Tampa fruit trees
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Tampa fruit trees
This article focuses on the Florida peninsula, sometimes called the peninsula of Florida. See Tropical Florida for the rest of Florida, and for a discussion of all fruit trees in Florida. For fruit trees in the United States generally, see Fruit tree culture. For trees outside Florida, see also Mangos, wine grape, and coffee.
One of the oldest cultivated species in the United States is the fruit-bearing apple, domesticated in the American Midwest in the 17th century. Its fruit were well suited to its climate and temperate growing conditions, even today, most apples grown in the US are cultivated in California, and Florida is one of only two states that do not grow apples.
Apple cultivation has come a long way since the beginning of the 19th century, from being replaced by the non-bitter quince in the 1860s to becoming the leading tree fruit in the U.S. In the last 40 years, U.S. apple production has grown by 37%. In 2003, Florida produced 14% of US apple sales, with a total of growing on of orchards.
The area in which a fruit tree or plant is developed is called its nursery, and trees are often planted in cell, block, or nursery strips. Most of the trees planted in Florida are long lasting, pollinator-dependent varieties, and are not orchard trees, which are cultivated as part of a permanent plantings in a large area. Most plantings in Florida are planted as single trees rather than as seedling rows, usually one or two seeds in a block of or called a nursery block. Trees planted by large nurseries and orchard companies for distribution are often sold as bare root trees, so-called bare-root trees, which allow for ease in shipping and replanting.
Around 400 BC, Sicilian farmers began planting the apple on a commercial scale and by the beginning of the 3rd century the variety found in modern North America was called Malo Genovese (Italian), after the name of Genoa, Italy, where most of these apples came from.
According to Susan Hill,
Development of the modern apple varieties began during the 17th century, in the New World. James Duncan, a Presbyterian minister, developed the MacIntosh apple, which is now considered the earliest apple cultivar.
Horticulturalist Thomas Andrew, Jr. is considered the "father of the modern, mass-marketed apple, developing the varieties Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, and Delicious, a more scraggly dessert apple".
Many varieties of apple, including the early cultivars, remain popular, but the most widely planted apple tree in the United States is the late-blooming apple, crabapple.
Several specialized nurseries exist, such as Smith Nursery, which has been operating since 1875, and the Stone House Fruit Nursery, which has been operating since the 1950s. In Florida alone, the industry has three large nurseries, producing an average of two million bare-root, new and regenerated trees annually. Other companies that specialize in bulk transportation and delivery of planted trees are present in the state as well.
The labor-intensive propagation and transplanting of new trees, including the transportation to the consumer, requires the use of plastic mulch, cable mats, and greenhouses. Floriculture is divided into two separate areas:
Nursery work is the commercial establishment of seedlings or trees. This includes seedlings of fruit trees, tropical, shade and deciduous, ornamental trees, and roses.
Floriculture is the study of the care of trees and landscape plants, including pruning, fertilizing, and maintenance. The purpose of this study is to determine the optimum environments for trees, to develop them into superior specimens, and to propagate them at a reasonable cost. Floriculture is subdivided into
Nursery botany, the science of plant biology applied to the management of trees and other plants. The goal of nursery botany is the continual improvement of trees and plants, by proper cultivation and grafting.
Horticultural sciences, the study of the characteristics of plant propagation and the relationships between people and plants. The focus of horticultural sciences is the study of the nature and distribution of organisms that are essential to the life and growth of plants.
Florida State University operates the J.M. Stuart Tree Crops Research and Extension Center, where horticulture is offered as an undergraduate major and a graduate minor.
Florida nursery industry
Florida's nursery industry is based on the reforestation industry in which large numbers of trees are cut down and sold for resale or to the nursery industry. Most fruit trees are asexually propagated by seed, which is planted in flats containing from 2,000 to 30,000 seedlings. These seedlings are grown for 2–5 years, until large enough to be transplanted to containers and trees. Nursery plants are also imported and sold for retail sale.
According to one source, about 500 nurseries grow new, and about 20 ship plants. The USDA reported nearly 1,000 nursery growers in Florida in 2002, but nurseries are mostly located in the southeastern part of the state, near the Gulf Coast and along Interstate 10.
Native fruit trees
Tropical fruit, having adapted to Florida's climate, is the most common type of fruit tree planted in Florida.
Bare-root fruit trees are "planted directly into soil and rooted by firming them into the ground with a 3 or 4 inch (7 to 10 ,cm) container." Fruit trees can be split into plantings called blocks, into which trees are planted in rows. The blocks may be as small as, or, and consist of a nursery strip with a solid border of at least. Some nurseries plant up to five trees in a block, while other nurseries plant trees in rows.
Cellaring or aging of stored fruit
Fruit harvested in Florida can be kept at a home or farm to be picked up later, sold in Florida stores, shipped long distances, or stored for other purposes. Fresh-harvested or nearly fresh fruit