Citrus Groves Management in Florida

Florida - Citrus capital of United States

Florida is known for its citrus groves and hosts 1000s of acres of groves across the state. Florida once produced citrus that was world famous. The production has drastically dropped by 82% when compared to 2004. 


Can Florida’s Iconic Citrus Industry Survive Its Own Pandemic? (

Citrus Greening Disease:

Florida citrus farms are severely effected by citrus greening disease and the production has drastically reduced. The cost of maintaining the grove at times (especially in the recent times) is more than the revenue from the grove. This would put farmers on negative cash flow.

Input material cost (fertilizers, pesticides etc) and cost of farm help have increased and making it difficult with higher costs.

While there is possible cure for citrus greening disease being discussed by experts, the current situation doesn’t give any profits to farmers. Unless someone is passionate beyond economic sense, investing into maintaining citrus grove doesn’t make business sense.

Hopefully, there is a cure for citrus greening disease soon and Florida citrus industry gets back its past glory.

It’s a common practice to utilize a grove management company to manage groves. Few farmers maintain the groves on their own with their equipment.

Depending on the grove management company and services opted for, the citrus grove management costs vary.
Below are key cost items.

Existing Grove Management:

  • Operation of irrigation. Cost for someone to physically switch on and off Diesel irrigation pump. If the grove is equipped with electric pump, installation of timer is wise decision to operate the same.
  • Irrigation Equipment and pies periodic check. Unclog micro jets
  • Operation of irrigation during freeze period.
Weed Management:
  • Mowing of weeds in the beds between rows. 
  • Vine variety weeds management by manual labor.
  • Herbicide at the base of the trees where mower can’t reach.
Pest Management:
  • Spray of pesticides and fungicides.
Nutrition Management:
  • Granular fertilizer application (spreading) at the base of trees
  • Foliar spray of nutrients
  • Injecting nutrients through irrigation lines
Harvest and Sales:
  • Harvesting the fruits
  • Transportation of fruits
  • Sale of fruits
Drainage Management:
  • Depending on the region in florida there are different methods to drain excess water. Managing these beds becomes key for tree growth.
  • Removing dead trees and planting new ones

Citrus Grove Management Companies:

All the above activities are provided by various grove management companies. Its a well-organized sector with rich long history of Florida citrus industry. Talking to different companies, one can finalize the services. Services offered by different companies can be evaluated against the price and reputation before finalizing the company to manage the grove. 
These professional companies are well organized and provides yearly program schedule, updates of the activities performed, itemized billing of the services and products, monthly invoicing etc.,

Balance of Passion and Business:

Its very easy to drain money in farming by spending on activities that doesn't result into value. Lack of knowledge is the first and foremost issue for this money drain. Its important to understand the future costs involved before starting to spend money. 

Various bodies are encouraging farmers to consider alternate crops in place of citrus and created a whole program for the same. Alternative Crops - Gulf Coast Research and Education Center - University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences - UF/IFAS (

Tax misconception:

Its a popular misconception that the citrus grove needs to be continuously maintained for getting agriculture exemption. There are various programs to help with exemptions when spending on citrus groves is not economically viable. Here is the article that details the options.

Abandoned Grove Abatement Initiative - UF/IFAS Extension Lake County (

Saving Money is making money:

If there is no better plan with alternate crops, not spending money on the loss-making citrus grove is as good as saving future losses. Don't get into obligation of managing the grove which requires money to be spent with low hopes for returns. 

Balance between being pioneer or follower:

Unless one want to be a pioneer in trying out latest cure for citrus greening disease, its better to be a follower of pioneers and spend money once the cure is confirmed to be available. We will all be thankful to the pioneers and compensate them by buying their products that helps the farmers make money on citrus groves.

Trying various trial methods for the cure on the grove gets expensive and becomes a gamble that may or may not result into returns.