 2014, Georgia’s citrus industry has grown to about 2,000 acres of commercial citrus planted in southern Georgia, primarily cold-hardy satsumas. CAES News
UGA citrus trials support growing industry in Georgia
Ongoing citrus rootstock trials being conducted by University of Georgia Cooperative Extension in Lowndes County hold promise for increased yields, improved fruit quality and greater disease resistance.